You're listening to “Financial Advisor Marketing”—the best show on the planet for financial advisors who want to get more clients, without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal.
James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisors grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard.
James: Financial advisors, I feel good today. I'm happy because I just had a service tech actually leave my house 10 minutes before recording this podcast episode and I'm happy because he actually fixed something. Isn't that wonderful when you hire people to do a job and they actually do the job? I love it when that happens. [00:49.3]
He fixed a recliner for me. It was an electric recliner and the motor broke, which apparently is one of the worst things that you can have happen to a recliner because the motor controls the function of the chair, and I looked online for parts. I tried to fix it myself, because I figured, with most electric chairs, what you can do is you can test each wire individually, these little cords. They clamp and then you unclamp, and then you try one and then you try the other, and it's just a process of elimination until you figure out where the problem is.
With my chair, it was the actual motor. Tried to find the motor online. Can't find a motor online, so I hired a professional to, essentially, long story short, give me a substitute. It's been maybe three months since I’ve been able to use this recliner and now I get to use it. Wow, I am just thrilled. I'm over the moon.
Okay, so thank you for tuning into this episode of Financial Advisor Marketing. This week's episode is going to be about mistakes financial advisors make on social media. I love social media marketing because it's one of the best ways to reach out to prospective clients and build a relationship with them. We live in a world of such abundance where you can literally take out your phone and start engaging with people all around the world. If you're in New York, you can get to know someone in California. If you work virtually, you can serve that person. You can be a resource. [02:09.0]
I don't think people get the gravity of how incredible that is, which is why people don't take advantage of it. It reminds me of how people will watch movies and talk about how “Oh, I'm not impressed.” For example, the most expensive movie of all time, did you know this? Let's drop some knowledge on you. What do you think the most expensive movie of all time is? Just think about it.
Hmm, is it Avatar? Nope. Is it Avengers? Nope. Is it Titanic? Nope. It's actually Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Is it “Ca-ribbean”, “Caribbean”? I'm not sure. Lots of people will say that movie bombed, and, well, maybe, but I want you to realize that it represents nearly half a billion dollars of investment. Half a billion dollars, all to provide you with a few hours of entertainment. That is astounding. [02:57.2]
When you watch blockbuster movies, you are watching tens of millions of dollars and thousands of hours of invested time designed to serve you. If someone from the silent film era got a chance to watch one of these movies, their heads would explode. They would be so amazed at the special effects, the costumes, the lighting, and everything that goes into making a movie. They wouldn't understand why you couldn't appreciate the greatness.
The same is true with a lot of stuff. As somebody who drove the Model T when the Model T car first came out, saw your Toyota Camry with all the gizmos and gadgets and the GPS and the electronics in there, that person would be blown away. Blown away. Make sure you don't take these things for granted. I mean, it's mind-blowing to me why people take these things for granted.
I imagine, if you could go back in time and show social media to someone 50 years ago, that person would slap you silly, if you weren't taking advantage of it. I mean, one of the things I like to do is read old sales books and one of the books I'm reading now is from 1957, and some of these people were making the equivalent of millions of dollars per year, and if they could do that without social media, imagine what they could do with social media. [04:11.6]
Anyway, let's get into the mistake so you can make more money with social media. The first mistake I want to talk about is relying too heavily on social media. A financial advisor emailed me and he told me he was embracing my multiple marketing strategies philosophy by sharing content on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. However, I view social media as a strategy by itself. Posting on three different social media platforms as like buying three different biotech ETFs and saying you’re diversified. You're not.
True diversification means using completely separate strategies. For example, you might have a social media marketing campaign, email marketing campaigns, direct-mail marketing campaigns, all working for you at the same time. This means a great way to follow the multiple marketing strategies philosophy is to take prospective clients off social media. [05:02.4]
For example, I love LinkedIn. I help financial advisors get clients with LinkedIn because I think it is “the” most amazing social media platform financial advisors can use. But I also recognize that one of the best things financial advisors can do to get prospective clients is to take them off of LinkedIn, because as counterintuitive as it seems, your LinkedIn prospecting efforts get much stronger when you interact with prospective clients outside of the platform.
The reverse is also true. You can make your other marketing strategy stronger by adding social media. I have Mike how to get clients with LinkedIn video training over at TheAdvisorCoach.com. If you go to TheAdvisorCoach.com and click on the Get Clients with LinkedIn tab, you can check it out for yourself. I talk about all this in Video No. 5. It's one of the most important ways to improve your business as a whole, and it's something you won't get anywhere else, because I am the only person who teaches this to financial advisors. [05:55.3]
Lots of people try to figure it out and reverse-engineer it, but they can't do it the right way. They can't make their direct-mail campaign stronger with LinkedIn because they just don't know how to do it. They don't know the right way. They can't make LinkedIn stronger with direct mail. For example, they can't do it with email. They can't do it with webinar marketing. They can't do it with online advertising. It is just incredible.
Also, another reason why you want to get prospective clients off LinkedIn, off of Facebook, off Twitter, off whatever social media platform you're using is because social media is rented land. Rules change. Algorithms change. Nobody can predict the future. If you're going to play on social media, and, remember, I love social media, but if you're going to play there, make sure you have a way for people to go from that rented land to owned land.
What do you own? You own your website, your email list, things like that. These are things that can be used, even if your social media accounts go away. Warren Buffett once said, “Only when the tide goes out, do you discover who's been swimming naked,” and building up your own assets is one way to put on some metaphorical clothes. [07:03.1]
Mistake No. 2 is not messaging people, and I’ve shared this statistic many times on the show before and I'm going to share it again because it is just so crucial for financial advisors to understand. According to the Putnam Social Advisor Survey, 94% of financial advisors seeing success on social media are using direct messaging capabilities. They are messaging people, point blank, period.
Not messaging people on social media is like driving all the way across the country to visit a family member, and then refusing to get out of the car when you pull in the driveway. You do so much work to get in front of people on social media and to show your beautiful face. Why not take it all the way and message them?
I don't know what it is, but it seems to me that people are more scared than ever to reach out to people, to prospect. Call reluctance and prospecting reluctance is getting severe. I think maybe locking people up in their houses has decreased their social skills to the point where they don't even know how to message people anymore. It is a keyboard and a screen. That's it. It can't hurt you. It can't bite. The worst thing that can happen is someone sends a little nastygram back, and so what? [08:13.8]
The best thing that can happen is you end up serving that person and helping that person become a better version of himself or herself, which is, if you are a financial advisor, what you will put on this planet to do. If you are afraid to reach out to people and offer your services, you are literally neglecting your ethical duty and you should be ashamed of yourself. If you have a gift to offer people and you are not offering that gift, you should be ashamed.
That's why I'm not squeamish about selling. I sell so hard because I know I bring tremendous value to financial advisors’ lives. I'm not going to be bashful. I'm not going to be modest about it. I'm going to make sure that you know, if you interact with me, I am going to influence you in a positive way. There's no way around that. When you are truly and passionately inspired by what you do for a living and how you're helping people, you will have no problem talking to people about what you do, about how you can help, and letting them know that you can improve their lives. [09:10.7]
Some people say that you should regularly share content on social media. Yes, that's true, but your content should strengthen your direct messages. Can your content start conversations? If not, then you should reconsider your content strategy. Can people message you privately and say, “Hey, I loved your post about ABC, XYZ,” whatever it is you posted. If not, then you need to reconsider your content strategy.
Hey, financial advisors. If you'd like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James' monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, “The James Pollard Inner Circle”. When you join today, you'll get more than $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.
Not that long ago, I posted an update on LinkedIn and I asked financial advisors to help me pick a painting to hang in my house. I shared two paintings and I basically told financial advisors, I guess, to pick which one they liked better. [10:13.6]
My wife wanted one and I wanted the other one and we agreed to let the people decide. I explained that I would buy the painting that got the most votes. My wife's choice won, because she has better taste than I do, and she's also smarter and better-looking and good at a lot of things that I'm not good at. I bought the painting and now it's hanging in my house. I did not use this as a marketing tactic or gimmick. I genuinely wanted people to help me beautify my home and I posted a picture of the artwork. I was like, Here it is, the art you help me pick. I now have it. It helps me build relationships with people.
This isn't exactly an earth-shattering revelation. It's something that's always been hidden in plain sight by the best social media marketers in the world, because let's say you share an inspirational quote and you get a bunch of likes and comments. That's awesome. I love inspirational quotes. I share a bunch of them, but those quotes don't reveal anything about you as a human being. The same is true with blog articles, stock market commentary, and so on. [11:13.0]
But when you sprinkle in a little bit about yourself, that you love coffee, that you have a pet llama, that you travel to Maine every year, that you own a 1969 Camaro, then people can relate to you. They start thinking, “Hey, that's the Camaro guy,” and when that happens, they know something about you and they can relate to you a little easier than if you shared nothing but cookie-cutter content.
And guess what? It also makes them more likely to pay attention to your messages because they will think of you as a real person. They'll say, “Hey, the Camaro guy messaged me. What does he want?” That's what I mean when I say your content should strengthen your messages. I’ve had Inner Circle members share pictures of their newsletter issues, and then people will send them messages and engage with them and say, “Hey, I love James's stuff. Do you love James's stuff? What have you learned?” [12:00.5]
Sometimes the messages are annoying, because there are people who have been, basically, listening to this podcast for over a year or two and still haven't subscribed, I don't know why, but they will message these people and be like, Oh, is it worth it? Is it worth the $99 per month, even though I ask people to pay me $3,000 for a financial plan and I can't invest in myself? But I digress. That's Mistake No. 2.
Mistake No. 3 is ignoring data. Not messaging people online is an example of ignoring data, because if 94% of financial advisors seeing success on social media are using direct messaging, then you should probably use direct messaging. But this also relates to how you post online. One of the things so called marketing experts would tell people is that they should post all sorts of ways. Videos, reels, text, text-plus-image. Yes, that's true, you should experiment with these things, but you should not keep experimenting forever. It's called an experiment. The point of an experiment is to find a result, and once you find the result that you want, you should go down that path. [13:05.0]
For example, if you try multiple types of posts and you find that video posts work the best for you, then you should pursue more video. You are using your metrics to inform your marketing decisions. It doesn't matter what Sally is doing. It doesn't matter what Bill is doing. It doesn't matter what Joe from California is doing, if you're someone in New York City, okay? You need to focus on your results and what you are doing, and what your business goals are. I mean, you probably think the same way with your clients. The clients say, Oh, how come I'm not beating the S&P 500? Because your goal is not to beat the S&P 500, Karen. We are working for your goals that we decided together. It's the same thing.
People get swayed by these articles to tell them things like the best times to post on social media. Look, I'm just going to level with you. The best time to post on social media is when your audience is on there. I don't care what a teacher in Tennessee is doing if I'm working with medical professionals in Montana. Even something as simple as East Coast versus West Coast time differences could impact your social media strategy. If you're on the West Coast, you might want to think twice about following East Coast time recommendations. [14:13.4]
Another way people ignore data is by never repurposing any of their content. If something did really well, why wouldn't you try to figure out why it did well and attempt to replicate that success? It doesn't mean you're going to share the exact same thing. It does not mean you're just going to copy paste. Let's say you share something about how the average person's investment portfolio is woefully underfunded.
You could share a piece of content about the average portfolio balance at age 30, then another piece of content about age 40, then another piece of content about age 50, along with what it, quote-unquote, “should be” at each age, given a hypothetical goal or something. That way you're always sharing new content, but it's done through the lens of something that is already proven to do well. Why would you attempt to reinvent the wheel? Just make that wheel better. That's Mistake No. 3. [15:06.2]
Mistake No. 4 is not being social enough. I've been helping financial advisors get more clients since 2015. Social media has always been built into how I help advisors and I’ve been building out social media campaigns ever since. One of the things I noticed early on is that the financial advisors who don't succeed with social media, they treat it like a one-way street. They figure that success is in the content, and this isn't true.
I've already mentioned how the money is in the inbox. Posting and relying on content might work, if you're running an ecommerce store or a lifestyle brand or something, but not for professional services, especially not when you're dealing with people's money. The clue is in the name. It's “social” media, not “post and leave” media. It's social media, because it's designed for you to splash around in the pool with the other kids. [15:58.9]
I've seen financial advisors with mediocre content who absolutely crush other people, because they're more social. They use social media for what it is, a tool to meet and build relationships with other people. It sounds so simple, but think back to what I said at the beginning of the episode about salespeople in the ’50s. They would be astonished at what social media is and how they could use it to meet their income goals. As a business owner, you have a wonderful tool at your disposal. You just have to use it properly. Please, please, please hear me. Do not take it for granted.
Mistake No. 5 is not tracking activity and results. This is related to ignoring data, but I want to make it a separate mistake because it has to do with goal setting. I think in terms of goals. I want to know where I'm going so I can work backward and get there. If I want to get to the ice cream shop near my house, I need to go out the front door, make a right, go X number of miles, turn left, go X number of miles, then turn right, and so on. I have a plan, and as long as I follow that plan, I will get there, and if I drive along, I can track my progress by checking street signs. I can ask myself, “Am I on the right street? Do I recognize that tree? Do I recognize that stop sign?” I can check my progress. [17:13.2]
The same is true with social media, you should start with your goals and work backwards. Does that sound like financial planning to you? You say, Hmm, how much money do I need to retire? Let's figure it out. What's the 4%? Oh, how much are you spending per year? Let's multiply that by 25, and, kaboom, you have your end goal. Now, it's not that simple, but you get the idea. Just as you would never create a budget or savings plan without knowing some numbers, you should never approach any marketing strategy without some sense of how the numbers are going to work in your favor to accomplish your desired goal.
Let's use LinkedIn as an example. Here are some important metrics to know.
Your connection-acceptance rate. If you send 100 connection requests to people in your niche, how many people accept your request?
Then you have your appointment-setting rate. If you engage 100 people in your niche through direct message outreach, etc., how many of them set appointments with you? [18:05.4]
Then you have your client-conversion rate. If you set appointments with 100 people, how many of them end up becoming clients?
Once you know those numbers, you can work backward from your goal until you have fleshed out the plan to accomplish it.
This exercise might humble you, too, and if it does, that's a good thing. If you realize it's going to take more time than expected, at least you're prepared for it. If you realize it's going to take more effort, then I would rather have you figure that out early than too late. If someone wants $5 million at retirement and is only investing $20 per year into the S&P 500 for the next 10 years, wouldn't you want to give that person a reality check sooner rather than later? That requires looking at the metrics.
You can shake that person awake and say, “Look, you're not going to get there. Investing $20 per year is not going to cut it. If you want $5 million in 10 years, you need to invest, clickety-clack-clack-clack, $320,000 per year, assuming an 8% average annual return.” This is a far cry from the $20 per year, so you either need to invest more money or adjust your expectations. [19:13.1]
You would rather know that. You want to know that on Day 1, not Year 9 Day 364. You don't want to let time go by and then look back with no clue about what worked and what didn't. You want to be able to say, “I need to do X. I either did it [or] I didn't do it. I'm going to do it. Here's what worked. Here's what didn't work. I'm not going to do this,” because when you track your metrics, you notice patterns, which can cause you to improve.
Put simply, when you begin tracking your metrics, it's very difficult to get worse. It's so rare that you go backwards when you start tracking your metrics. There's a lot of truth to the old saying that what gets measured gets improved, so if you want to improve your social media results, measure what you're doing. [20:00.4]
To recap, the five mistakes financial advisors make on social media are—do you remember them?
Relying too heavily on social media. Counterintuitive, I know, but the results speak for themselves.
Not messaging people.
Not being social enough. Again, it is social media, not “post it and leave it” media.
Not tracking activity and results.
I hope this episode helps you. I hope it improves your social media strategy. If it does, then let me know, reach out to me. Speaking of social media, you can find me on LinkedIn by searching James Pollard. I should come up. I am just waiting for you to send me a connection request and I can accept, and we can live happily ever after on social media.
With that said, I will catch you next week. [20:48.4]
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