Sophia Bera, CFP®, is a Gen Y advisor for Gen Y clients, promising “I’m not your father’s financial planner”.
While building a businesses to provide affordable financial advice to her own generation, Sophia is also leading the way for advisors who want a strong, consistent online presence.
Her well-designed website, incredibly personal blog posts, and active social media presence are hard to ignore. So, I asked her to spill the secret. What do advisors need to do to stand out online?
Turns out, she’s using the basics – with a twist.
5 Fundamental Things I Do To Stand Out Online
by Sophia Bera, CFP®
Rock The Website. Really.
Have you looked at a financial advisor’s website lately? Did they use a template from 2005 and stock photos of a compass or a lighthouse? Is there a man playing golf or a happy retired couple? Honestly, most advisors have really boring websites, so one of the easiest ways to stand out from the crowd is to have one that doesn’t bore visitors to tears.
Check out “9 Advisor Websites That Work and Why”
Your website is often the thing making a first impression, so be sure to make it a great one. My tip? Leave it to the pros. Hire someone to design a great website in WordPress for you. (FYI: Hannah Loaring from Further Bound did mine). I recommend building using WordPress because it is the most user-friendly and makes updating your blog easy. But do you need a blog? The answer is: YES! Which brings us to…
Maintain a Blog
A blog is a powerful way to give your prospects a taste of what it would be to work with you and keep your clients up to date on topics they value.
Don’t worry about updating your blog multiple times each week; instead, focus on creating valuable content that your clients and potential clients will enjoy. I’ve committed to writing one new post per week. It’s maintainable for me and consistent for readers.
If you have multiple advisors in your office, take turns writing posts. If you don’t know where to start and you don’t want to spend time writing, you may want to hire someone to help your firm with content creation and social media marketing. This is also a wonderful way to engage younger staff members as part of the team. Have them manage the blog and social media for the office. Just get writing.
Rethink Your “About Us” Page
Each advisor should tell his or her story instead of listing a resume or bio. We make meaning of our life through stories and this is a profound way to connect with your prospects and clients. Here’s what I’ve done. I took the approach of writing “The Formal Version”, immediately followed by “The Informal Version”. Who’s to say our About Us pages need to be dry and boring?
TIP: Instead of using stock photos, have an updated headshot taken. A picture is worth a thousand words! People want to work with others who look inviting, approachable, and friendly.
Establish “Street Cred”
In our industry we can’t have testimonials, so what’s the next best way to establish credibility? Get quoted.
Seeing your name in the media, magazines, and online helps build trust. If a potential client types your name into Google and nothing comes up, it seems odd and you lack credibility. Your LinkedIn profile is one of the first thinks that will pop up, so make sure that you’ve filled out your entire LinkedIn profile and put your contact information on the main page. A prospect will often look on your LinkedIn profile to find out more about you. On LinkedIn, you can link to the articles that you’ve been quoted in.
TIP: If you want to start getting quoted, the best thing I recommend is to sign up for the business and finances updates from HARO. Every day, you’ll be emailed a list of stories that reporters and journalists are writing and they are looking to interview experts to quote in their articles. You can then link to these articles on your website and share this information with your clients and on social media channels.
Use Social Media Strategically
Don’t have 7 social media accounts that you only update once a month. Instead choose 1-3 that you can be active on every day.
You don’t have to be on every social media outlet available but you should, at a minimum, create a great LinkedIn profile and post updates regularly. Your clients are all on LinkedIn and they will often connect with you via LinkedIn, so first thing in the morning, post an update. Many companies are creating a company Facebook page and Google+ page as well.
I love Twitter, and I’m going to encourage you to use it to your advantage.
Twitter is a great way to find other people, companies, and organizations that serve your target market. When you write a new blog post, you can tweet it to those groups and maybe pick up a few of their followers, which leads to prospects, and eventually to new clients. From Twitter, I’ve received invites to write for other websites, speak at conferences, and opportunities to collaborate with other industry professionals. In addition to tweeting my blog posts, I share others content, and post fun updates from my own life. I’ve found that people want to connect, share, and invest with like-minded professionals, so don’t be afraid to share a little about your personal life. It makes you human as opposed to a “stuffy” financial advisor.
Use Available Resources to Really Nail It
Establishing an online presence can feel daunting, but I encourage you to engage those at your firm who are already comfortable with blogging and social media to spearhead this undertaking. There are many consultants and marketing professionals that are willing to help you build your brand online and this is going to be increasingly important as our clients become more tech-savvy and mobile.Gen Y Planning, Sophia provides affordable financial planning to her generation. She works with clients in their 20s and 30s from across the country in a fun and accessible way. Subscribe to her newsletter or follow her on Twitter at @sophiabera.