Developing A Positive Digital Reputation As A Financial Advisor

By Jackie Kolek

According to Schroder’s 2016 Global Investor Study, millennials are now more likely to consult a financial advisor than those above age 36. Because they are the most tech-savvy generation ever, financial services firms need to better understand this audience and ensure their digital presence is up to speed. Potential investors are running Google searches as a first step in due diligence, so firms need to have a robust digital presence to stand a chance at attracting the next generation of investors.

To begin a deep dive into your firm’s digital reputation, it’s important to focus on the following:

Assess Your Digital Footprint

The content you post online—as well as what others post about you—determines your digital footprint. Financial advisors with a strong digital footprint are able to establish themselves as industry thought leaders. So take a second to ask yourself—what is my firm’s digital profile? Do I have a strategy to enhance it? Bear in mind that millennials are widely known for their do-it-yourself approach to finding answers online—even about financial matters. If that’s where they’re going to find information, financial advisors need to invest their time and resources into building up their online presence to attract this audience.

By monitoring your digital footprint, you’re keeping tabs of the messages out there about you. Tracking your footprint also means fully updating your firm’s LinkedIn page and those of senior leaders with correct information.

Develop A Content Plan

Smart financial advisors evaluate and adjust their content strategy regularly in order to leverage an important time of year or popular trend. For example, you can schedule your thought leadership articles around a time of peak interest such as tax season and develop an omni-channel distribution approach to ensure it gets across all your relevant online platforms.

Together with your content plan, you should make sure you have a plan for how to communicate with your audiences online. Two-way communication is a crucial part of your digital reputation. It ensures you get relevant and timely messages across to current and potential investors, peers and the financial community at large.

Part of your engagement plan can include retweeting other influencers, commenting on blogs and LinkedIn posts and other activities customized to the platforms your firm is using.  Additionally, you’ll need to run an inventory of what individuals and brands you are following on social media and reassess which are most important to you, and which other brands you might benefit from following.

Reflect On Your Profile

Take the time to look at your online profile and evaluate it from a spectator’s point of view. Does it reflect what you want it to be? Does it clearly show your firm’s strengths and unique differentiators versus other financial advisors? If not, this is something you need to correct on all of your firm’s external communications channels.

For example, LinkedIn profiles should reflect the company’s web page regarding areas of expertise, whether this is specializing in financial advice for women, small to medium business owners, high-net-worth investors, etc. Who your target audience is and how you can help them manage their assets should be plainly manifest. The messaging should be the same across all platforms.

If you’re able to effectively highlight your firm’s culture and quality of services with your online profiles, you’re actually developing a persona, which can humanize your company and help draw in potential investors.
Use Relevant Keywords And Phrases

To ensure that your firm and personal online profiles have a higher ranking on online search pages, use keywords that are important to your potential audience and make sure that your web copy is well built-out for this purpose. For example, if you specialize in retirement advice, make sure to pepper “retirement,” “Roth IRA” and other similar words strategically into your home page. Remember that high-quality web copy tends to appear much higher in search results. This allows you to be more accessible to potential investors and others in the financial community. Just be careful not to over-optimize—which essentially means you are flooding your website with search terms without any rhyme or reason. This can negatively affect your ranking.

Financial advisors that build out their digital reputation are in a better position to win greater allocations from the digitally conscious investor set. This becomes even more important when considering that we’re about to witness the greatest wealth transfer in history, from boomers to millennials. A recent report from NFP found that $30 trillion is expected to transfer—the vast majority within the next decade—so advisors need to figure out how to get a piece of that pie. Don’t let a quick Google search stand between you this next generation of investors.

Jackie Kolek is a partner and managing director at Peppercomm, a communications and public relations agency.