Don’t be anti-social!

In conjunction with website provider, Adviser Portals, we recently conducted some research around the subject of websites and the social media used by financial adviser firms.

Don’t be anti-social!

28 Oct 2019

David Ryder

Firstly, 26% of the firms surveyed told us that they don’t think a website is important with 14% not actually having a website at all. In addition, almost 40% don’t believe it is important for their website to be mobile friendly and more than 40% don’t think it is important for their site to be visible on Google.

In respect of social media, only 3 in 10 firms said that social media was important for their firm.

So what do these findings tell us?

Does it reflect the fact that a number of advisers didn’t grow up in the digital age and therefore they don’t ‘connect’ with the medium? Is it the case that clients of these firms are from a similar generation and have a lack of technology experience? Maybe there is a school of thought out there, amongst some advisers, that they already have excellent client banks, only accept new clients by referral and thus simply don’t see the need for an online presence to grow their business?

Well, all of the above could be true, but regardless of this, we believe that these advisers could be missing a trick.

Now at this point we could wax lyrical about all of the features and benefits of websites and social media but instead, here is a more practical view on things…

Did you know that over the next 30 years, £5.5 trillion will pass between generations in the UK*? That is some figure and, aside from the IHT Planning advice opportunities that exist for advisers with their existing clients,  it also means that a significant number of younger people will be inheriting large sums of money. When they do, they will invariably require investment advice, but where will those people turn to for this advice?

Hopefully the answer is You.

However, don’t wait to engage with these younger clients. For example, IHT planning conversations can introduce wills and gifting to younger generations so why not ask your clients about their children and grandchildren. People love to be asked about their families and to talk about them. Get the children involved in the discussions if you think appropriate. By doing so you start to open the door to a new stream of clients and as a result you will not only be helping to prepare the children for the money (as opposed to preparing the money for the children) but you will be starting to build those important relationships before it’s too late.  To do this effectively though, you need to think about engaging on their terms, using the methods of communication that are second nature to them - the internet and social media.

A web presence is an absolute given for the younger generations and the internet is almost always their first port of call when looking for services.  Social media is very often their communication tool of choice (WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – research shows each is preferred by a certain age group and demograph) so any adviser that wants to effectively interact with younger clients (and I am not necessarily talking about millennials here, I am talking about Generation X and the later baby boomers) should seriously consider a web presence and the establishment of social media channels through which to communicate. 

The presence of both will also help to create a brand for your firm, particularly if you work hard at projecting consistent imagery and style of communication across the piece. Your brand becomes a feeling inside people. Get this right and not only will you be engaged with your established clients, but you will also be wrapping your arms around their children and their grandchildren and they in turn will regard your firm as the ‘go to’ place as and when financial advice is needed.

We can talk lots about brand and how to develop an effective one, but that’s another article for another time. For now, start to think outside of the box. Don’t think of a website as a sales tool for harvesting new clients (to be honest, it rarely works like that) but rather consider it as an essential part of how clients interact with you. Think of it as the hub of your firm’s brand and think beyond the obvious of what a website is and instead think of how those younger generations expect it to be there and how much they will appreciate, in the midst of their busy lives, the ease of being able to communicate with you via your website, or on social media channels, through the mobile device that they carry with them pretty much all of the time! Think of the long game and how interacting now on a multi-generational basis will reap rewards later on.

A website is often seen as just an online shop window and, whilst this might be true to a point, this is but scratching the surface of what an online presence (website and social) can achieve and the intergenerational relationships it can help you build.
*Source: Passing on the Pounds report, Kings Court Trust, February 2017