Social media case study: How advisors are leveraging Facebook

Technology — particularly social media — are evolving at a feverish pace. In fact, social media changes so fast that I can’t even keep up … and it’s my job. So, I know how challenging it can be for advisors and business owners to stay on top of social media changes AND opportunities.

Now, a few years ago, I would not have suggested you to spend a lot of time on Facebook, but times are changing. The introduction of Facebook Business Pages makes it easier – and more affordable – than ever to build an online community. But don’t take my word for it, here’s how Dave Grant, a certified financial planner in Chicago, is successfully leveraging Facebook. 

Why Facebook?

Grant launched his Facebook page, Finance for Teachers, in June of 2013 with the goal of building brand awareness.

“I was in the process of finalizing my website and needed a way to promote it,” Grant said. “So I decided to create a Facebook page and asked my family and friends to ‘Like it’. From there, things just grew.

“It’s been very good for generating brand awareness,” he said. “There’s definitely a viral buzz now. Facebook helps me get a lot of information out to my target audience and pulls people back to my website.”

Identify your target audience and deliver relevant content

Part of Grant’s success on Facebook can be attributed to his strategy – to target a specific audience and deliver relevant content. Grant regularly posts content specifically for Illinois teachers.

“Fifty percent of my content is geared toward teachers near retirement,” Grand said. “And my content has to fit two criteria: 1) it has to relate to the financial life of a teacher; and 2) it has to help teachers get better at their jobs.”

As such, Grant shares content on Illinois Pension Reform; budgeting; tax tips; mutual fund opinions and a whole lot more. He also writes a weekly blog and even posts video blogs to his Facebook page.

Take advantage of Facebook’s customization features and search lift

Facebook Business Pages offer two meaningful pieces of functionality you should take advantage of: 1) they allow you to customize the page somewhat, and; 2) they rank relatively high with search engines.

  • Customization – as you can see from this advisor’s Facebook page, you can prominently showcase your firm name, address, phone number, office hours and more, including a blog, photos, YouTube videos and newsletters.
  • Internet Search – if someone types in your name/your firm’s name on Google or any other search engine there’s a good chance your Facebook page will display in the top 10 results. Why? Because search engine algorithms believe these pages are more ‘authentic’ and, thus, rank higher – maybe even higher than your website.

Repurpose your content to get the most out of it

Grant’s Facebook page includes an icon teachers can click on to receive his newsletter. This is a great way to extend the life of your content and deliver it to your audiences on their terms. In Grant’s case, he uses a plug-in for a newsletter subscription service, which distributes an electronic newsletter every two weeks from his blog.

Thinking about a Facebook page?

A Facebook Business Page is not for every advisor or small business, so consider your goals, time commitment and opportunity before jumping in. Grant offers these tips as well:

  • Know goals and intent before jumping in
  • Social media can take a lot of time if you’re not careful, you need a strategy
  • Every social media channel is different, so the same approach does not work for all channels

Are you using Facebook Business Pages? If so, why? Do you have any success stories or tips to share? How did you get started and what have you learned? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop me a line in the comments or on Twitter.

***

For more information, check me out on Twitter, where I regularly share social media tips, advice, trends and more, including how to build your business with social. Follow me at @jonferchen.

Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company, member of the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®), Des Moines, IA 50392.

© 2014 Principal Financial Services, Inc. |PQ11576D | t14020702h5

  • terrygo

    great piece Jon – love the example especially given a very distinct focus. Do you think social causes natural fragmentation to become relevant and if so how do national companies such as Principal deal with that?

  • jdferch

    Thanks, Terry. Sorry for the delayed response … we just rolled out a new look for our blog.

    Good question. Yes, I think social is fragmenting
    our communications. I feel users have certain platforms they like so
    naturally they are spending more time there. We are trying to leverage platforms that
    “most” of our customers are using for now and continue to monitor the
    landscape. What are your thoughts on this topic?

  • terrygo

    It is an interesting problem. Some companies have ‘fragmented” the approach but the majority look to be consolidating to a single company position. Northwestern Mutual and Liberty Mutual are two exceptions adding college leavers blogs, Facebook (LM only) and Twitter feeds. For most fragmentation is limited to different platforms that hit different demographics. Pinterest and LinkedIn are examples with very female and male audiences respectively. It is however a big issue moving forward as consumers become overwhelmed with brand messages on social and relevance will be the driving force. I think that local agents/advisers are the answer such as with your example in this post which provides an almost unlimited fragmentation, the only question is the role that Principal can play to support the activity and continue to drive indirect influence. It will not be easy but then again who says social was every going to be easy