Social Media for Financial Professionals: Facebook Best Practices

If you’re a newcomer to my blog, I’ve been breaking down my list of top five social media sites for financial advisors, small business owners and sales professionals. My criteria: your (business) opportunity versus time/cost spent. Maybe you are off the social media fence – but still not sure which social media sites to use or how to generate business from them.

This blog series is intended to give you a blueprint, whether you’ve been using social media for a while or just getting started. In addition to helping you understand which social media sites to use and why, I’ll be sharing success stories, helpful resources and a list of things you can do along the way. So far, we’ve explored: #5) YouTube and #4) Twitter. Now, let’s take a look at Facebook.

Facebook – #3 Social Media Site for Financial Advisor

While Facebook may be the most used social network, it offers limited opportunities because it’s primarily a business-to-consumer (B2C) channel. Additionally, it generally takes more time and effort than several other social media platforms to generate real business opportunities thanks to recent algorithm changes[i], which is why it’s not ranked higher on my list.

Facebook – Opportunity versus Time/Cost

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  • Be Where Your Customers Are: Considering that 72 percent of U.S. adults visit Facebook monthly[ii], simply having an active presence on Facebook may generate opportunities for you. Make the most of it by keeping your information accurate, having an “active” presence and engaging with your audiences if they comment or ask a question.
  • Connect with Your Audience: Use Facebook to really connect with your target audiences. Share “value add” content regularly (limit content that promotes your products/services) and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine. Engage with others by asking questions, commenting on other pages or joining conversations. Finally, share visual content. See how one advisor is targeting a specific audience and really connecting with them.
  • Brand Awareness: Again, Facebook is used by a lot of people, so it’s a good platform to promote your value, your products, your services, your solutions and more. Just remember not to overdo it – share no more than 1-2 posts per day about you/your company and how it can help. Start with a content strategy.

How you might leverage Facebook

WARNING: Before using Facebook always, always know your company’s policies and compliance guidance regarding the use of social media.

 Weekly Tasks

  1. Thought Leadership/Education – It’s important to share content that positions your expertise, so select a handful of products, services or solutions you want to build your business around. Then, find or create content and share it – two to four posts per day (14-28 per week). Your goal is to have an “active” presence, so you need to share content frequently in order for your Fans to be more likely to see/engage with it. Remember to include appropriate graphics in your posts to increase engagement and consider using a scheduling tool to save time. Be sure to include hashtags in your post to increase views. (Time: 40+ minutes to find and schedule articles. Additional time is needed if you are creating content and/or need to have it reviewed and approved before it goes out.)
  2. Social Selling Just like all the other social platforms, you’ll want to plug your products or services weekly. I’d suggest posting content about your products/services once or twice a day. Consider posting content that’s creative, fun or unique to increase engagement from you Fans. (Time: 15+ minutes to create/post content)
  3. Engage with Your AudiencesFacebook is an ideal platform to engage with your customers. Consider: 1) sharing an inspiring quote; 2) asking questions; 3) sharing an update on your community involvement; 4) posting pictures of your favorite ties, shoes or hairstyles you’ve seen during the week – and then asking your Fans to share theirs; or 5) passing along community events, new restaurant openings or even “this weekend’s must do activities.” Again, think about the type of information your audience may find of value and share it. Finally, take time each week to Like other posts and comment on other walls to further market your brand and engage with potential customers. (Time: 30+ minutes to review/respond to comments, post on other walls, etc.)
  4. Be Responsive Check your page regularly and ensure your notifications are correctly set up to alert you about key activity on your page. Acknowledge both positive and negative feedback, apologize if necessary (yes, publicly), thank your customers, etc. The bottom line, be human and your customers will appreciate it. (Time: 10+ minutes)

Opportunity-based Tasks

  1. Search for relevant topics/hashtags – Use key words and/or hashtags (i.e. landscaping and #landscaping) to see who’s talking about your products or services and then, if possible, join the conversation by adding value. Avoid pushing your products. Your goal is to add value to the conversation and gain credibility. Once you establish “credibility,” you might share a link to your website or blog.  (Time: 10+ minutes)
  2. Marketing/Promotion – Consider hosting an event to generate activity and expand your Fan base. For example, a Des Moines photographer gave away a free photo shoot and canvas to anyone who liked her page that month. Let your imagination run wild. Facebook is adding new tools all the time, so make the most of them. (Time: 60+ minutes to develop contest, rules, review legal implications/requirements, etc.)

I hope this information helps you understand the opportunities versus time/cost associated with Facebook and why it ranks as my #3 social media site for financial advisors, small business owners and sales professionals. Next month, I’ll break down my #2 social media activity – Blogging!

So, how are you using Facebook to generate business? What activities are generating the biggest return on building your business? What other activities have you seen work on Facebook? What advice do you have for small business owners jumping on this channel? I’d love to hear from you, so please share any comments, questions or feedback below or contact me on Twitter/LinkedIn. Also, if you liked this post, please share it or, better yet, subscribe to our blog by entering your email on this page.

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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.

Affiliation Disclosures 

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.

© 2015 Principal Financial Services, Inc. |  t15082501jy & t15090301vt

[i] edgar, May 2015 – http://meetedgar.com/facebook-algorithm-timeline/

[ii] DMR, June 2015 – http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-17-amazing-facebook-stats/