Did you know that personal preference is the number one reason for changing financial advisors? According to LinkedIn research conducted with Coalition Greenwich, 25% of retail investors are considering a change in their advisor in the next year, and that decision is driven by preference.
It’s more important than ever for agents and advisors to stand out as the preferred choice, using personalization strategies to show who they are and what it's like to work with them. At our 10th annual Customer Summit, Hearsay’s Christine Meginness, Tim Rickards, and Leslie Leach shared three personalization techniques to help field teams amplify social selling. Here are the key takeaways from their discussion:
Identify your target, and stick to it
The key to compelling messaging? Tailor it to the specific needs of your unique audience.
“Customers are looking for different support from a financial advisor at different stages in their life,” said Christine Meginness, Program Director for Hearsay Sites. To truly personalize outreach and messaging to their needs and interests, it’s important that agents and advisors know exactly who their target audience is – whether they be young families seeking advice on college savings for their kids, high-income earners looking for support on investment strategies, or prospects that are more focused on retirement planning. “Different prospects are really looking for a financial advisor who understands them and can meet them where they are in their journey.”
Once finding a niche, the key is sticking to that target. Personalizing content to an audience’s unique needs adds teeth to the message, whereas trying to appeal to a broad audience for fear of excluding people can weaken it.
Adding customer testimonials can also enhance the messaging, inspiring trust and confidence with prospects, particularly if those customers fall into the same niche. It’s always more meaningful for target audiences to see testimonials from others who share similar goals.
Use video to deliver outsized impact
Leveraging video is another easy way for advisors to show prospects that they understand their unique needs. When making a decision about a product or service, 9 out of 10 consumers say a video helped them with their choice. People also tend to remember 95% of the marketing message from a video, as compared to 10% from reading text.
“Video really activates our learned social behaviors,” said Tim Rickards, Director of Social & Content Strategy at Hearsay. “When you think about differentiating yourselves from other agents or advisers and even just becoming more personal, video is just a wonderful way for you to come across and be yourself in the best possible light.”
Beyond simply speaking into the camera, Tim shared a few other helpful considerations when creating video: Use the medium to demystify complicated topics, breaking them down into simpler stories for viewers. Try communicating passion and empathy for community and causes, as this can go a long way in fostering trust. Finally, remember that the point of video is connection, not perfection, so allow agents and advisors to be themselves on camera.
To help field teams accelerate video publishing, firms can provide easy-to-use templates and formulas for video creation, and leverage tools to scale supervision and compliance, so agents and advisors can share as often and quickly as possible.
Private messaging is the new email
A one-on-one conversation is where the true selling starts, and incorporating private messaging can break through the noise to help nurture and build a referral network. Hearsay’s CMSO, Leslie Leach, shared a few use cases for private messaging, which provides more direct and immediate communication from social media.
“Starting with a social media post, when you get a like or a comment from a first or second-degree connection, that's really a warm invitation to reach out by private message.” Using private messaging for events and thought leadership also breaks through the noise better than email. In fact, when compared to email, response rates to private messaging are 5x higher. “People feel more urgency to read and reply to texts or direct messages than they do to emails.”
From a compliance and supervision standpoint, privacy remains an issue, but simply prohibiting agents and advisors from private messaging takes away a critical closing tool. Firms can overcome privacy issues by implementing transparent policies and training, limiting supervision to a trusted group of reviewers, and applying a well-defined lexicon that flags only messages that either reference products or services or might indicate a breach of fair and balanced standards.
To better reach and engage with audiences on social media, it’s important for agents and advisors to differentiate their content beyond the corporate brand. Investing in personalization— helping your field target their specific audience, activate video, and incorporate private messaging—will multiply their social selling efforts.
View this and other sessions from Hearsay Summit 2022 to hear how experts are forging a new path in financial services.