In the age of oversharing, social media users have become adept at tuning out the unwanted noise. But as a financial advisor, listening to some of that so-called noise can actually benefit your business. In this case, customer life events are an ideal opportunity to check in with your network.
Why Social Listening Is Important
Most clients don’t consult their financial advisors on a whim. They are inspired to do so by specific life events, such as marriage, pregnancy or a death in the family — any event that may affect their financial future.
These days, many of these life events are shared daily on social media. In 2013, for example, the top 10 most shared life events included adding a relationship, engagement or marriage (#1), moving (#3), ending a relationship (#4), having a baby (#6) and losing a loved one (#8).
Unfortunately, less savvy clients and prospects may not immediately recognize the connection between such events and the need for financial advisement. But if you’re listening for life events on social media — monitoring your feeds and periodically searching for relevant information — you can identify connections in need and offer your services at an opportune time.
How to Approach the Conversation
While there’s nothing wrong with social listening, as a conversation starter, it has the potential to get weird if you approach it the wrong way. For example, you don’t want to seem like a vulture swooping in with a sales pitch following the death of a loved one. If you’re going to join the conversation and add value, you have to do so with respect and tact.
Consider this, when asked why they share content on social networks:
- 78 percent said to stay connected to people they may lose touch with otherwise
- 73 percent said to connect with others who share their interests
- 68 percent said to give friends and followers a better sense of who they are and what they care about
The takeaway? Your social media connections share because they want you to know what’s going on in their lives, because they want to connect and engage. If you approach their life events with genuine interest, discussions will occur naturally and allow you to impart financial wisdom as a trusted friend and business partner, rather than a pushy salesperson.
How Facebook Search Can Help
With 1.65 billion monthly active users as of March 31, 2016, Facebook is still the most popular social network. It’s also the most personal, which makes it perfect for social listening. Plus, Facebook’s search features make listening for life events that much easier.
Just enter your search term, and this is what you’ll see…
Facebook will start you off with the top results, but to the left side of the screen, you have options to filter by who posted, their tagged location and the date of the post. You can also switch your view using the tabs at the top.
Now, let’s look at eight life events you should be listening for on social media.
1. Wedding Announcements
Whether your contact knows it or not, marriage comes with quite a few new budgetary considerations. The best way to start this conversation is with heartfelt congratulations. Follow up with some marriage- and finance-related content and let them know you’re there if they need you.
2. Babies on the Way
This financial game changer is well worth a discussion. Offer your sincere congratulations, and follow up with some content on saving for the baby’s future. This provides immediate value and sets up further conversations.
With a graduation, many financial priorities change, so you may want to talk to the graduate, as well as their family. Again, kudos are in order, along with a few conversational questions about the graduate’s future career plans. Gather and share appropriate content based on the prospect’s response, and nurture the conversation.
With relocation comes a host of financial concerns that most people never even think about. This is a prime time to wish them well. Like the post and applaud their success in a comment the contact on the move and send over some destination-related content, such as tax information or things to do in the area. Let them know you’re available if they need a consultation.
5. Pay Raises
Pay raises are always good news, so join the celebration! Like the post and applaud their success in a comment. Follow up with a personal message later to remind the contact that additional income opens the doors of opportunity for savings and investments. Send over some corresponding content, and let them know you’re around if they have questions.
6. New Jobs
A new job means new income, for better or worse, and the need to rethink your financial strategies. Send a virtual high five and follow up with some questions. Where will they be working? What will they be doing? Once the conversation is underway, send over some helpful content and remind them you’re there if they need help putting together a new game plan.
7. Lost Jobs
Nothing brings financial worry to the forefront quite losing a job. Offer your condolences. If it’s appropriate, perhaps offer useful content on ways to network, severance packages and the like. Let the prospect know you’re there to help them put their best foot forward during this trying time.
Coming back from a divorce often means re-establishing credit, re-evaluating budgets and a host of other items prospects likely don’t want to think about. But the sooner they get their finances in order the better. Offer your condolences and share some tips about what comes next. Let them know you’re ready to talk when they are.
Social listening is a great way to uncover warm leads and stay top of mind with existing and future clients. Unfortunately, not everyone has time to monitor their social channels effectively. If you’re lacking the time (or experience) to keep in regular contact with your clients, let us automate the process. We’re more than happy to help!