How social selling can build trust in the financial advisor-client relationship

Trust hinges on authentic relationships. Today’s investors want to work with real people who connect with them on a human level.

By Doug Wilber

With inflation still looming, clients and prospects remain cautious about spending and investments. This is especially evident in how today’s investors choose which financial advisors to work with (and how your brand acquires new prospects). As clients’ financials become even more vulnerable during market volatility, they need to know that their financial advisors are ready to build plans to help them meet their financial goals.

Current and potential investors are looking for trustworthy advice—and building strong relationships is key to that. To truly cultivate financial advisor and client relationships that will lead to client acquisition and retention, bank financial advisors can be very effective through social selling.

The importance of social selling for financial advisors

Social selling is precisely what it sounds like: using social media to sell a product or service. It’s leveraging social to build personal relationships, showcase thought leadership, engage with prospects, interact with existing clients and ultimately build trust and rapport that will eventually lead to more accounts opened.

It’s understandable that people might feel afraid and confused during market volatility, which is what makes social selling a critical trust-building opportunity. With social selling, financial advisors meet investors online in meaningful ways.

Marketers now recognize the modern power of social media, and in today’s market your financial advisors can use social to reassure clients. When 73 percent of clients who work with financial advisors feel more prepared for a recession, it’s essential that financial brands proactively discuss the value of advice. But to do that successfully, advisors need to be at the center of the conversation.

However, a social media brand presence does not equal a solid social selling strategy. You need your advisors to meet prospects throughout the buying journey, which requires investing in comprehensive social selling campaigns to connect with investors and build trust. When deciding who handles their investments, people don’t choose institutions; they choose people. So, help your advisors build those relationships online.

How to build trust with potential clients using social selling

This should go without saying, but prospective clients are already getting financial advice on social media. In fact, Gen Z is five times more likely to get financial advice on social media channels than people age 41 and over.

To stay visible and competitive, your brand’s financial advisors can use social selling to become financial micro-influencers in their local communities. At its core, social selling is about the human element of one person’s relationship with another. Not just client to bank.

Here are four ways to empower financial advisors to build impactful relationships with clients and new prospects:

1. Post consistently

If an advisor is new to using social selling, don’t worry. The first key to using social media to build trust and relationships is simple: consistency. Advisors should post often to stay top-of-mind with investors and build algorithmic preference. Consistency ensures that advisors are providing value to clients and prospects on a regular basis.

And remember, every post counts. Not every post will get the engagement marketers hope for (or even the same amount), but each post should feel intentional and authentic to the advisors publishing it. Also, when your advisors post, they need to make sure there is a goal and specific audience for each one.

2. Upload quality content to favor the algorithm

Consistent posts are crucial, but you also have to ensure that advisors are posting high-quality content. One hot tip is to include a video or image (social media posts with images tend to garner more engagement). Also schedule posts for the ideal time for target audiences. After all, it doesn’t matter how great a post looks if no one sees it.

Marketing teams can also help intermediaries craft copy that opens the door to conversations with their audiences, such as asking open-ended questions, soliciting responses, or featuring polls that can be answered on the spot. Social posts are at the top of any new client’s journey, so helping your social sellers craft posts with interactive elements will lead to more engagement and conversions.

3. Source content from trusted third parties

To facilitate advisors’ trust-building with clients and prospects, it is critical to ensure they only share information from credible third-party sources. There’s a lot of bad financial advice and misinformation out there. If the audience suspects that an advisor is full of baloney, the brand risks losing a lot of trust.

Social content libraries can help ensure social sellers have access to trustworthy, fact-checked third-party content. It’s essential that financial advisors add personal commentary to make third-party content more authentic and personable.

4. Encourage authenticity

It seems simple to say, but trust hinges on authentic relationships. Today’s investors want to work with real people who connect with them on a human level. That’s why it’s so important to instruct and encourage advisors to be themselves when social selling. Suggest that they put some of their personality into their social selling posts, talk about things that are important to them, or ask their networks questions. (If this keeps you up at night from a risk perspective, know that approval tools can help ensure compliance.)

When people interact with your advisors through social selling, they’ll see how much reliable value those advisors provide to their lives and will be more likely to trust your brand with their livelihoods. Authenticity is even more crucial when it comes to attracting prospects at the top of the funnel who haven’t gotten the chance to meet (and befriend) advisors yet.

While the current economic climate poses many potential challenges, remember that gaining and keeping investors’ trust is the key to acquiring and retaining clients (even in tough times). Lean on social selling to tell the bank brand’s story, build thought leadership online for intermediaries, and gain more followers who convert into new clients. Let them get to know your institution and your intermediaries, and they’ll want to work with you, too.

Doug Wilber is the CEO of Denim Social, a social media management software company that provides tools to empower marketers in regulated industries to manage organic social media content and paid social media advertising on one platform.