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What are the dangers of social media inactivity for IFAs?

7th May 2019

Recently, we looked into the number of IFAs now using social media professionally. You can read about our findings here. In our second blog in this series, we’re not just looking at who has a social media account, but how often they’re actually posting.

So, we reviewed how often a group of IFAs with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts (the three most popular platforms for advisers) were posting. We found that over a fifth of these accounts, all of which were promoted on the firms’ websites, were completely inactive.

Separated by platform, 13.5% of the Twitter accounts we reviewed were inactive, rising to 25% on Facebook and 27% on LinkedIn. A further 7% of Twitter accounts were only updated once a month, increasing to 9.5% for Facebook and 12% for LinkedIn. This begs the question: why are so many firms not posting on their accounts, and what is the impact of this?

It’s not as easy as people think

It should be acknowledged that being on social media is harder for financial services firms. Although the FCA published its Social media and customer communications guidelines in 2015, knowing exactly what’s allowed can feel like a minefield – so not posting and avoiding the issue altogether might feel safer. Compliance approval can also cause delays, potentially leaving firms with no content to post.

And to be successful on social media, you need content. Lots of it. Writing blogs, articles and social media posts, not to mention producing images or videos and finding interesting content to share, all require time and resource. Appointing somebody to be responsible for looking after the firm’s accounts is essential – keeping to a regular schedule is very difficult if social media becomes a ‘whenever somebody has time’ job.

Another common issue is juggling too many platforms. While branching out into Instagram or YouTube might seem like a great idea, it’s best to be realistic and concentrate on doing one or two platforms well until you better understand what you can cope with.

Why is it so bad to not post enough?

If you advertise your social media on your website, people will expect to see activity. These days, a firm’s social media presence is seen as a good indicator of credibility. Potential clients will want to engage with a company and get a feel for its brand and values before deciding whether or not to use its services. Indeed, a study by Forbes reveals that 78% of people use a company’s social media posts to make purchasing decisions.

On the flip side, then, not posting at all could harm your online credibility. You’ll risk appearing disengaged from your followers, or out of touch with what’s going on in your industry – and people might even assume you’re no longer in business.

Even if you do post, not doing so often enough can still hold you back. If an account is posting infrequently, it won’t attract new followers and at worst, people will unfollow it. And a low follower count can act as a red flag to potential clients.

Make it easier on yourself

Staying active on social media isn’t easy, but it can be done – and the potential benefits are huge. So here are some tips to help you increase your social media output and boost your online presence.

Appoint somebody to be responsible for your social media…

…or outsource to professionals if you don’t have capacity. If everyone’s in charge, your posts will become disjointed and sporadic. If nobody takes charge, your account will become inactive.

Arrange a compliance schedule.

Write up most of your posts several weeks in advance, and agree an approval deadline with compliance to minimise delays.

Use social media management tools…

…such as Hootsuite or Buffer. They let you to schedule posts in advance – so you could schedule your posts for the next few weeks or months all at once.

Plan your content strategy.

Knowing what you’ll be sharing and when makes social media management much easier. Identify four or five content ‘categories’ to post about (e.g. blogs, financial news and analysis, promotion of products and services, charity work, etc.) – this will help keep your page organised and consistent.

Use social media analytics…

to track which posts are engaging your followers the most.

Take a step back.

Are you trying to do too much? It might be worth concentrating your attention on one or two platforms before trying to conquer them all!

Consider outsourcing to professionals.

If you’re struggling with social media, consider working with a professional agency who can do all your content and design work, schedule your posts and monitor your social media page. Yes, there’s a cost, but it could really pay dividends down the line.

By Chloe Wingate

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