How to recognise and guard against social media’s hazards
Social media can be a great tool for helping financial advisers connect with clients and potential clients, build deeper relationships and ultimately grow their firm.
If you’ve decided to integrate social media into your marketing strategy, the first step is to select your channels carefully – Facebook or LinkedIn; Twitter or YouTube? Start by knowing who your audience is, and where to find them on social media.
Then you, and your staff, need to be aware of the risks as well as the benefits.
We explore seven common risks financial advisers face when using social media and how to overcome them.
1. The risk of a disgruntled client
Social media is an interactive environment which, by its very nature, encourages people to have their say. And, while a good review or a message of support for your services can be great marketing, there may be times when someone says something negative too. After all, studies show that people are more likely to report a bad experience than a good one.
How to manage it: If someone leaves a genuinely negative review, be prepared to interact. Social media is a two-way street, so you have the chance to have your say and address negative comments. Just do so politely and respectfully, or you could come off looking worse. Besides, if someone genuinely feels aggrieved often the worst thing you can do is ignore them. So if it is your fault, the best approach is to acknowledge their feedback publicly but avoid going into the detail. Instead, take any grievance off social media and onto the phone or another, less public forum. And remember, often people will say something negative online if they don’t feel as though they’ve been heard. So, if it starts becoming a pattern, maybe it’s a signal to look at your internal processes.
2. The risk of a rogue employee
Maintaining your company’s social media accounts properly requires a significant time investment, so it's likely you’ll need your employees to post on behalf of the company. And that immediately exposes you to risk. After all, your staff could post something negative about your business, your clients or their colleagues, even unintentionally. And the risk doesn’t start and end with your account - there’s also the chance they could post something from their personal account that connects their actions with your brand in a negative way.
How to manage it: The starting point for managing the risk of an employee damaging your brand should always be education: establish a good social media policy setting out each employee’s responsibilities when it comes to social media. Communicate this policy across your organisation and, if necessary, train your staff in proper social media use regardless of whether they have access to your company account.