For an Advisor, the reasons for having an online presence are not what they think: the vast majority of investors will NOT find a new advisor online. They will however RESEARCH an advisor they have heard of, met, or been referred to. So therefore, the benefit of an online presence is to help educate the potential client, and the better the potential client is educated, the faster they will hire the appropriate advisor. Of course, the benefit to the investor hiring the right advisor then can be realized.
In just a few short years, a complete online presence is now expected. In fact, the bar of expectation is being raised everyday. Think about how many times a day you use Google or any other search engine to answer a host of questions--usually about anything that comes to mind. Everyday, Google, the leading search engine, answers more than 1 billion questions from around the world, and 15% of these everyday searches are unique. This is the digital age, an online presence is necessary for an Advisor to market its financial expertise to the world, it is how potential clients construct a lasting impression of advisors; it would be detrimental to the growth of an Advisors business if that presence is not managed well. Moreover, an investor with a significant need may very well avoid working with their ideal Advisor if upon inspection their cumulative digital presence was lacking. Sometimes the best advisors ignore their digital brand, and the true losers can be the investor who decides not to move forward.
Advisor trade publications have been regularly writing on the importance of participating in many different places online. An important step is to review and update your own advisor website. Next, establishing other online profiles, such as LinkedIn, Google+ and an AdviceIQ profile have significant benefits. Having a consistent image on multiple third party sites is important because of the inherent perceived bias of your own web page, so additional sites are an important part of digital branding. There are different advantages to having each of these profiles, so it is wise to have a different approach when using them. However, although you should have a different approach to each profile it is important that all the information about yourself is consistent. Photos, your value proposition, logo, “About me”, and related sections all need to be identical. Consistency equates to quality and quality equates to trust.
A LinkedIn profile allows you to keep your professional and private life separate, while you gain credibility as an advisor. This is the ideal channel to highlight your skills and experience as a financial advisor to the professional world. Google+ on the other hand, can be used more strategically; considering that Google is the creator of Google+ there is great SEO and visibility opportunities. Google+ is also a better outlet to share lengthy content, and you can virtually meet with clients on live video chat by using its unique hangout functionality. An AdviceIQ profile, as a publisher that only allows advisors in who pass its due diligence, offers an objective standardized platform that further syndicates the profiles to other publishers. AdviceIQ allows Advisors to educate their clients using the objective and trustworthy power of its media partnership network.
Maintaining an online presence is definitely not a task that is without effort, but once you get the ball rolling it does become easier and the benefits an advisor (and an investor) reap are substantive. Simply Business, UK’s largest insurance broker, created a very telling infographic outlining the importance of an online presence, which might be surprising. It appears that 97% of internet users search for local businesses online and 9 out 10 individuals call or visit a business when found on search. As a result, it would be beneficial to get on board and make the effort because as Kristen Andee of Investment News cautions, “financial advisors who haven’t taken the time to craft a strong, coordinated effort online risk losing prospective clients, existing clients and, for those looking to expand their practice, future team members.”