Personal branding for financial advisors
As a financial advisor, you are your brand.
Just like a lawyer, doctor or any other professional, trust in the services you offer as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) -- financial planning, investment management, and tax planning -- is dependent on how well they are performed but also the interactions clients have with you.
Naturally, much of that interaction is a reflection of who you are. So the challenge in conveying that to clients is showing how you are unique in the individual financial advice that you give.
This type of branding helps create a name for yourself, using your personality and professional expertise. Good personal branding is knowing exactly where your strengths lie. Playing on them to grow and scale your business can be a potent marketing tool.
So ask yourself: When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? Or reviewed your brand in the marketplace?
If you’re like most people, your LinkedIn profile has been stagnant for years.
Personal brand-related tasks like checking your online search presence and updating social media profiles to reflect updates and recent accomplishments tend to fall to the wayside. To help, I’ve put together this list to help you and your team make sure that “someday” isn’t delayed indefinitely.
Why personal branding
The first step is understanding the “why” behind building and maintaining a strong personal brand.
For your firm, employee personal branding benefits extend across advisors, marketing, client success, and operations. To get your team on board, your employees have to understand what’s in it for them – beyond the satisfaction of helping their employer achieve business goals.
Many companies think a personal branding program consists of getting their employees to share company content on their personal social media profiles.
Your employees’ online presence as just an additional marketing channel is a flawed approach that won’t get buy-in from the very group whose involvement the program depends on -- your employees.
By following the resolutions outlined below, most of which you only have to do once or a few times per year, you can experience the professional benefits of building a strong personal brand.
Pass this article along to your team to help your coworkers build their online presence and help your company experience the benefits of building their employees’ personal brands.
Define your personal brand goals
Imagine the person you want to be one year from now. There is science behind the merits of visualization.
“Mental practice can get you closer to where you want to be in life, and it can prepare you for success!” A.J. Adams, MAPP, Psychology Today
If you don’t take an active role in deciding what you want for your life, chances are you will repeat the same habits and behaviors as yesterday. With this approach, the person you will be one year from now will be mostly the same as who you are today.
No doubt, you will have new achievements behind you — after all, your job will keep you accountable to your work-related goals. Similarly, accomplishments that fall into the “important but not urgent” category, like fitness and personal branding goals, can be achieved only if you keep yourself accountable to them.
Write down your goals for one year from now, and you can start to define the steps that will get you there.
Include both professional and personal goals since a good life requires a balance between both. Similarly, a strong online presence showcases your work-related expertise while incorporating a human element that makes you more memorable and relatable to others.
Craft your personal brand story
“It turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.” -- Steve Jobs, Stanford University commencement address
Successful people tend to be in the habit of looking at their failures as lessons. They assimilate “failures” into their life story as necessary stepping stones that led them to where they are today.
Crafting your narrative is not deceptive but necessary for framing your life story to yourself and others positively that is conducive to achieving your goals. Write a brief biography that summarizes what you’ve done and how it led you to your current situation. Let people know what motivates you, what you do best.
This process will help you describe yourself to people and present a consistent biography online -- on your social media profiles, company website, etc.
Improve your presence in online search results
People are searching for you on Google -- do you know what they’ll find?
Regularly, search for your name and combinations of your name plus location, industry, company, and other relevant terms.
Auditing your digital presence as it currently stands is the first step to taking control of your personal brand online. People usually never venture beyond the first page of search results, the ten links that appear on this first page are the most important for your brand.
If you see content that you don’t want others to find, you can contact the website and ask to get the content removed; request that Google de-index the site in question -- or try to crowd the link off of the first page with valuable content that helps build your personal brand.
Doing this can be as simple as adding strategic keywords to your social media profiles, sharing more content on these platforms, or creating accounts on new social media sites. Google’s algorithm places heavyweight on social media websites, and the more active you are on these platforms, the higher your profile will rank in search results.
Refer to your goals from the first resolution and this list of the top social platforms to determine which social networks will be most conducive to helping you build your personal brand.
Establish your expertise by regularly sharing content
People spend an average of over 2 hours per day on social media websites.
Consider how you’re spending this time -- are you passively browsing Facebook and sighing at over-sharers or clicking on clickbait that adds nothing to your life?
Reconsider your online habits this year and try to allocate at least part of this time to be active on social media in a way that helps build your personal brand. Get in the habit of sharing original content you’ve created or third-party content from other experts in your field.
Recognize any third-party content source by tagging or mentioning them in your posts, helping you build strategic relationships while giving credit where it’s due.
Writing your own thought leadership pieces is more time-consuming, but it carries value in helping you build your personal brand. Consider publishing your original content on platforms that allow you to reach the large audiences that use these websites while foregoing the hassle of managing your website or blog. We’d love to have you as a guest contributor here on this AdvisorEngine blog.
Build relationships, make new connections, and reconnect with old ones
Don’t just use your social platforms as outlets for sharing content. Put the “social” in social media by using these sites to build relationships with key people. Connect and network on LinkedIn. These “key people” could be potential clients, partners, and other individuals with whom building a relationship seems to relate to your immediate professional success.
We recommend broadening your perspective on who is a valuable contact, foregoing the short-sighted, mercenary approach of building relationships according to their apparent business value.
Personal branding expert, Dan Schawbel, wrote a great piece about how to boost your visibility and exposure.
“However, given the limited in-person interactions right now, you may have to take the initiative to do some outreach -- don’t be afraid to do so; most people will take it as a compliment that you’re seeking out their advice.”
The old “surround yourself with good people” adage applies in real life and online.
Focus on how you can help other people, not the other way around, and keep friendships alive for the sake of human connection, not personal gain. This will result in the most rewarding relationships, emotionally and professionally.
AdvisorEngine’s wealth management platform helps advisors who want to grow and scale by automating operational pain points and elevating the client experience.
This blog is sponsored by AdvisorEngine® Inc. (“AdvisorEngine”) and Junxure®, an affiliate of AdvisorEngine. The information, data and opinions in this commentary are as of the publication date unless otherwise noted, and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to use AdvisorEngine or deemed to be a specific offer to sell or provide, or a specific invitation to apply for, any financial product, instrument or service that may be mentioned or to provide tax, legal or other professional advice. AdvisorEngine makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or representations. As a technology company, AdvisorEngine provides access to award-winning tools and will be compensated for providing such access. AdvisorEngine does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.
About Leah Hammerschlag
As AdvisorEngine's Client Acquisition Manager, Leah focuses on content and brand development strategies. She collaborates with our sales, product, and marketing teams to build a strong foundation for client acquisition and retention. Leah brings strategic, creative solutions to optimize our client experience.