Your social posts and content marketing pieces should not be about pushing content to your followers. It should be about building trust.
Let Me Tell You a Story
One of the investment firms I worked with had a stellar program for interns. We had new groups throughout the year, and if you paid attention, you could learn from them.
Part of the program included some serious one-on-one time with the portfolio managers. The PMs would describe their work, explain their investment philosophy, and introduce their funds. Sometimes the interns even had the benefit of a seeing the PM give a sales presentation. We rotated PMs — each taking a different group so nobody was overwhelmed.
And when it came time for me to sit down with the interns (they were a fabulous help with usability testing), I would ask them in which of our products they would be most likely to invest.
Do you know what their answer was?
It was ALWAYS the product managed by the portfolio manager they had spent time with.
It didn’t matter if that person had the fund with the highest Morningstar rating. It didn’t matter if that person managed the fund with the best performance.
They didn’t want to invest in a product. They wanted to invest in a person.
They wanted to give their money to someone they trusted.
When you think about it, this isn’t the decision of uneducated youth. This is human nature.
We all want to trust the person handling our money.
And you can’t trust someone without getting to know them.
What Does This Mean for You?
Maybe you have a marketing team to handle your social media and web content. Maybe your compliance team is extra strict, so you avoid posting all-together. Maybe your company has an account, so you don’t see the point of posting anything personally.
You’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
Let’s face it. People don’t get attached to companies; they get attached to people. People don’t trust companies; they trust people. People don’t want to work with companies; they want to work with people.
If you aren’t showing your face, sharing your opinions, and letting people get to know you, how can you expect them to trust you? And if they don’t trust you, how can you expect them to let you manage their money?
What Can You Do About It?
Here are some actionable steps you can take to start building trust with potential clients/shareholders:
Learn from your peers.
Take a look at other successful accounts in your area (portfolio managers, financial advisors, asset managers, etc.) for pointers and tips. What are they doing that is getting a positive reaction? What kinds of things are they posting without disclosure? What is the ratio of professional to personal content? Follow these accounts for ideas, inspiration, and intel (what’s working, what’s not).
Talk to your compliance team.
Learn the rules and come up with a process for getting your posts approved in a timely manner. And don’t assume you can’t add disclosure to a social media post or video — because you can. Even on Twitter — with a limited character count — you can add an image that shows the disclosure language. Don’t let compliance keep you from getting out there and building trust.
Don’t put out faceless content.
Content marketing is extremely valuable — but it’s even more valuable when it’s attached to a person. Don’t give general tips for navigating a down market. Share Portfolio Manager Tom Johnson’s tips for navigating the market. Don’t create a video with office shots and stock photography. Use your people to personalize it. Don’t just post your quarterly insights to your company LinkedIn page. Make sure that Tom Johnson reposts the content to his account with his personal takes. You are probably already putting out content. Elevate it by making it personal.
If all you do is post about investing, the markets, and your company, you still won’t feel like a real person. Talk about a sports team you love, the college you attended, and your weekend hobbies. Share a picture of your dog. The more human you are, the easier you are to trust. Stay away from any political or cultural topics — don’t opine on polarizing matters or events — just focus on some of the positive parts of your own life. Let people get to know you.
You’re obviously busy and putting out personal content is probably fairly low on your list of priorities. But, just like investing, your efforts compound over time. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll see concrete results. It’s not about followers (don’t be fooled into thinking likes and follows mean success) – it’s about building relationships that eventually will turn into partnerships. You want to connect with potential clients/shareholders. Collecting follows means nothing.
It can feel intimidating to do something new or unfamiliar, but putting yourself (or your people) out there — building personal brands, not just corporate brands — will benefit not just the individuals, but the company as a whole.
Start small. Choose one social media outlet (honestly it doesn’t matter which one — whichever you feel most comfortable with) and start posting once or twice a week. Update your website content and printed materials so they feel more personal and are connected to a face. Create some videos featuring your people.
Just get out there and start building that trust.