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Q&A: Social media tips for financial planners

March 12, 2018

Gretchen Betts (above, left) is managing director of Magenta FP, a financial planning firm in Bridgend, South Wales, with a distinctive brand look and feel and a strong social media presence.

Here, Gretchen explains the background to the brand and its digital strategy, the results her and CEO Julie Lord (above, right) have had so far, and her tips for other financial planners.

Against a sea of blue and green financial services brands, yours is unmissable! Can you explain the background to it?

We launched Magenta around 18 months ago and before that we spent long time thinking about what we’d be called and what we’d look like.

I’d always worked for companies that had the corporate, traditional banking services look and I knew that I didn’t want that. I wanted the name to be something people could say and understand easily.

Those were the two main criteria.

Then we researched different colours and the meaning behind them, and that’s where the name Magenta came from. The meaning and philosophy behind the word is happiness, self belief, trust, and being caring, which struck a chord with us. Luckily most of us like pink!

Do you worry that you might appear to be a women-only firm?

Magenta FP officeWe try to avoid being niche. We’re not about targeting females, so we don’t go to women-only networking events for example.

We often get asked if the colour attracts more women, but our clients don’t seem to see it that way – they just think we look interesting. We wanted to stand out to the average person walking down the street. There are 5 or 6 financial advisers on our road – so our main aim was to be noticed.

We wanted the office to be opposite of corporate and stuffy; we wanted to be comfortable, not with cold, slippery black leather sofas. We’ve had really positive feedback, with people saying how bright and welcoming it is.

Did you always know that marketing – and specifically content marketing – would be a big part of your strategy?

Overall marketing wise, we decided early on that social media had to play a major part. It’s free – apart from our time – and it was something we could control and start with straight away.

Myself and Julie both left large corporates and set up Magenta together. We didn’t know how many clients would come with us, when they would, or where new clients were going to come from. We were confident enough we wouldn’t start out with nothing, but we knew that no one would know our name, or what we stood for, unless we started telling people.

At that stage we didn’t know how much we could spend on marketing or what would work. So, in terms of social media, we thought we’d try it all.

How did you start?

We looked at other financial planners who are also active on social media – there are some in America who doing lifestyle financial planning and presenting themselves in a way that’s not just about the planning but the bigger picture – what their interests are, what their team are up to etc.

We decided what our own themes would be – what we’d comment on and what we wouldn’t get involved in.

We also looked at specific hashtags to see which ones were trending, and decided we wanted to focus on specific ones – for example #MondayMotivation, #TuesdayTips etc. Some we’ve kept up – #MondayMotivation always goes down well; we also use #ThrowbackThursday now that we’ve got older content, but we’ve eased off on using one every day.

Who writes the content?

We’ll all write pieces, whenever we have a chance. When we have quiet periods, we’ll put together content that we keep in our library.

Alongside our own content we often use content store from Adviser Store – especially if we’re really pushed for time – we always top and tail this ourselves, and change some of the language.

We outsource the physical posting of content, but we might bring that back in house, now it’s become formulaic and we know what’s happening each week.

Which platforms do you use?

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn occasionally.

On Twitter we’ve found that you’re probably better to be on there as you rather than your business. Our corporate account doesn’t get as much interaction as our individual accounts.

But when it comes to Facebook – it’s actually better to be on there as a company, for likes and visibility. We put out 4 or 5 paid adverts last year with the aim of getting page likes and visibility about where and who we are.

How much time does Magenta spend a week on social media?

We write two blogs a week at least – one will be from our library of content, and the other will be a summary or something more timely we want to share, for example a piece on St David’s day.

We use Hootsuite to schedule it – the blog will go out on Tuesday and we’ll Tweet about it then. We’ll post on Instagram too.

We’re still weighing our approach up – obviously you’ve still got to manage the business and clients takes priority – but if you’ve got a basic schedule it’s great because you know that at least something is going out every day. If you can do more, then great.

What have the results been so far?

The number of people who say or read something I’ve written or said proves that our social media activity pays a major part alongside our website in reassuring referrals.

We knew when we started that because a huge number of leads come from client referrals, that when people get told about us they’ll look us up. So our website has to talk for itself, alongside what else they find out about us.

If they look at us and see evidence of what we’re about – good reviews, that we’ve won an award, that we know what talking about – then it’s done the job. We’re not expecting large amounts of clients from social media, but we see it as part of the wider picture – giving people as many different facts about us as possible to encourage them to contact us.

If you took all the social media away and just left website, you would just have what every other normal financial adviser has. With Twitter, Facebook and Instagram you can add more personality and show that we’re real people – we’re celebrating our successes, we’re having fun – things that you can’t necessarily show on your website. We’re looking for our social media activity to back up who we are.

Have you had any trolls?

Magenta FP videoThere have been some aggressive or antagonistic comments from people within the profession, mainly relating to comments we’ve made that have been taken out of context. We don’t let it bother us!

Some people don’t like our motivational messages, but for us these messages are important because they relate to the big conversations that we are having with clients about what will make them happy – there are lots life decisions to make, people are dealing with grief and divorce etc. When they ask ‘Have I got enough in my pension?’ we say ‘Well, what is it that will make you happy?’ that needs to come first, so we can then quantify the ‘how much’.

What would you say to people thinking of starting to use social media as part of their marketing strategy?

Don’t be afraid invest in your own brand and show who you are. Work out what it is you want to portray before you start doing it – your key business themes. Then you’ll have a plan you can stick to and you’ll know when it’s ok to mention certain things.

There are some things you shouldn’t say. Try not to be too controversial – I think some people thrive on pushing those boundaries and being very opinionated, but we’ve taken the view that if it’s not adding value then it’s not worth doing. It’s better that clients know who you are – it’s about showing how you get on with people and how you gel with people – so our focus is much more on the positive than the negative.

Don’t get fixated on the number of followers you have because the more you have, the harder it is to engage with people. It’s better if you’ve got around 500 rather than thousands.

The key thing is to be yourself – that’s how to be found. If clients want to know how the lifetime allowance works, there are already plenty of places they can go to find that out, but they can’t find out who we are, what other clients think about us, and what financial planning is about that easily.

That’s where you can get in front of people and really tell your story.

 

Find out more about Magenta at Magentafp.com.

March 12, 2018

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