Networking is important for all job titles, including financial advisors. In the past, business relationships were nurtured in person, over cups of coffee and overpriced dinners. While this traditional way of networking is still prevalent today, there is another method that’s just as important and powerful. Digital networking can provide an abundance of opportunities for both new financial advisors and those who have stuck to more traditional networking methods for the last several decades.
If you’re in the industry, learn how digital networking for financial advisors can make a difference with the following tips.
Digital Networking for Financial Advisors – 7 Must-Know Tips
Understand your goals
With traditional networking, your goals may involve getting a certain number of business cards or setting up a few business lunches. With digital networking, because it takes place with the use of digital technology such as email, smartphones, and social media platforms, your goals may be a bit different.
Instead of business cards, you may want to set a goal of getting a certain number of newsletter subscribers or likes to your Facebook business page. Instead of lunches, you may want to set an attendee goal to a Facebook live session or webinar.
Without goals, it’s impossible to analyze your networking results. Always set a specific and challenging goal for your digital networking efforts.
Take a class
If you’re serious about digital networking but just have no idea where to start, consider taking a few online courses. Udemy is a great source to start with and a quick google search will bring up a variety of online educational options.
If you live in a populous area, look for classes at a community college or even the local library. If all else fails, reading the latest books and blogs in digital networking and related subjects will point you in the right direction.
Outsource your efforts
Spending your time at work wisely isn’t groundbreaking news. But advisors branching out into digital networking sometimes believe they have to tackle it all themselves. While authenticity should be the foundation of any sort of networking, you do have a bit of wiggle room when it comes to digital methods.
Letting an assistant sub for you at a networking event certainly wouldn’t work in a traditional networking sense. Sending an assistant in your place for a business lunch certainly wouldn’t work in a traditional networking sense. But it is acceptable to outsource social media postings or get some help researching industry leaders or cold leads with digital networking.
The important detail to remember is that you should never outsource networking as a whole. It’s okay to have someone flip over the puzzle pieces for you. Just make sure you’re the one putting the final picture together.
Promote others instead of yourself
It’s easy to want to hop onto social media and start telling anyone who will listen about what you can do for them with your financial services. But not only will this leave you hearing digital crickets, you could be scaring people away with your eagerness.
Instead of promoting your services, introduce your peers to each other. Do you know a mortgage broker helping people with poor credit buy their first homes? Do you have a colleague helping startups secure funding? Promote your acquaintances in an authentic manner and you’ll boost your reputation.
You can still promote your services, but remember the Rule of Thirds: ⅓ of your posted content should focus on interaction, ⅓ should share industry news and tips geared towards helping your target audience, and the remaining ⅓ should act as self-promotional material.
The best advice for traditional networking applies to digital networking as well. Ask questions, and plenty of them. Make sure they’re open-ended to keep the conversation going. Everyone loves to talk about themselves and asking plenty of questions will help pour a foundation for a meaningful relationship to develop on.
Manners matter, especially in digital networking, where it’s easier to forget there’s an actual human on the other side of the screen. If someone has made an effort to connect with you, let them know you appreciate it. Thank them for giving up a few moments of their day to engage in a conversation.
A thank you doesn’t have to be elaborate, but simply a sincere gesture. A quick email thanking them for their time and mentioning your anticipation to connect again is all it takes to make a lasting impression.
Don’t give up on traditional networking
Yes, digital networking is important and can transform your professional circle. But traditional peer to peer networking is still powerful. As a financial advisor, consider joining a professional group like the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors or the Garrett Planning Network.
Gaining physical access to peers is still a more comfortable scenario for some advisors and the wealth of knowledge that can be gained in such a setting shouldn’t be disregarded.
Potential Digital Networking Pitfalls
Just as mistakes can be made in traditional networking, avoid the following pitfalls when going digital.
Not knowing your audience
Networking, whether digital or traditional, is about making genuine connections. It’s impossible to do this if you don’t understand your audience. Networking helps assert you as an authority, as long as you’re delivering content your audience wants. If you’re not sure what that is, ask!
Successful networking isn’t about who can get the most followers or shares. It’s about finding your online tribe, the ones who appreciate and need your content. Having 10 great connections that could turn into clients down the road is more valuable than having 100 followers with no interest in your posts or services.
Not having a strategy
Your digital networking efforts deserve a plan. Plan out content, make time for personal interaction, and above all, remain consistent. Make digital networking just as important in your schedule as other work-related tasks.
Letting fear hold you back
Digital networking can be intimidating, especially if you prefer meeting peers face to face. But instead of letting fear keep you from embracing digital networking, use it as motivation. The first step might be the hardest, but it’s one you won’t regret.
The advantages of digital networking are impressive. Networkers can connect over oceans with minimal effort. Less time is taken off work for lunches and conferences. Put simply, where traditional networking opens a single door, digital networking opens an entire hallway’s worth of doors.
Digital networking for financial advisors is a call they can’t leave unanswered. As the age old saying goes, your network is your net worth. Don’t limit yours by avoiding the digital side of networking.