Case Study – Social Media in an Advice Business

Two-time AFA Adviser of the Year finalist, Nick Sinclair, has successfully integrated a range of social media channels into his business marketing strategy. Nick shares the challenges he faced as a ‘social sceptic’ and how, using channels like Twitter and Facebook, he has transformed his Wealthfarm business.

At a glance

Provided by: Nick Sinclair
Business name: Wealthfarm
Licensee: Synchron
Business start date: 2004
Head Office location: Southport, Queensland
Number of staff: 24
Social media partner: White Echo (whiteecho.com)

In detail

Background

Nick Sinclair is not afraid to admit that he was a social media sceptic. It wasn’t until one of his clients opened his own consulting business that Nick became interested in using social media in his own firm.

“We were having a beer one afternoon and chatting about how his business was going. To be perfectly honest I didn’t believe that anyone would pay for social media consulting.

“My client said to me: ‘This is how powerful it is, Nick, watch this,’ and sent out a tweet via his mobile phone. It said: I’m having a beer with my financial adviser. He’s changed my financial situation, so happy that I moved to the coast and met him. Within minutes he had three friends who were well within my client profile tweeting back saying they’d been looking for an adviser and asked him to send through my details.

“I picked up on those leads straight away, and it made me think that maybe social media did have some merit.”

Implementation

Nick worked with White Echo (his client’s consultancy firm) to set up a business Twitter and Facebook account, and develop a social media strategy for Wealthfarm. The strategy was two-fold:

  • Generate leads by leveraging the reach of social media
  • Build deeper relationships with existing clients, leading to retention and referrals

Content which is relevant to clients – news on interest rates, economic updates, business and marketing strategies – is posted daily on Twitter and Facebook. Clients can click on the accompanying links to read the full story, or choose to share it with their own followers.

“If you want to increase your profile, and engage more clients, the most cost effective way is through social media. The reach that you have is significant,” says Nick.

By way of example, he tells how in the first few weeks of establishing Wealthfarm’s Facebook page it received 50 ‘likes’. “But those 50 people have their own networks, so that’s the equivalent of 15,000 people who you have reached with your brand.”

Social media also allows Nick to engage with clients on a deeper level than can be achieved through annual client meetings.

“Part of our fact-find process is to determine which social media our clients are active on. We’ll then ask if they’re happy for us to follow them.

“It gives you a deeper level of understanding about your clients. I can see what they’re doing on the weekend, the places they like to eat, what interests them. Most advisers have a certain level of relationship with their clients. They’re never going to increase that unless they engage with social media.”

Measuring success

Wealthfarm receives a report from White Echo each month, tracking how many comments have been received, which articles were the most widely read, and what clicks from social media have flowed through to the Wealthfarm website. This enables both parties to determine which content is engaging clients or prospects, and whether it has resulted in a direct lead.

Nick also receives feedback directly from clients: “They’re telling us in meetings about how they saw a particular article we posted. In fact, some clients that we’ve traditionally serviced over the phone or via email are now only using social media to contact us.”

Wealthfarm has now expanded its social media channels to include Linkedin and YouTube, and is even running workshops on leveraging social media for its small business clients.

Key learnings

With around 3 leads each month attributable to social media, Nick has gone from sceptic to advocate. His advice to others looking to implement a social media strategy for their business is:

  1. Use it consistently and regularly – “People are on social media 24 hours a day. You can miss opportunities if you are not monitoring it regularly. The same goes for negative commentary. If you’re not there to respond it can get out of hand quickly.”
  2. Leverage others’ expertise – “When we broke down the cost to do it in-house versus the cost to outsource it, it was chalk and cheese. It’s a lot easier to outsource it; our partner can monitor our brand across multiple channels 24/7 and notify us immediately if there is a challenge/opportunity.”
  3. Show your personality – “People don’t follow businesses so they can be ‘flogged product’. Share information about people within the business, or if you work with a charity, ask your followers to support it.”
  4. Get involved – “You can be sceptical and not do it, but if you’re trying to market and grow your business you don’t really have a choice. Social media is the new way forward. It’s only going to get bigger.”

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