You may have this image in your head of Instagram as a photo-sharing platform that the “kids these days” are into; however, it’s much more than that. In fact, it can be a powerful tool for financial advisors and should absolutely be part of your Marketing Plan. Read Social Media Marketing Secrets for Financial Advisors.
According to Ryan Neal, about 70 percent of Instagram’s 1 billion users are under 35 — a demographic typically untouched by financial advisors. However, there are high earning professionals who could be a good match for your advisory firm. And, let’s face it, you DO want to attract clients under the age of 70!
Getting the hang of using Instagram as a powerful marketing tool won’t be easy. But with a little bit of preparation and thoughtful execution, Instagram can become one of your favorite business marketing tools. Read on below to learn how to make Instagram work for you.
What Are Some Instagram Myths?
Instagram Is Like Any Other Platform
Instagram is, in fact, not like any other platform. The format of content on Instagram is so wildly different from — say — LinkedIn, that you won’t be able to recycle (copy-paste) content from one of your social media accounts to Instagram. Keep this in mind as you create your Instagram content.
Instagram Is About Food & Selfies
There’s much more to Instagram than just food and selfies. Several major companies, including financial firm UBS, use Instagram to connect with a demographic they never tapped into before.
Financial Advisors Can Only Post About Investments
You don’t need to post content strictly related to investments, financial planning, or your business operations on Instagram. You can be creative with your posts and show your financial advisory firm in a different light. If, for example, you’re enthusiastic about volunteering in your free time, then post about it. If you’re having an event, post about it. If you make a new hire, post about it. Allow your clients to get to know you and your firm.
Why Should Financial Advisors Use Instagram?
When used correctly, Instagram offers several benefits to financial advisors. (Be sure to check with compliance prior to embarking on this journey!)
Since you’ll be using Instagram as a marketing platform, you’ll need a thorough marketing strategy — even if it’s only you managing the account. According to Instagram, 81 percent of users believe Instagram helps them research products and services; thus, you’re going to want to stay active on the platform to reach more potential clients.
Continue reading for some tips on how to make Instagram work for you.
How Do I Make an Instagram Account?
Here are the steps for financial advisors to use Instagram and set up an account for your business:
- To start, you’re going to need to download the Instagram app for your Android or iOS device.
- Open the Instagram app and hit the sign-up button.
- Type your email address.
- Choose a username and password.
That’s it! You’ve created an Instagram account. Now, you’re going to need to convert that personal account to a business account. Here’s how:
- From your profile, tap the menu button in the upper-right corner of your screen.
- Tap the settings button.
- Tap the account button.
- Choose the business option.
- Choose your business category and add the contact details of your business.
How Can Financial Advisors Reach Clients on Instagram?
Setup Your Profile
Now that you’ve created an Instagram business account, you’re going to need to take some time to fix up your profile.
Instagram adds new settings and features all the time, so it doesn’t hurt to come back to this step once in a while to make sure you’re not missing out on any new profile features.
Here are a few quick things you should run by in your profile settings:
- Business categories
- Business hours
- Business locations
- Contact method
- Profile pic
Optimize Your Bio Link
Ideally, your marketing should run on the hub-and-spoke model. This means that you have your hub (website) and several spokes (social media accounts) that lead back to the hub.
Instagram allows you to add links to your bio so you can easily redirect people visiting your Instagram account to a different page. Ideally, you should set the link in your bio as your personal website or the website of your financial advisory firm. Then, whenever you post something new on Instagram, you can have the caption urge visitors to check the link in your bio for more info.
Geotag Your Posts
If you’re sending out a post from your office or wherever your business operates from, be sure to add the location to the post. If you didn’t do this while initially posting, you can always go back to the post and edit it.
You may be wondering why it’s important to geotag. Instagram bunches up all posts tagged from one location together and sorts them according to top posts or recent posts. If you (and hopefully your clients) send out fun or informative posts tagged at your business location, it’ll build awareness on Instagram surrounding your brand.
Use Instagram’s Save Post Feature
This strategy doesn’t directly affect how you interact with clients on Instagram, but it could help your Instagram marketing strategy.
Instagram allows you to save a post and sort them into a collection for you — and only you — to view later. Though you don’t need to sort these saved posts into collections, doing so will make it easier to find what you’re looking for later on.
You can use this feature for research and inspiration. Here are some collection ideas you may want to try out:
- Ideas for future posts
- Great captions you could adapt to your own content
- Visual and aesthetic inspiration for future posts
- Competitors’ posts
Use the Stories Highlights feature of Instagram to showcase what your business is all about and share more information about your services as a financial advisor.
Stories usually disappear after 24 hours. Highlights make stories available on your profile permanently and compile these stories into categories.
With Stories Highlights, you’re going to want to post evergreen (timeless) content. Here are some basic Highlights categories you can create:
- About. You can post info about yourself, your business, your values, your mission, etc.
- Locations. If you work out of different locations, talk about each one and share photos taken from each location.
- FAQs. As the acronym implies, you can list here frequently asked questions and their answers. This will save you a lot of time when responding to customers since you can simply invite them to refer to your FAQs Highlight.
- Services. You can list in this section the various services you provide as a financial advisor.
Post at the Right Times
Aside from the content of your posts, it’s also important to consider what are the ideal posting times that will allow you to reach your target demographic.
To get started, you can do a little trial and error. Try posting at different times of the day and days of the week to see which posts got the most engagement.
If you don’t trust your gut and would rather depend on cold hard data, you can use the analytics tool built into Instagram. You can find this under the Followers section.
Finally, it helps to know who your ideal clients are. When do your clients wake up? When do they get off work? Do they work from nine to five? When are they most likely to check Instagram?
Hop on the Bandwagon
When appropriate, you can align your content with trending hashtags or topics. This can improve your account’s discoverability and boost engagement. Just try not to force it; keep it natural.
For example, you can ride the holiday wave. If it’s the Christmas season, you can post a holiday greeting from you and your team near a Christmas tree. Or, you can take part in one of the so-called “hashtag holidays,” such as #NationalCoffeeDay (October 1).
Mark relevant events in your planner so you can brainstorm and prepare high-quality content well in advance.
Remember to join the bandwagon in a thoughtful way. When in doubt, take a step back and ask yourself whether your target demographic actually pays attention to and is interested in the trend.
Leave a Good Impression
With blogs, visitors typically peruse already existing content on blog websites. But with Instagram, most users don’t follow accounts for past content. Instead, they follow accounts because they believe high-quality content will be posted in the future. Your audience wants to know what’s in it for them if they follow your account.
I advise my financial advisor clients to create a monthly theme for Instagram Posts
It’s best to have an Instagram feed with a consistent theme and stick to a consistent posting schedule. Consistency is as important — if not more important — than all the other tips we’ve discussed so far. Even the simplest of patterns can entice a visitor, as long as it’s evident at first glance to anyone who lands on your Instagram account.
Think of your Instagram bio and your last nine posts as your first impression on the platform. The last nine posts are the posts anyone can see on the app without having to scroll further down.
Do your bio and last nine posts follow a theme consistently? Are you keeping your posts exciting? How often between each post? These are just a few of the many questions you’ll need to ask yourself when evaluating your profile’s first impression.
The layout of your last nine posts is an often overlooked way to get creative with the theme of your feed while adding a sort of “rhythm” and consistency to your publishing strategy. It’s a combination of these elements that entice followers.
If you’re the only person running the Instagram account of your financial advisory firm, it becomes even more important to focus your efforts on your bio and last nine posts. Doing so will allow you to focus on what makes the most significant impact on potential followers of your Instagram account; thus, you won’t be wasting time making an effort to focus on things that don’t really contribute to your following.
Use Canva Images on Instagram
What is Canva? It is a website where you can create images for your monthly themes for Instragram. Believe it or not, we are ALL visual people, so having exciting visuals to back up your monthly themes is a great idea to get attention. Instagram would not be Instagram without images.
So, create your monthly themes and stick with the same image, but change up the captions and content on the image. See this post I wrote about Canva.
Today, Instagram is much more than a teenager’s social networking platform of choice. It’s a business tool that allows you to share content with potential clients in a graphics-focused format. Now that you know how to use Instagram as a marketing tool, you’ll be able to reach people you never thought you could.