Guest Post--Nathan Yates: Facebook Ad-Visors

An important step in developing your content marketing strategy is sharing and spending time where your clients and prospective clients are. So far, Facebook has been a platform I've used sparingly. RLS Wealth Management has a business page, but I've halted posting to it regularly. For me, I viewed Facebook as a hub for communication for existing clients--I have yet to pursue using Facebook to reach prospective clients.

I haven't avoided Facebook for business growth because I don't think it work; I've talked to numerous financial advisors who have had success using Facebook and Facebook Ads to grow their business, but I haven't taken the time to really figure it out. Since I don't know the ins and outs of FB, I decided to have my first-ever guest post.

If you're active on Twitter, there's a good chance you know Nathan Yates, but if you have not discovered the FinTwit Community yet, Nathan is the Founder of ForwardView Consulting where he and his team handle everything from design work to marketing, which includes Facebook campaigns for his clients. He is more than qualified to share some basic and actionable information that can jump start your Facebook campaign.

Here's how Nathan believes financial advisors can leverage Facebook to grow their business:

Financial advisors have many media channels available to them, and ads can be placed almost anywhere these days, both online and offline. In my experience as a digital marketer, however, I find that advisors are underutilizing social media advertising. There are many reasons to start advertising through social media, though. Facebook, as the largest social network, is the logical place to initiate your social sales strategy. With a modest budget, you can start to develop your Facebook prospect pipeline in five easy steps:

1. Create a business Facebook page (if you haven’t already)

It might sound obvious, but you need a free Facebook account for your firm before you start advertising. You can’t advertise a “friendable” personal Facebook page nor should you use a personal account that has the name of your business. That is tacky, pure and simple. It’s also incredibly limiting because personal profiles won’t list your firm’s website address, phone number, or location. Remember that personal Facebook pages are “friended” and business pages are “liked.” Before you start advertising, make a few posts on your firm’s Facebook page to make it look active, too.

2. Decide upon your ad budget

You can begin with a single $5 Facebook ad, but I recommend allocating more money than that. I can typically reach people through Facebook ads for $0.01–$0.02 each, although financial advisors will see lower ROIs than other businesses. Why? People frequently like and share ads for restaurants and retailers, giving those ads free additional exposure. Financial ads almost never go viral, but paying even $0.02–$0.03 per viewer is still very reasonable. If you want to reach 10K people every month, plan to spend $200–$300. You don’t need to spend it all on one ad, though.

3. Determine who you want to target

Facebook requires that every ad have a target audience of at least 35K people, unless you only advertise to people within a certain distance from your business and add no other parameters. (Note that having a target audience of > 35K people doesn’t require you to pay enough to reach everyone in the audience.) Financial advisors should, in general, add multiple audience parameters, such as location, educational level, and even occupation. The goal should be to refine your target audience until it closely matches your current clientele or represents your ideal client profile. You’ll tweak your audience over time and will likely create multiple audiences to reach different groups.

4. Write your ad copy and design or acquire your creative

I don’t recommend text-only ads because they’re unlikely to garner significant attention online. You’ll want an eye-catching visual to build around. Facebook has stock images available for advertising use, or you can locate stock photos (and even videos) elsewhere. Alternatively, create a social media graphic using Canva or hire a graphic designer to create custom ad creative. Just remember that Facebook will reject visuals with a lot of text. Don’t write a few sentences and overlay them on a photo! Keep most of your ad copy as text typed in the area Facebook provides. I suggest brief ad copy as long as you include a link to your website so ad viewers can learn more about your firm. Very few people will schedule an appointment with you simply because of a Facebook ad! Drive prospects to your website with a call to action (CTA) in the ad.

5. Monitor ad performance and invite people who like the ad to follow your Facebook page

Financial advisors, who are already fluent with data and charts, will find Facebook’s analytics to be very beneficial. Ads generate data that you can use to improve and fine-tune your marketing, both inside and outside of Facebook. Your first ad won’t be your most successful one, but you’ll increase your ROI by reviewing the analytics for each campaign and adjusting your future ads based on the results. Remember to click/tap to see who liked your ad and then invite them to like your page.

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In summary, Facebook ads deserve to be in a financial advisor’s marketing toolbox. Facebook ads are flexible, budget-friendly, and reach people in an unobtrusive format. Compliance should not be a problem, either, as long as you adhere to essential rules of the regulatory road: Don’t include reviews, don’t over-promise returns, and don’t recommend specific investments. Your ads should connect viewers to your website (especially your blog page) or offer a free initial consultation. I have also found that ads for events, such as a seminar on tax planning or a presentation on college savings accounts, are very effective. (For potential high net worth clients, use ads that focus on the social aspects of an “exclusive event” and don’t forget to offer appetizers, too.) Mix different types of ads and offers together to attract a diverse clientele, and enjoy the opportunity to engage people in a fresh way!

It's Justin again, I want to thank Nathan for helping me fill a void in my content marketing knowledge. For the right advisor and firm, Facebook provides a tremendous opportunity to do targeted ad campaigns. I imagine it will take some time to fine-tune your targeted audience, but as we all know Facebook knows A LOT about us and can really help advisors get very specific with the audience they market to.

Just like anything content marketing related--this approach may not be right for everyone, but for those who determine it is right need to remember it's a long game and it will take time for your efforts to pay off.

Be sure to give Nathan a follow:

Twitter: @FVNate

ForwardView Consulting