By 2030, millennials and Gen Xers will account for around 75% of the U.S. workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And by that time, Gen Z and the still-nascent Gen Alpha (today’s one to 12 year olds) will also be swelling the ranks of workers born after 1980.
If the prospect a new “gen” doesn’t drive home the need to connect with younger prospective clients via social and other online media, consider that more than than 90% of millennials begin any sort of online engagement with a Google search, according to Zero Gravity Marketing, and around 50% of Gen Zers view social media as their primary daily source of news. About 25% of them look to social media for financial insights, according to Statista.
With these points in view, I offer wealth managers and marketers a five-point social media plan for engaging digitally with next-gen clients.
Conduct ongoing social media audits. First, review your brand guidelines and existing digital marketing presence to understand where you have, don’t have, and should have a strong foundation when it comes to connecting with Next-Gens. Be aware that different social media brands cater to different demographics and they shift over time. For example, Facebook and LinkedIn tend to skew older, whereas under-40-somethings outnumber older users in platforms like Instagram and Snapchat . Pinterest attracts a broad range of ages.
Re-audit your digital presence at regular intervals to ensure you’re up to date and in compliance with new best practices, platform changes, performance insights, and brand updates.
Leverage timing. Build an editorial calendar—a list of topics you’d like to cover over time—that highlights your practice’s selling points. Then plan your social media output for the next month. As you implement that plan, gauge the responses of the Next-Gen audience and adjust accordingly. It’s important to post regularly and, perhaps even more importantly, consistently. If you post twice a week, do so on the same two weekdays and monitor results. Embrace experimentation: Are Tuesday mornings best for dropping thought-leadership pieces? Do photo submissions resonate better on Friday afternoons? Keep track of your actions and stay open to making incremental tweaks.
Establish credibility. Building on your audits, use your online presence to engage with the Next-Gens by liking and commenting on posts and responding to questions. Make sure any sources you cite are accurate and appropriately reflect your message and values. Make your posts site-appropriate by using, for example, Facebook or Instagram for vacation updates or seasonal greetings, Twitter for sharing quick insights, and LinkedIn for thought leadership.
In addition to creating posts, make a habit of engaging with appropriate third-party social-media content to showcase your firm’s brand and offerings.
Highlight and reinforce your firm’s insights and specialties on forums like YouTube and Instagram for guidance on financial planning, and LinkedIn for thought leadership. We have found that Next-Gen prospects respond well to insights around ESG investing, workplace diversity, and inclusion.
Humanize your brand. More so than their elders, Next-Gens expect a more personalized experience on social media. Show them who you and your colleagues are by regularly posting photographs and updates of family activities as well as posts on your firm’s fun and worthwhile extracurricular activities. That could include team sports, pro bono work, and community engagement. This makes your firm more relatable, especially to younger prospects who enjoy seeing active demonstrations of the company culture.
Don’t forget video. Video rules the internet, accounting for 82% of traffic, according to the trade publication Streaming Media. When making videos for social media keep in mind that authenticity trumps perfection. An accidental stain on your shirt, a few hairs out of place, and the odd rambunctious toddler or pet making a cameo appearance aren’t deal-breakers. Do, however, keep your background uncluttered, place your camera between you and the light source, and in most cases use landscape mode (wider rather than high). As far as picture quality goes, your smartphone camera on a desktop stand will usually do the trick.
Overall, finding the best approach to social media is a process of trial and error. Wording, frequency, and release schedules take time to get right—even for experienced social-media marketers.
Gordon Abel is chief marketing officer and head of D&I at Dynasty Financial Partners, where he is responsible for strategic brand architecture and marketing development. Abel joined Dynasty from Google where he oversaw enterprise relationships with leading financial services firms. Prior to this role, he held executive marketing roles at JPMorgan, Chase, and BlackRock.