How to use social media to expand your reach

If ever there was a time to reach more people on social media, particularly women, about the importance of finance, it’s now.

The latest HILDA survey released on Tuesday reinforced what many financial experts probably already know; Australians have a financial literacy problem, and women know less than men.

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, which asks vital economic questions of 17,000 people, found that financial literacy is lowest among individuals who earn less, are single parent women, and among individuals aged 15 to 24. It then improves on average with age up to the 45 to 54 age group.

Social media is one tool that advisers are increasingly using to help reach and better educate individuals on financial literacy. Not surprisingly a lot of engagement is already coming from women.

According to Christie McDougall, social media strategist from the Online Co, women are predominately the first to react and engage with social media topics on Facebook across a range of industries - particularly finance.

But with so much pressure already on time-poor businesses, how can you use social media to your advantage and what platform is right for you?

It goes without saying that you can hire a social media company to do this for you, and the costs can vary from a few hundred dollars a month to well over $1000 a month, including paying for post advertisements and placements.

Deborah Shaw, head of digital at Chris Hocking Strategies, provides her top ten tips to help advisers expand their reach by taking a do-it-yourself approach to social media.

  1. Spend time understanding who your clients are, the demographics such as age, location, behaviour, requirements, life stage, gender, profession.
  2. Identify which social platforms these potential clients are using, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, and then ensure you have a presence on these.
  3. Make sure your social media presence is honest and credible. Review your bio, image, logos, imagery and contact sections.
  4. Understand what they look at and what they need help with, and then develop and tailor free content towards meeting this need.
  5. Make sure you have a way for people to buy your services or get in touch if they want to take the relationship to the next level.
  6. Produce quality content on your blog that provides commentary on the business of being a financial adviser, or content that speaks directly to the problems your clients are looking for solutions for e.g. where to invest/retire/how much they’ll need in retirement etc.
  7. When using social media engage with people on posts and respond to queries; in other words, be a real human.
  8. Use media coverage, events or functions as springboards to share your content more widely.
  9. Learn about your prospects, clients and competitors.
  10. Share links to financial articles that may be of interest to your specific markets.

From my own personal experience in business and as a journalist, social media is a constantly evolving and self-educating beast.

Once you’ve done the legwork and your social media presence is established, it’s important to be posting regularly to ensure you’re seen, and to be making the most of social tags or hashtags that can expand your reach.

For instance, when the latest HILDA survey was released, you may have created a post, or had a comment that related to that, so you might have included #HILDA on Twitter which would have increased your chances of being seen.

I’ve also found that starting a group can help your following, as can posting on a topical issue.

It’s also important to understand that as social media grows, the platforms such as Facebook are constantly changing their algorithms to ensure they remain commercially strong.

This means that you are more likely to have to pay for posts if you want to ensure that they are seen.

Ms McDougall says if you’re using Facebook and cash flow is an issue for paid posts, it’s better to tailor your audience criteria to ensure you maximize your spend.

She says it’s no use identifying your target audience as the whole of Australia if you are a local based business that needs to just focus on the Sydney metro area.

This means you need to spend time getting your audience profile correct before putting any money behind paid posts.

Like a lot of technology social media can also be addictive, and there really is a lot of work involved in setting yourself up and getting your voice heard or brand seen.

Social media managers such as Hootsuite and Buffer are platforms that provide free options, which allow you to schedule your posts from a computer or on the go your smart phone or tablet.

This means you can write posts and have them set to go live weeks in advance.

It’s a real time saver, and in this day, we all need more of that especially with social media.

Bianca Hartge-Hazelman writes on women’s money matters and is the publisher of and The Women’s Index.

The opinions expressed in this content are those of the author shown, and do not necessarily represent those of No More Practice Education Pty Ltd or its related entities. All content is intended for a professional financial adviser audience only and does not constitute financial advice. To view our full terms and conditions, click here.

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