The black art that is Social Media.

Free, easy and immediate access to an enormous pool of new clients — isn’t that what every profession is waiting for? Yes, and we still are, and indeed will be for the foreseeable. Truth is, that Social Media (SM) is not the promised land it’s touted to be, not as far as the professions are concerned, it isn’t.

The pressure on financial advisers to plug in to SM is enormous, yet take up is slow, dead slow. But why is that? Why are IFAs holding back in their droves? Could it be the feeling that SM is not quite as right for advisers as it is for the other professions or service sectors?

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Millions of people, ‘engaging’ with millions of other people, uploading millions of images and writing about millions of subjects, every second of every day — that’s what Social Media (SM) is. In other words, it’s huge, disparate and amorphous; it has no beginning, middle or end and as such, is difficult to get a grip of. Plus of course, SM revolves around some peoples’ least favourite subject — technology and the digital kind at that.

Given the clamour, it’s no wonder that advisers are concerned about missing the boat. But which boat, sailing where? Free it isn't!

Some people think that SM is marketing for nothing, it isn’t — not if you value your time, it isn’t.


Unambiguous, objective and straightforward advice is hard to find. Chancers, geeks and evangelists abound and do little to clarify. SM experts talk about ‘brand advocates’, pull rather than push marketing, creating and nurturing relationships and how ‘crucial SM is in the modern marketplace’ (whatever that means).

Reality: SM is more appropriate, effective and worthwhile for some businesses than others.

Most people have neither the time nor the inclination to engage with the brands, products or services they like and buy. Even though they can make life easier, few of us have any interest in interacting with the manufacturers of dull and purely functional things such as spark plugs, baked beans, plastic bags or life insurance for example. Whereas companies in the travel, fashion, hospitality and entertainment industries — commodities that make a statement about you as a person — can find it easier and more natural to connect with customers via SM.

But there's no ignoring the fact that clients are using online resources to find out what their options are and gain a better understanding of issues relating to their personal finances and financial planning. The question is: how worthwhile is it for an IFA to plug in to SM?

On the positive side, SM...
Contact: Terence Martin +44 (0)1227 656027 +44 (0)7740 422755