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Why Is Your Social Media Failing?

This article originally appeared on AdvisorPerspectives on February 22nd, 2023, and can be found here.

The short answer: You are boring.

It sounds harsh, but the number one problem I see when auditing social media accounts for advisors is that people are boring. The content they post is boring. The comments they leave (if they leave any at all) are boring. They have no opinion and show no personality.

As of October 2021, Facebook has 2.89 billion monthly active users. YouTube has 2.29 billion. Instagram has 1.39, LinkedIn has over 600 million and Twitter has over 400 million.

most popular social media networks worldwide

Competing for attention in a sea of posts, articles, and videos can feel daunting for any business owner – especially when you aren’t seeing any results.

Before you write one more social post, take some time to study what gets engagement on social media. What receives the most comments, likes, and reshares? What gets people talking and starts conversations? You can study your feeds, or you can read on – I’ve done the heavy lifting for you.

Five reasons your firm’s social media is not working and how to fix it

1. You don’t engage with others enough

Social media algorithms (which determine which content to show to more users) look at your activity, not just what you post to your page – which means everything you reply to and comment on is taken into consideration when the algorithm is deciding whether or not to show your content in the feed to other users.

Therefore, the more you engage with brands, firms, and individuals in the comments (making sure to reply to every comment that others tag you in or leave on your own posts) the great way to bring activity to your page.

But not just that – you also need to proactively leave comments on other people’s posts, like in this example from Brendan Frazier.

social media comments

Here’s an easy way to make sure you are commenting enough: Follow what I call the "80-20 rule.” For every post on your feed, leave a comment on five other people’s posts.

Why is this so important? Think about it – a person or business you don’t know leaves a comment on your post. What are you most likely to do? Click on their avatar and visit their profile, right? You want to know who this person or company is. Then when you get to their page – you’ll scroll down and see their most recent posts, learning about who they are and what they are all about. This is how you get more profile visitors and grow your following.

starbucks social media example

And remember – if you’ve never commented on a stranger’s post before, then you are doing social media wrong.

Pro tip: When posting, make one of your goals to get as many comments as quickly as possible. Faster comments mean better algorithm calculations.

2. You are boring

As harsh as it may sound, being boring is the leading reason for social media failure. To put it a little nicer – in their quest to remain “professional” and “provide value” most businesses end up being completely unmemorable.

Think about why we go to social media in the first place: To be entertained, to read interesting articles, to see what our friends and peers are up to, to connect with others, to take a mental break during the day – those are some of the top reasons people are drawn to social media.

The average person will scroll right by your article about taxes or what the market did last week. Sure, that might be interesting to you as a financial advisor, but will it be to your target audience?

Of course, if you are using social media for business, you do want to have some informational posts related to the service you provide. What do you do? Let's look at some examples from other advisors that both provide information yet are anything but boring.

dave zoller social media

In this example from Dave Zoller, his post starts out by asking the question, “Can I deduct golfing if I discuss business?” Then goes on to talk about how the weather in Chicago (where Dave’s business is located) is getting warmer, so more business owners are gearing up to hit the links.

What does this post get right?

It grabs the attention of the intended audience (business owners in Chicago) by asking a question that they’ll want to know the answer to.

It uses an emoji to stand out.

It includes a short video in case his audience doesn’t want to read and would rather watch.

It ends with “tag a golfing buddy you can discuss business with,” which gets more people not in Dave’s network to see the post.

Or look at this example from financial advisor Dave Lowell. He posted this at the end of January 2022 when the markets started to slide and everyone was glued to CNBC:

dave lowell social media example

Why does it work so well? It’s easy and fun to read and taps into the emotional roller coaster all investors are feeling at the moment. Also notice that Dave doesn’t link out to any blog post, podcast, or another piece of content. His post is the content. This is a huge mistake I see – people think that everything they post should link out to their website, blog, etc. But social media sites want to keep users on their own platforms as much as possible, and sometimes prioritize content that keeps people on their apps over content that pushes people out.

Pro tip: Make every third post a stand-alone post that doesn’t link out to anything.

3. You don’t use the “what’s in it for me?” mindset

I love this quote from Matthew Kobach: “Social media works just like real life: Talk mostly about interesting things and people will listen to you. Talk mostly about yourself and people will ignore you.”No one cares what you can do. Everyone cares what you can do for them. As human beings, we all consume messages with a "WIIFM" (What is in it for me?) mindset.

If you start your posts by talking all about your firm, your services, and your great new podcast episode or video, people will scroll right by.

copywriting tip for ads

Instead, what’s in it for the person who stops to read, watch or listen? What will they learn? Why should they care? You need to catch the attention of the person scrolling – then you need to keep them hooked with the content of the post.

Pro tip: Don’t start posts with “I”, “My” or “We” very often. Make it all about the reader by using “You” instead.

Example: Instead of, “My latest blog post covers everything you need to know about the recent market correction,” write, “Does all this market volatility have you questioning the allocations of your current portfolio? Ask yourself these five questions to see if you should rebalance.”

4. You never get personal

Sharing your personality on social media is not just a way to connect with potential clients, but a method of standing out in the sea of posts whizzing by every day.

Ask almost anyone what their best performing social media post has been, and they’ll say something along the lines of the following: “When I announced the birth of our new baby” or “When I posted a photo of our family at the holidays.”This isn’t rocket science. We are human beings, and we crave social interaction and connection. It’s far more attention-grabbing and interesting to see a photo of your colleague’s new baby than to see their latest blog post on the markets.

It's called social media for a reason. Most people get the media part. They share links back to their website, blog, or podcast. But they forget about the social part.

And what drives social interactions? What makes us feel a connection with another human being? It all comes down to sharing personal information. I share something about myself, you listen, and in return, you share something about yourself. And slowly we start to build a rapport – to care about how things are going for each other.

The best social media profiles do this. Here’s a recent example from my own LinkedIn page. I announced the birth of my third baby, Teddy, and it got 6 times the engagement of my average posts.

samantha russell youtube

And because social media algorithms show popular content to not just your own network – but to second and third-degree connections you have as well – it impacts how many people see the piece and click over to your profile. Here’s the spike I saw in profile views on Linkedin just days after posting the video.

impact of video on social media

5. You have no opinion

Everyone wants to be known as a thought leader, but no one wants to share an opinion that others will criticize or disagree with.

If everything you post is a statement that everyone else already agrees with, then you’re not a thought leader, you're a thought follower.

Content that engages is content that makes us think. That elicits emotion. That drives conversation and debate. That’s why it’s so important on social media to have a voice and opinion. For example – lately, there have been very heated debates about fees advisors charge and what is appropriate or even ethical to charge. Advisor John Stoj posted this Twitter thread with a firm opinion and it quickly garnered tons of responses and started a lively conversation.

john stoj social media example

Here's another great example from Kristin Shea:

kristin shea social media example

Pro tip: Ask any PR person or journalist the best way to get quoted in pieces and they’ll tell you – have an opinion or take on a current event that is different from what everyone else is going to say.

Don’t be afraid to engage

Don’t be scared to engage, to show personality, and to stop being so “buttoned-up” and professional. Remember these five simple rules: engage with others, don’t be boring, use attention grabbers, don’t be afraid to be personal, and have an opinion.