Are you a financial services company? Should you care about your online reputation? Why? Asset managers are not selected based on proximity to one’s home or office, rather based almost exclusively on reputation and referrals. A good reputation will typically generate strong referrals. While traditional word of mouth referrals are not extinct, online reputation generated from references and experiences is becoming increasingly key in manager selection.
A good online reputation filled with positive reviews is more likely to result in warm leads and potential new clients.
According to Forbes, 42% of U.S. adults look someone up before doing business with him or her.
As Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation.com said, “Word of mouth has given way to word of review”. Nearly everyone conducts online research before spending on any product or service. Consumers interested in a financial advisor will conduct even deeper research and will most certainly not invest with an advisor who has negative reviews.
The first step is knowing what your clients are saying about you. Do reviews about your service exist and how many are positive or negative. Knowing what’s at stake, building and maintaining a strong positive online footprint must be a priority.
Secondly, have you claimed your business name with Google? It is imperative to do so in order to ensure high rankings on search engines. In addition to that, register with relevant social media sites and be sure to monitor activity and stay active and engaged on social media platforms.
Set up alerts to enable you to monitor your reputation. This means that you will be notified anytime your business name is used – good or bad. If a negative review is posted, be sure to craft a careful and thoughtful response before reacting. It is a good idea to respond to every review, positive or not.
Be genuine and ask your clients if they are willing to post reviews about their experiences or your services and feature those glowing ones!
An online presence has made it easy to communicate information. If you aren’t already offering interesting and useful information via blogs and on social media then you could be losing valuable opportunities to expand your online presence. Don’t shy away from the option to be a guest blogger!
Establish your presence as an expert on your subject. Use the SlideShare feature on LinkedIn, participate in content worthy groups and share your insight as a thought leader in your field.
Chances are, you are too busy to attend to the tips included here and more. Consider hiring an online reputation management specialist. As a financial advisor, one of the most valuable pieces of advice you likely convey is patience. Remember, the same applies to social media management. Be patient with your online management specialist, ask for monthly reports, stay on top of your reviews, design a good online strategy and you will boost your results. You may not be able to get clients, but you will build goodwill.
Public figures are no longer the only ones who have to worry about negative publicity; anyone can fall victim to online smears, even if those complaints have little or no merit. Advisors are no exception. Regardless of online reports or complaints are misleading, inaccurate or unfair, they can still create a lingering doubt in the minds of potential clients.