Social Media

What Is Social Proof? Plus 5 Easy Ways Financial Advisors Can Use It in Their Marketing

What Is Social Proof 5 Strategies for Financial Advisors

Traditionally, referrals were one of the best ways for advisors to receive new clients. After all, who better to recommend a firm than a client? In marketing, social proof works off of a similar approach, but many of its strategies may not have been accessible to advisors in the past.

Luckily, the new SEC Ad rule has opened up many new marketing strategies previously unavailable to advisors. But what is social proof, and how is it used in marketing? Read on to learn more about social proof and to discover 5 easy ways financial advisors can use it in their marketing.

What Is Social Proof?

When uncertain, most people will look to the actions of others for what to do. The more often a response is seen, the more “correct” that action is perceived. In short, this is social proof. In marketing social proof is present in many strategies, typically during the beginning and middle phases of the marketing funnel, when the customer is learning about a product or services. And social proof as a marketing strategy appears in many forms:

  1. The Expert: An experienced mechanic recommending a specific car, a well-known nutritionist supporting a new diet plan, those four dentists that recommended your toothpaste (forget the fifth one). These are all examples of social proof through an expert. It plays off of the expert’s personal experience and education, to help the consumer make a decision.
  2. The Friend: You’re more likely to watch a movie your friend recommends, and it makes sense. After all, they know you better than a stranger. The same goes for products, if you’re unsure of which product to purchase, a friend who is already a customer could be the turning point.
  3. The Crowd: This is all about reviews and user experiences. When we can’t decide between a list of products we typically go for the one that’s higher-rated, especially if there are a good amount of reviews.
  4. The Influencer: This could be a social media influencer or a celebrity. Either way, getting them to promote and genuinely approve of your product will allow you to tap into their audience.
  5. The Media: Not just news outlets, but popular blog sites and social media fall into this category. This is recognition from a trusted and well-known site that has provided a positive review, discussed your product or service or linked to your website.

Provide examples from other brands. At least one for each category.

1. Expert Opinion

We often see expert approval in the form of credentials, professional position or title. Such individuals are assumed to have better knowledge on a product or service than us, so we are more likely to trust their opinion.

But expert opinion doesn’t rely on position or formal education alone. It can come from experience in an industry or even ranking in a Google search result page. It’s all about knowing what you’re talking about and being able to show it.

A great example is from Google’s “Teacher Approved” apps:

Google Teach Approved Apps Screenshot

Parents looking for a way to provide in-home education could take hours digging for different apps. But teachers, who go through years of education, and even more for a credential, are trusted with children’s education. By using a teacher’s seal of approval, Google supports their app list with years of educational knowledge.

How Can Financial Advisors Use This Strategy?

The expert is someone with more education and experience than the average consumer. As an advisor, you already possess this knowledge. Including your qualifications on websites like LinkedIn is a simple act of social proof. But even better yet, displaying your knowledge and opinions through a blog is one of the best ways to leverage this strategy. Not only does it help you become a thought leader in your industry, but a blog also provides other advantages, such as SEO.

2. The Recommendation from a Friend

Referrals from friends and family are common for advisors. After all, it was one of the best ways to receive clients in past. This form of social proof is very effective. After all, we’re inclined to trust those that we know best. Most of these kinds of recommendations occur in one on one conversations, but social media is also an excellent location to find examples:

Advisor Recommendation Social Media Example


How Can Financial Advisors Use This Strategy?

Providing a positive experience to clients is going to be the best way to receive recommendations, advisors know this. But being active on social media also helps the process. Posting knowledgeable content online can improve the perception of non-clients towards your firm, and increase the likelihood of someone pointing their friend in your direction.

3. Reviews from the Crowd

Imagine you do a search for a product and discover over 20 options. What would you do to determine which one to choose? Most searchers will read reviews to help them decide. Reading about other’s experiences can help us determine if a product is best for us, and if the general consensus is that something is not great, then it probably isn’t. There are always outliers, and some reviews aren’t trustworthy, but most searchers are aware of this.

But what do you usually do when searching for reviews? Many websites provide reviews on the product page, but in some cases, you’ll need to do a quick Google search. This is where Google My Business comes in. As a catch-all for reviews and general business information, a Google My Business listing is often one of the first results to appear when searching for a business. These listings are the boxes that appear on the right side of a search result page. For example, here is WealthKeel’s Google My Business listing:

WealthKeel Google My Business Listing Example

How Can Financial Advisors Use This Strategy?

Thanks to the new SEC Ad rule, financial advisors can take advantage of this exact approach and even have a variety of options for acquiring new reviews, as long as their compliance team approves of any new marketing strategies.

4. The Celebrity Shoutout

The celebrity or influencer shoutout accomplishes a few things. It connects a well-known name to your brand, providing their seal of approval and in turn attracting that same celebrity or influencer’s audience. We’ve all seen this to great effect in a variety of industries. And, with an image of Brad Pitt alongside their product, this ad from Chanel provides a perfect example of celebrity social proof:

Celebrity Marketing Overview • Expert Money

How Can Financial Advisors Use This Strategy?

This sort of ad allows customers to identify with a celebrity. And though this ad would be more than difficult for most advisors, there are some things we can pull from it that advisors can leverage. The goal is to connect the influencer or celebrity with a product. For example, if you are writing about investment strategies you could cite a well-known figure as an example of the effects of effective investing. This way the reader, who may know of or identify with this celebrity or influencer, will connect your service to this person.

5. Positive Media Coverage

Media coverage is all about attracting other platforms to cover you, your services or your content. Coverage can come in a variety of ways, from a guest blog to a simple link to your site, the key is drawing the attention of other platforms in and around your industry.

One example of this approach is the articles Advisor Perspectives publishes from Samantha Russel, Chief Evangelist of FMG Suite. Such articles provide positive coverage for FMG Suite and its subsidiary, Twenty Over Ten.

How Can Financial Advisors Use This Strategy?

Creating effective informative and entertaining content, then sharing it on social media, can attract attention to your website. And, if you’re lucky, other websites might use your content as a source, linking directly to it. This is called a backlink, and there are a few strategies you can use to gain more.

Wrapping It Up

By understanding what makes each of these strategies effective you can easily apply them to your own marketing. And whether you use one strategy or multiple, the opportunity to leverage new marketing techniques means more opportunities to grow your firm.

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stuart farst

About The Author

Stuart Farst

Stuart is a Content Marketing Specialist at Twenty Over Ten and enjoys creating content that both entertains and educates. A Game Designer at heart, he can be found pursuing one of his many hobbies during his free time.