Last month the SEC continued its crawl towards contemporary communications guidelines for investment advisors by allowing the use of third-party social media endorsements. The new guidelines prohibit advisors from cherry-picking endorsements, meaning they may only accept testimonials from sites that allow both positive and negative reviews. For example, advisors are still barred from accepting LinkedIn recommendations from clients since they are able to filter which ones are visible, but they are allowed to post comments from independent review sites, such as Angie’s List, as long as they publish all the comments without altering or removing any of them. This change highlights the importance, and scarcity, of third-party credibility within the advisor space. As regulation slowly adapts to the digital age, it is important to consider the three reasons why it is crucial for advisors to establish and leverage third-party credibility through public relations, digital relations and integrated marketing.
Legitimizing your brand
An earned media placement, such as being quoted as an expert in a news article, can have a powerful impact on your brand. Some readers will interpret it as an endorsement from the publication, and in some ways it is. It shows that the publication views you as a knowledgeable and credible source. Aligning with reputable news outlets in that fashion can have a lasting impact. Prospective clients will come across those articles in Google searches while researching your business, providing boosted credibility that will separate you from the competition and ultimately expand your sales pipeline.
Social media has created a new playing field for developing trust and credibility among target publics. It creates opportunities to leverage owned media, such as a company blog post, along with earned media and the credibility that comes with it. Engaging new and existing audiences through these platforms creates trust and familiarity that will thrust your brand ahead of late adopters in the advisor space. Digital relations is a budding prospecting method for savvy advisors, and those who are able to effectively develop trust on the web will see their business boom as they engage a new generation of potential clients.
Advisors should consider a comprehensive approach to earning and leveraging third-party credibility to expand their brand visibility through public relations, digital relations and integrated marketing. Earning this credibility involves forging relationships with groups and individuals who can publically recommend you (compliant with the new SEC guidelines) along with key influencers in digital and traditional media. Embrace social media and technology to further funnel your third-party credibility to clients, prospects, business associates and other key publics. Finally, utilize resources like your email list, website and sales kit to leverage your earned credibility while opening the door to new business opportunities.