Today we are sharing a guest blog post from Binh Nguyen, a Senior Account Executive at Flackable, a national, full-service public relations and digital marketing agency headquartered in Philadelphia. Binh leads goal-oriented PR and digital marketing campaigns on behalf of her clients, strategically establishing them as industry newsmakers and thought leaders. Binh’s initiative and people-focused attitude has helped build relationships with media professionals at top national, local and trade publications. Follow Binh on Twitter at @binh_4thewin.
A 2019 survey found that only 29 percent of financial advisory firms are using digital marketing solutions to improve their online presence, yet 43 percent of financial advisors say digital marketing adds value and increases profitability.
Research has also found that 97 percent of consumers search online for local businesses, and 12 percent do it daily. It’s irrefutable that online reputation management is a key component of business success in today’s digital media age.
As younger generations approach their pinnacle earning years, developing and maintaining a strong digital presence is paramount for financial advisors. Although it can seem intimidating to get started, this checklist will make it easier for you to achieve and maintain the strong online reputation you want in order to stand out in today’s changing and competitive financial landscape.
1. Make Sure Your Website Is Being Indexed
Your website is often the first online impression someone has on your business. However, simply having a great site does not necessarily mean prospective clients will land on it. In fact, WordPress, Wix and Squarespace have a setting that, if mistakenly selected, can take you out of Google searches altogether.
Make sure your website setting is not on the “no index” tag. Although sometimes website templates will automatically have this setting marked, this tag informs Google that you do not want to be part of their search index. By having a properly indexed website, your firm will have a more visible presence in online searches.
2. Let Google My Business Expand Your Visibility
Google My Business is an efficient way for local searchers to find your business based on location through tools like Google Maps. The first step to using this free service is to log in to the Google account you want tied to your business and go to google.com/business to get started. After entering all of the information requested and completing the verification process, your digital presence is automatically more advanced.
3. Get Published In All Local Directories
Google is not the only site your business needs to be visible on. Many websites can list your business in local directories, providing your business information to potential clients who are searching for your specific services.
Programs like Moz Local can offer your business with many benefits. First, your location data is verified and accurately confirmed. Then, the data is pushed across to the local search ecosystem. This process takes away some of the control from the hands of Google, allowing other search engines like Bing to find your business.
4. Manage Reviews And Squash Misinformation
According to a survey conducted by Podium, 58 percent of consumers look at online reviews at least weekly, and 93 percent say online reviews have an impact on their decision-making process.
The first step in building credibility through online reviews is to find all of the places where reviews can be located and begin actively managing the reviews. Closely monitoring reviews can be divided into two primary tasks: responding to negative reviews and soliciting positive reviews.
When responding to negative reviews, any factual inaccuracies should be addressed. However, avoid tit-for-tat arguments and opposition. Remember that client experience and satisfaction is of utmost importance.
Financial advisors looking to proactively seek positive reviews should work with their Compliance team to create a compliant system for requesting reviews. Requesting reviews from clients will increase the likelihood of positive feedback, which will help grow your online reputation.
5. Become An Industry Thought Leader
Positive reviews can work heavily in your favor, but they cannot build authority as prominently as thought leadership articles. Having your articles published in outlets that your target audience reads builds third-party credibility, grows your digital footprint and directly establishes you as a thought leader.
Additionally, using a newswire service such as PR Newswire is an effective way of sharing big company announcements. Press releases distributed through a reputable newswire service tend to rank high on Google searches and show up when people search for you. This will help build backlinks to your website, which heightens search visibility and domain authority.
6. Use Social Media To Engage With Your Target Audience
Just as potential clients search reviews regularly to inform their decisions, they comb social media profiles as well. The number one step for optimizing social media profiles is to make certain they are set up with accurate data and in a place where potential clients can search your business.
Investing time and resources in an Instagram profile is unlikely to produce an even return if your primary audience prefers LinkedIn. Social media should be used to engage in two-way communication with followers in discussions where your authority and knowledge can shine through. This is how you can interest potential clients in your value proposition.
Managing Your Online Reputation
Cleaning up your digital presence and taking control of what clients and prospective clients see when they Google you and your firm is the first step in building your online reputation. By getting started with these six simple steps, you can expand your digital footprint and make a positive impression on those who research your firm online.