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Is your reputation at risk?

Reputation is something that as professionals we all work hard to build and then spend most of our adult working life maintaining. It goes to the heart of who we are and how we wish to be perceived by our peers and the people we serve as our clients.
Yet, it constantly surprises me how frequently I see people putting their reputation at risk. As someone who deals in marketing strategy including a digital focus, it can be alarming to see some financial advisers and financial advice businesses who do not recognise the importance of owing and controlling their digital footprint.
Creating a virtual profile is in today’s world a priority not just because we live in an ever growing digital world but it is about owning your voice, your space to engage with people in your way. My observations so far from working and specialising in this field are there are specific roles that advisers and advice participants adopt.
Which one are you when it comes to your digital profile and content?

Social Champion

Mainstream Participant


In a Midwinter Financial Services Survey I worked on in late 2016 and published in 2017, 63.1% of planners surveyed said they employ the use of social media. Having a digital strategy in place seems to drastically effect the use of social media. The majority of advisers with a digital strategy are using social media (73.8%) verses only 44.7% of advisers without a digital strategy using social media.
If you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in five years you won’t be relevant. It is how our network finds us, trusts us, grows with us and celebrates us and we do the same in return. Being invisible is not an option any more, don’t be caught being a wallflower! As the baby boomers continue to move through and Gen X and Y are looking for more NOW advice not advice that is specifically for the future, you will need to be proactively engaging them on their money and lifestyle challenges and experiences. Whether you’re a mainstream participant or being a social champion, be consistent in what you do.
Now more than ever the focus has been placed on content and the vehicles used to deliver that content to your audience. Great content is designed to shut out the white noise of negativity about what financial advice actually is by replacing that noise with a message that is specific to the day to day life of your clients as well as their hopes and dreams.
I recently turned to Facebook to ask the community if they believe reputational risk exists if engaging in social media. Half the participants believe there is no risk; my take on this is that there is a belief that the risk can be mitigated. Whilst someone can leave a bad review or argumentative comment; having a strong relevance and resonance with your community allows them to see past one bad review.
Contributing to social media seems like it’s too hard for most financial advice businesses. Hence why they outsource their digital program or build a strategy to provide guidance to their internal team. I’ve seen great results from team member engagement in contributing to the content funnel but it should always be measured against your strategy.
Recognising that as an industry we are now deploying digital strategy as a way of communicating our key message and engaging our audience. Then this begs the question:

How are you taking care of your digital profile and foot print?

With a wider range of contributors to content in practices today and more and more people out-sourcing, the risk increases on how we protect the one thing that we have worked hard to achieve, reputation. Whilst I most definitely don’t sit in the YES camp in believing there is reputational risk in using social media as part of an overall marketing strategy, I’m also not completely in the NO camp either. Like everything in life we must mitigate the risk so that it is limited, so here are my key tips to manage your reputational risk online:
  • Be in the know and have control (on what digital platforms you are engaged with).
  • Be aware of your content plan (that doesn’t mean you have to manage it).
  • Know the messaging being used (remain connected and authentic).
  • Have a Social Media Policy (ensure it includes a focus on reputational risk).
  • Have a protocol and nominate a go-to person if negative situations arise.
  • Review your content plan and contributors regularly (and hold them accountable).
It’s my belief that often risk is overstated and if you apply good principles and they are implemented, then you shouldn’t live in constant fear of damaging your professional reputation. Most importantly take the leap of faith and join the conversation, you might find that you actually enjoy it!
Do you have a question? Drop me a line and let’s see how I can help you.

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