Clients are using social tools to connect, share and explore the world in increasingly greater numbers. Last year, Fidelity Investments, in its annual survey of American millionaires, found that more than a third (34%) of today’s millionaires are using social media professionally and 85% are using it for personal reasons. Online and mobile social connectivity is now fully integrated into the modern way of life for your clients. If it is important to clients, it should be important to advisors, says Mike Langford, senior social business strategist at Socialware. Langford spoke to Financial Planning about a few main reasons why advisors should start connecting with their clients through social media:

Q: Where is the value to the wealth manager in using social media and being active on social networks?

A: Below are a handful of reasons why you should connect with your clients via social networks and become an active producer of social media.

  • They are sharing photos, videos and other updates about their family. One of the primary goals of the wealthy is to provide long-term security for their family. The more you know about a client’s family and the more familiar his family members are with you, the more likely you are to serve their needs to the fullest now and for generations to come.
  • They are sharing their life passions. It is likely common during the on-boarding of a new client relationship for you ask questions about a client’s passions. The logic being that you want to connect their dream life to the services you provide. Connecting with your clients via social networks allows you to have a profound level of insight into where their passions truly lie.
  • They are actively seeking information and solutions through their networks. In the “old days” one turned to his or her Rolodex and the Yellow Pages to find a solution to most challenges. Google came along and made finding information easier and tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have made checking ones Rolodex about as common as typing a letter on a Smith-Corona typewriter. Connecting with your clients puts you at the forefront of their new go to resource.
  • They are discovering new things as a result of what members of their network share.  Your wealthy clients are human too, they are looking for new experiences, new products and even new friends. Social makes this process much easier than ever before. You have the opportunity to be the person who brings new richness to your client’s life by sharing the new things you discover and new places you find and connecting them with interesting people.

I speak frequently on the topic of social media usage by financial professionals. One thing I make a point of saying each time I am on stage is this is our e-commerce moment. Think back to what the rise of e-commerce did to any and all transaction based business. was mocked and derided for years on end but a decade later it is one of the most powerful retailers in the world. And now we have the rise of social media and social networks. What impact do you think these technologies will have on relationship-based businesses like yours?
As a takeaway, I urge you explore how your clients are using social media. You can ask them directly, send them an email or spend and hour poking around on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter on your own. What you find will likely surprise you and hopefully create a sense of urgency within you to become more social yourself.