When prospective clients look for your firm online, are they going to be able to find you? One of the challenges you face as an independent financial advisor is the need to create a strong online presence for yourself and your brokerage. It’s not enough to have great marketing materials or even a satisfied client who sings your praises; in today’s digitally connected society, it’s almost guaranteed that any prospective client is going to look you and your firm up online before entering into a business relationship with you. If your firm is an Internet no-show, these prospects are going to take their investments elsewhere, convinced that there are serious doubts about your credibility and the legitimacy of your business. Knowing how to create a strong online presence for your independent firm is not just important, it is absolutely essential for your ongoing success.
Google yourself and your firm
It’s important to see what strangers will find when looking up your firm online. Google skews results to suit your established preferences, so the best way to do an accurate search is to run it on someone else’s computer. If you can’t do that, at least log out of your social media accounts, restart your browser then Google your name and the name of your independent firm.
Does your website appear in one of the first few listings? Is your name clearly identified as an independent advisor with your own brokerage firm, or are you still linked to a former agency? Is your LinkedIn profile in a prominent place as one of the top results, with links to your awards and articles?
Check to see if your social media accounts appear, along with some client-friendly blogs attached to your independent brokerage website. Carefully note any discrepancies, bad links, and out of date information you need to correct.
Claim your business listings
Claiming your business listings around the web is an important step in getting found online. You will need to make sure all addresses are consistent so they accurately portray pertinent information about your brokerage. If you are listed at your former brokerage in some listings, by a nickname in others, or have a temporary address elsewhere, it will lower your search rank, scatter results, and seriously undercut the legitimacy of your firm.
Update your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn provides financial advisors with a fast and reliable way to start establishing a strong online presence. Make sure you have completed your LinkedIn profile and check that it is updated with your current information and linked to your independent brokerage firm through your website, blog, and social media accounts. When you have a few minutes, take the time to start building your network of contacts, participate in industry groups, and engage in discussions on financial forums. Actively participating on LinkedIn will go a long way towards establishing your brokerage as a legitimate, respectable, and ongoing business concern.
Establishing the online legitimacy of your independent brokerage firm is not something you can do in an afternoon. It will take some time to build your brand, but by taking these steps now you can ensure that prospective clients will begin finding your brokerage online as a recognizable, legitimate business as soon as possible.
Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group, RCS Capital Corporation’s (NYSE: RCAP) retail investment advice platform.
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