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Financial industry news and events for RIAs.

6 min read

No Time to Waste – How RIAs can Leverage Social Media Ahead of the Great Wealth Transfer

Aug 1, 2022 11:48:06 AM

Connect with the next-gen, establish relationships with centers of influence, and build your brand.

The great wealth transfer is underway. Cerulli Associates anticipates that $72.6 trillion in assets will be transferred to heirs before 2045.1 The challenge for advisors? Winning the business of those heirs.

When RIAs consider establishing relationships with next-generation clients, it can be challenging to figure out where to begin. Many may start by engaging with clients’ children – a great way to maintain multi-generational clients.

But what about finding new clients outside of those existing relationships? How can advisors source these younger prospects with high growth potential?

Suppose an advisor mostly serves clients nearing retirement and has historically relied on referrals to grow their client-base. In that case, it’s unlikely that these aging investors will have referrals to this next generation of clients outside of their children and grandchildren. With that in mind, it may be time for advisors to bring another tool into their growth arsenal: social media.

Social Media – More than a “Nice-to-Have”

Social media usage has gained some real traction among financial advisors in recent years. In fact, as of 2019, 72% of U.S. financial advisors used LinkedIn for business, 62% used Facebook and 52% used Twitter.2

While a majority of advisors are using social media in some capacity, it’s rare for these firms to use the platforms to their full potential.

Social profiles may be where prospective clients first learn about a firm. A recent study from Harvard Funds found that almost 50% of investors say that social media impacts whom they hire as a financial professional. Additionally, 23% of Gen Z investors responded that they wouldn’t even consider talking to a financial professional if they didn’t have a social media presence.3

With thousands of RIAs nationwide, it can be hard for investors to tell the firms apart. Without a sound online presence, it can be difficult for these investors to get a clear picture of what advisor A can do for them that advisor B cannot.

Social media can be an outlet for those RIAs to share what makes them unique – whether that’s deep experience in a specific subject matter, a long-history of serving a particular niche, or a spotlight on the advisor’s team and how they work hand-in-hand with clients.

Using social media to promote those differentiators can make a big difference when prospects are looking for their next provider. These RIAs can show off the power of their team, the benefits of their RIA technology, and how they leverage the latest tech from their custodial service provider. These factors can help an advisory firm stand out from the crowd and could ultimately lead to a prospect reaching out for an intro conversation.


Finding Centers of Influence is More than just Sliding into DM’s

On top of building a stronger online presence for next generation prospects, social media can be a tool for RIAs to find and establish relationships with centers of influence.

How can RIAs get started? Consider publishing and sharing articles or videos on social media. These can focus on timely topics impacting investors. Perhaps major global factors like market volatility, or more targeted topics relating to the types of clients the RIA serves.

Take, for example, an RIA that has deep experience serving professional athletes. The advisor can consider publishing content focusing on points like tax considerations when signing a contract, putting money to work after an early retirement, or ways to invest a nest egg for the long-term.

On top of publishing this content, these RIAs should look to follow and connect with other service providers that work with professional athletes – groups like law firms and accountants. Take some time to review what those firms are posting on social media. Are they sharing their own insights into the challenges facing this group? If so, the advisor can consider commenting on those posts and engaging with that community.

RIAs should ask themselves – what can I add to that conversation? What are they not talking about that I could bring to the table?

While this may not lead to an immediate relationship, it’s a start. In addition to commenting, advisors should consider sending these firms a direct message, explaining who they are and what they do. The advisor can talk about the content that firm is posting, and how the RIA looks to serve the same group with a different kind of service.

Without even stepping out of the office, an advisor can establish relationships with these centers of influence.

Moving Beyond Social Media, Connecting IRL (in real life)

If these centers of influence operate in the same community as the RIA, the advisor should consider meeting with that firm in-person to discuss how the teams can work together on a referral basis. Perhaps there is even an opportunity to co-host an event or run a joint online webinar.

Establishing these referrals with centers of influence can create a great pipeline of new business for both parties. This setup can also help advisors to deepen relationships with existing clients – not only are they delivering financial advice, but they can also direct the client to a talented team to assist with other aspects of their financial and/or personal lives.

There is no one right way to engage with the online community. What’s important is for RIAs to build a presence and see what opportunities are out there.

Don’t Forget Compliance!

Before diving head-first into social media, RIAs need to make sure they are squared away on the compliance side. The SEC’s new investment advisor marketing rule, which was announced on December 22, 2022, goes into full effect this November.

As of November 4th, 2022, all RIAs must fully comply with these new rules. The updated ruling adjusts how advisors can market their practices and offerings. There are some new opportunities advisors can take advantage of, as well as new compliance considerations.

While social media can be a great tool, it must be handled carefully to ensure all communications remain compliant within these SEC rules. It’s recommended that all RIA firms take the time to review the new rules to ensure any and all online activities fall within the guidelines laid out by the SEC.

Ready to Up Your Online Presence?

There’s no time to waste – see how your RIA could enhance its online presence to establish new client relationships, referral networks, and ideally take advantage of the great wealth transfer.

Interested in talking more about your RIA’s approach to marketing, and how a new technology provider could support your firm’s growth? Let’s chat! We can talk about TradePMR’s top-rated Fusion technology4 and how your firm could benefit from the firm’s high-touch approach to RIA custodial service.



1 Cerulli Anticipates $84 Trillion in Wealth Transfers Through 2045, Cerulli Associates. Published January 20, 2022.

2 Use of Social Media Nearly Universal Among Financial Advisors, According to New Putnam Investments Study, Putnam Investments. Published April 8, 2019.

3 More Investors Are Vetting Their Financial Advisors On Social MediaFinancial Advisor Magazine, Tracey Longo. Published June 22, 2021.

4 T3/Inside Information Survey, Joel Bruckenstein and Bob Veres, May 2022, sponsored by AssetBook, Holistiplan, Advyzon, Addepar, and Fidelity Investments, T3/Inside Information Advisor Software Survey, Joel Bruckenstein and Bob Veres, March 2021, sponsored by Salesforce, and 2019 Software Survey, Joel Bruckenstein and Bob Veres, January 2019, sponsored by Orion Advisor Services and Morningstar, Inc.

This material is not intended to be relied on as legal or compliance advice. Any reliance on the information herein is done solely at the discretion of the reader.

Written by TradePMR