OpinionMar 10 2023

'Does the good outweigh the bad with advisers and social media?'

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'Does the good outweigh the bad with advisers and social media?'
(FT Montage)

Nowadays you are seen as a dinosaur, or that you have something to hide, if you do not have some sort of social media presence. Even my elderly neighbours regularly post on Facebook.

And while being active on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc can be very rewarding, it can have disastrous consequences if the appropriate care is not taken.

For example, nowadays a person can be sued for libel if they are found to have made defamatory comments about someone in a tweet – something that would not have happened years ago.

There have also been cases of people losing their jobs over racist or irresponsible comments made on social media, or for inappropriate content.

But on the flip side, social platforms can be a great place for an individual to grow their personal brand and promote their business and/or services, which is especially helpful for advisers.

So is having a personal brand that other advisers and clients can connect with worth the hassle of navigating the choppy waters of social media and the possibility of being ‘cancelled’?

Let’s look at the pros and cons for advisers operating in this space.

Public spats and damaged reputations

From my own personal experience, advisers like to engage with one another on LinkedIn and Twitter and will openly discuss general goings on in the industry, new regulations coming into force and troubles with providers.

But of course, people do not always agree with one another.

While everyone is entitled to their opinions, advisers I have to tell you that having public spats over social media is not a good look, whatsoever.

A healthy debate is totally acceptable – for example, should the triple lock be maintained or not? But there have been occasions when advisers take it a step too far and start getting personal, block one another and start discrediting each other.

It is likely that prospective clients search advisers online before jumping in feet first, and these conversations are on social media for all to see, which could put some clients off.

Also the internet is ever-lasting. One bad comment or misjudged sentence, or even an honest mistake, can be seen by clients for years to come. 

The same goes if a client complained publicly about an adviser's services, it is out there for others to see.

Another challenge is that maintaining a presence on social media requires a time commitment. 

Ideally, advisers would want to be posting regularly enough to become an important voice and commentator but this is difficult to do while also holding client meetings daily.