Potential clients want to "see the whites of your eyes" before they make the first call to a financial advisor, according to David Edwards, president of Heron Financial Group.
That is why he advises financial advisors put their own pictures on their Web sites and use videos and any available social media to connect with people.
Edwards, who is based in New York City and Nantucket, Mass., was the guest speaker at a webinar Thursday on how financial advisors can use social media to boost their practices. The webinar was sponsored by FiPath, an online information service for financial planners and consumers.
Less than two and a half years ago, Edwards said he knew nothing about social media, but he has now become a strong advocate of its use for advisors. Each social site allows potential clients to connect with the advisor and one site leads to another, he noted.
His Facebook site has led him to the Facebook sites of potential clients. In one case, he found before he even talked to a woman that she was a marathon runner. So is Edwards, and the information created an immediate connection between the two when he returned her call.
"When someone lands on your Web site, you want it to instill confidence. Someone who goes to my Web site sees videos and links to radio shows I have done. They can read my blog and see where I have been quoted in publications," he said. "Once you have made that connection, that client is not going anywhere."
Edwards explained that the initial learning curve for embracing the different social media sites was steep but now it has created an easy and inexpensive way to reach potential clients.
"Every time I am on the radio, someone checks out my Web site and I get calls for more information," he said. "I call social media a force multiplier."