Believe it or not, the majority of Americans today are millennials. Ignoring this generation can be a bad long-term business decision that prevents you from adapting your business model to meet the demands of today’s investors.

Population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau confirm that millennials have surpassed baby boomers to become our nation’s largest living generation. By the end of 2015, there were 75.4 million people between ages 18 and 34 in the United States, compared to 74.9 million people between 51 and 69.

Not only do millennials now constitute the largest market for advisors, but many of them are already accumulating significant wealth. According to a FutureCast study, one-third of U.S. adults earning more than $500,000 per year are millennials.

This new reality presents a tremendous opportunity for advisors—but in order to forge meaningful long-term relationships with millennial clients, advisors need to engage them differently than baby boomer clients.

Harness The Power Of Social Media

Millennials conduct much of their personal business, communication, and research digitally—on their own terms and time. Advisors can effectively connect with millennials by using social media and other methods of communication that the latter are comfortable with (and accustomed to) for engaging with peers, friends, and service and information providers.

Social media platforms are often the first places millennials go to find answers to their questions about finance. LinkedIn and Ipsos have reported that nine out of 10 millennials utilize social media to seek advice or opinions related to financial markets and events.

Which social media platform is the best avenue for beginning wealth management and financial advice conversations with affluent millennials? You might think it would be Facebook or Twitter, but as we all know, preconceived notions are often wrong—the answer is LinkedIn. The LinkedIn Millennial Playbook, published in May 2016, reports that 87 million people born between 1980 and 2000 use LinkedIn, accounting for 38 percent of its total users. In addition, the Pew Research Center found that 41 percent of Internet users who earn annual salaries of $75,000 or more utilize LinkedIn.

Once you have been referred to a prospective millennial client, consider connecting with them on LinkedIn prior to your first meeting. Doing this provides them a gateway to view your profile and any content that you have posted on LinkedIn. In order to draw them in, you need to post relevant and noteworthy content that they will find interactive and engaging. By posting relevant contact on your LinkedIn profile, you can demonstrate your thinking, your values and major news you deem important.  One-third of millennials like a brand more if it uses social media, according to the Association of National Advertisers, so that little bit of extra effort to prepare and post interactive content will go a long way toward helping millennial prospects appreciate your insights and value.

LinkedIn can also generate referrals among prospective millennial clients’ contacts once you have built some rapport and demonstrated value. After you have established a connection, you can identify which of their contacts you would like to get introduced to via a LinkedIn introduction, or print out a list of the contacts that you can bring to a meeting in order to ask for favorable introductions. I used this strategy in my past experience as a financial advisor, and was able to successfully obtain thousands of favorable introductions.

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