From Bayou to Bernie Madoff, it feels like every day brings a new scandal in the investment world. From hedge funds to venerable investment banks, after each scandal, new regulations are put into place to protect consumers and civil and criminal enforcement actions follow. After the Great Recession and the collapse of the some of the biggest names on Wall Street, people are skeptical about trusting anyone with their money and retirement savings. Consumers are checking references and even searching online for disciplinary actions and other evidence of unprofessional behavior or misconduct.
Investment professionals, financial planners and investment advisers need to take a proactive approach to managing their online reputation. Below are some online reputation management recommendations for investment professionals.
1. Strength in numbers. Join a networking group like the National Association of Investment Professionals (NAIP) or the Finanical Planning Association and become an active contributor on LinkedIn, the largest online professional network in the world. Networking with experienced practitioners and potential referral sources in complementary practice areas, like accounting and estate planning, will provide you with daily advice and additional resources to market and grow your business. You will also discover opportunities to speak at or attend conferences and other industry events, establishing your expertise on personal finance and wealth management related topics.
2. Monitor your name. Setting up a simple Google alert can help you save time when monitoring your name and your firm’s name. A Google alert will allow you to be contacted immediately when your name is mentioned in the news or online so you can take immediate action.
3. Give your website a makeover. If you haven’t changed or updated your Web site in the past few years, maybe it’s time for a renovation? Google, Bing and other search engines are favoring Web sites that have social sharing features and are updated frequently. Adding a blog is a great way to educate and inform clients about the latest tax changes, investment news and market research to help your clients achieve their financial goals and will increase traffic to your site.
4. Leverage social media. Don’t underestimate the power of social media marketing for an investment professional. Facebook allows you to target potential clients and referral sources in your local area. Google+ is an emerging platform which allows you to effectively separate your personal and professional connections. If your firm policies allow you to post or solicit endorsements and testimonials associated with your LinkedIn profile, you will have a tremendous advantage over your competitors who may not be as socially savvy. Getting your name out there in a positive, managed way will help you win clients and reduce the visibility of any negative results that may show up on Google.
5. Get help with reputation management. A top-rated online reputation management company like Reputation Rhino can help you create a powerful, positive online presence in compliance with applicable state, federal and SRO regulations. Negative posts about you cannot be removed, but an online reputation management firm can help you respond to online defamation and enhance a positive, authentic image that will promote and protect your business.