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Producing videos can be more user-friendly than hosting an online event since clients can watch them at their convenience, says one advisor.izusek/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

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When the markets started to shake at the end of January, Jennifer Tozser grabbed her iPhone camera, a colleague, and shot a YouTube video explaining the volatility to clients. Hours later, the four-minute video explaining how interest rates play a role in market jitters was posted.

“It has to be timely,” says Ms. Tozser, senior wealth advisor and portfolio manager with Tozser Wealth Management at National Bank Financial Wealth Management in Calgary. “Clients want to know that you’re there and that you’re thinking about the same things they are. It helps to alleviate their concerns.”

Ms. Tozser is among a select group of Canada’s Top Wealth Advisors inaugural ranking who are turning to social media to communicate with clients. The platforms are especially useful during market swings like we’ve seen lately, enabling advisors to reach a broader number of investors – and a lot faster – than if they called them individually.

“It’s not that I don’t want to call people,” Ms. Tozser says. “The point is that you can distribute your information more quickly.”

Producing videos can also be more user-friendly than hosting an online event, she adds, as clients can watch them at their convenience.

Some of the videos on her YouTube channel were also created in response to client requests, such as a recent one on “The Great Resignation” and another she’s working on about financial technology.

Ms. Tozser also produces a more polished video series that includes less time-sensitive and frequently asked investor questions on topics such as active versus passive investing or whether to pay off debt or invest.

“It’s not a volume business for me,” she says of her videos, which average about 250 views, more than double her client base. “I put out content that I think is relevant for my clients.”

Using different platforms to be a ‘trusted source’

David Popowich and Faisal Karmali – senior investment advisors and portfolio managers with the Popowich Karmali Advisory Group at CIBC Wood Gundy in Calgary – use social media to communicate with clients on topics such as market activity, income, cash flow, and estate planning.

Specifically, they turn to LinkedIn for thought-leadership style content, Facebook for more lifestyle-focused messaging, and Twitter to share news and information from media and other sources. The two advisors also have a long-running podcast, “More Than Money,” that delves deeper into various investing topics.

“We don’t pick one platform over the other; we adopt the message for the platform,” Mr. Karmali says. “People go on different platforms for different reasons.”

Amid the recent market volatility, Mr. Karmali says they’re using Twitter in part to provide quick updates on the latest news, while on Facebook they offer more lifestyle information on how it might impact a client’s retirement, for example. On LinkedIn recently, the team discussed how inventors should filter out “the noise” of market ups and downs and focus on data and their longer-term investment strategy.

Mr. Karmali says he has a four-member team, not including himself and Mr. Popowich, that develops about 100 to 200 posts weekly across their social media platforms. He says the volume is driven largely by the firm’s already strong media presence, which includes regular appearances on TV, radio, and in print.

“Communicating through social media and using different platforms is important because your clients are getting exposed to so much information and you want to be there as a trusted source,” he says. “If you’re not there, someone else will be.”

Mr. Karmali says his firm doesn’t only use social media to connect with clients, but also to drive what he describes as “a mission to educate, inform and motivate the public” about investing.

“It’s bigger than just the business of an advisor,” he says. “It’s what we really believe in, which is having people bulletproof their retirement.”

Experimenting with technology, competing with social media

Darren Coleman, senior portfolio manager, private client group, with Coleman Wealth at Raymond James Ltd. in Toronto, has been changing his use of technology after launching his “Walking with Charlie” video blog at the start of the pandemic.

He tried doing client presentations on Zoom, and then using Pivo software, but couldn’t quite get the right mix of him and the slides he was using. He now uses an interactive flat-screen that he stands in front of, similar to a TV weatherperson, to present information to clients.

Mr. Coleman says there are many technologies for advisors to experiment with and see what works best for them and their clients.

“It’s not about technology for technology’s sake. You can easily get caught up in the tools, toys, and technology,” he says. “You have to remember, it’s about what works best for messaging … and getting people the right information.”

When delivering that information, Mr. Coleman says advisors shouldn’t be too reactive to market events and instead provide clients with insights on what it means for their wealth management plans.

“Clients are getting facts all the time,” he says. “It’s about what you do with these facts: What’s important? What isn’t important? That’s what I think they’re looking to the advisor for.”

He says advisors also need to create engaging content that clients want to watch, especially with a growing volume of competing information available across social media.

“The trick to this is you have to find something interesting to say – and then you need to say it in an interesting way – because all of our standards for being entertained and informed keep going up,” Mr. Coleman says.

The content also needs to be consistent with an advisor’s brand, which some may find challenging or intimidating at first.

“It requires people to have a bit of courage; to have a perspective,” Mr. Coleman says. “It requires you to take a bit of a position and be willing to stick to it.”

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