Embracing your inner millennial
February 22, 2017
I admit it. Last week, I arrived at a fund-raising luncheon, scanned the crowd — and then it hit me. I was surrounded by millennials. That made me one of the older people there.
I view this not as a “senior moment,” but rather as a “teaching moment,” because it also struck me that by embracing your own inner millennial, you have the opportunity to tap the potential of this next generation. After all, millennials, born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, now make up the largest generation in America — a third of the entire population. They’re the most highly educated generation in history, putting them on track for lucrative careers. And they collectively stand to inherit some $30 trillion to $40 trillion.1 Ignore them at the peril of your practice.
By understanding what makes them tick, you can better attract and serve them. But don’t be just an observer. Get into the act! There are real benefits to mastering social media, incorporating new apps into your practice, and upping your online research strategies. It’s amazing how much you can get done with a thumb and a phone — although there are some interpersonal approaches to take that reflect a millennial mindset and can work across generations.
Want tips on connecting with the next generation via LinkedIn? Here are some ideas.
- 1Get more social to build your practice
Fully 86% of millennials spend time on social media, but the rest of us aren’t far behind. Today, nearly seven in 10 of all adults use at least one social media site.2 And for advisors, that has completely upended best practices for prospecting, as well as identifying additional opportunities among current clients.
Once upon a time, advisors’ prospecting typically hinged on personal outreach — often face-to-face contact and a warm handshake.
Fast-forward to today, and by the time you meet your prospects for the first time, they may have already researched your entire life online. They could know your credentials, how many kids you have, and where you like to vacation. The folks at Google have termed this phase of the sales cycle the “Zero Moment of Truth,” and your prospects are in the driver’s seat.3 To make their cut, you need to keep your online presence relevant, authentic, compelling — and above all, easy to find.
You probably have a LinkedIn profile, and may also have a Facebook page and perhaps a Twitter account. Make sure you’re keeping your profiles consistent and up-to-date across all platforms. That helps make your information easier to find in online searches.
To give you even more visibility, regularly share educational content that’s platform-appropriate — softer, more personal information on Facebook and business-focused information on LinkedIn. Images can be especially eye-catching, so don’t forget to take selfies at conferences, client events, and even when you’re out to dinner with your spouse. Posting photos helps you connect with the people in your network on a personal level. And keeping a steady presence online helps you stand out.
Sound like a lot of work? It does take time. But social media tools, such as Hearsay Social™ and Hootsuite™, can simplify the process of posting compliant content across platforms. They can even help you monitor your current network for life events or other triggers that you define. When anyone in your network announces a birth, death, new job, or other event on social media, you receive a notification, enabling you to send a personal message or even pass along educational information to them. Just remember to avoid sales pitches. Your social media goals are to deepen relationships, build trust, and stay visible.
Being "social" can give you an opportunity for personal, rather than digital, interaction, especially if you embrace the social awareness that’s a millennial hallmark. For example, getting involved in charitable organizations is a great way to expand your visibility and do a lot of good. This is something that’s important to me, as my family and I are very involved in local charities and I serve on several boards of charities in my Arizona hometown. It’s even possible to bring it back to digital! I’ve taken advantage of social media tools like LinkedIn and Evernote to contribute to articles about those boards of directors.
- 2Boost your productivity with apps
More often than not, millennials participate in social media through apps on their phones. But their app usage doesn’t stop there. From Facebook and YouTube to Uber and Fitbit, a typical millennial spends around 90 hours a month on apps!4
Take a page out of their playbook and find out how apps can make your life easier. Here are a couple you may want to consider incorporating into your practice:
Microsoft OneDrive. If you’re using Windows 10, you may already know about Microsoft OneDrive, which is built-in. But if you don’t have it, you can add it at no cost. This powerful app enables you to access your Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and other types of files across all your devices. You can even use it to collaborate with others on your documents.
Evernote. If you’re like me, you end up with lots of to-do lists and random scribbles that are easy to misplace. Evernote lets you quickly jot down your ideas or even snap a picture of that back-of-the-envelope sketch and makes it all easy to organize and share with others. Once captured, your notes are accessible from all your devices, and you can even search on handwritten words contained in your notes.
Millennials’ digital activities go beyond social networks and apps. They are also master online researchers. And they aren’t just checking your background online. They’re researching everything online. In fact, 86% of millennials check online reviews before making a purchase.5
Review your own research habits. When gathering information on an investment, do you call the sales desk at the asset management company or do you pull up its website? These days, it can be faster to simply go online — and you often get more complete and accurate information. If you’ve found those websites difficult to use in the past, check again. Many asset managers have vastly improved their websites in recent years, making them much more intuitive to navigate.
Why should millennials have a lock on habits that can boost professional success? Make those skills multigenerational by dialing up your digital savvy to gain more visibility, increase your productivity, and make faster and smarter decisions.
1 Nielsen and The White House Council of Economic Advisors, 2014.
2 “Social Media Fact Sheet,” Pew Research Center, 2017.
3 Winning the Zero Moment of Truth – ZMOT. Jim Lecinski.
4 The 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report. Comscore.
5 “Online Reviews Report,” Pew Research Center, 2016
All third-party marks cited are property of their respective owners.
Investment professionals should consult their compliance departments before accessing any social media network for a business purpose.
This content is for informational use only and is not an endorsement of any app, service, or publicly traded company.