However, a deeper problem is that most investors looking to buy a stock or ETF do not turn to social media as their preferred source of trusted information. It is highly unlikely that an investor will open or close a position in an ETF because they read a tweet about it or because a friend posts about it on Facebook or LinkedIn.

There are a couple of workarounds that allow savvy marketing strategists to utilize social media by leveraging its strengths without relying on it to do the heavy lifting of more tried-and-true methods, such as a concerted PR and branding campaign, robust support materials, and digital advertising.

To get around the “spontaneity” problem, fund managers can get a certain number of tweets or social media posts “preapproved” by compliance ahead of time, and then schedule the tweets to be posted throughout the week. At the end of the day, social media is one of many vehicles to publicize a fund. While there is no direct tie to social media and AUM growth, as younger investors get more involved in ETF investing, being part of the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn will become increasingly important.

Do: Insert yourself into the current media conversation

A public relations campaign is at its best when journalists and other members of the media feel that they can turn to your firm as a trusted source of information. While it is certainly possible that from time to time a journalist may wish to write a feature piece regarding an issuer’s new fund or its recent performance, a more likely scenario is that a journalist will turn to a trusted source for further insight into a developing story. The role of a PR campaign is to position your firm as the trusted source for the media when it comes to a certain niche topic that relates to your fund. For example, becoming a “thought leader” in the oil and gas or biotech space will go far in establishing your firm as experts in those spaces (and in those sorts of ETFs more specifically), and, just as importantly, in the underlying holdings your fund represents.

In other words, feature articles about a newly-launched fund, while fantastic for PR purposes, are often rare and difficult to secure. By monitoring the news cycle and positioning one’s firm as trustworthy sources, it becomes much easier to maintain a high-profile in the media.

Don’t: Put all your marketing dollars in one basket

A marketing and branding initiative is not a spear—think of it more like a four-pointed trident, consisting of branding, marketing, PR, and social media. Or if the trident analogy doesn’t work for you, instead think of these four prongs as legs of the marketing and PR chair; cut away one of the legs and the chair falls over!

Marketing and PR campaigns are synergistic affairs. Great marketing materials will fall on deaf ears if the PR campaign is not firing on all cylinders. A fantastic PR campaign will all be for naught if the branding and messaging are not well thought out and consistent. All the social media in the world will not grow AUM on its own, but is better thought of as a complementary branding facet. When sufficient resources are devoted to each of the “legs” of the strategy, then something beautiful results: an effective marketing and PR campaign.


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