Should You YouTube?

Why social media instead of another newsletter or blog? People juggling homeschool and teleconferences don't have time. Others who have experienced two rounds of market crashes (2008 and 2020) might crave hearing an educated calm voice.

It may seem like the entire world is home, baking banana bread, but this season of chaos and confusion is made for financial advisors.  Most, if not all, advisors entered the career wanting a more hands-on approach to helping people, whether that was in big or small ways like sorting out their investment and financial planning. In fact, the 2018 mid-term elections saw more financial advisors running for office as a part of that feeling of civic engagement. But anything hands-on may be miles away from the current reality. Yet, advisors may feel frustrated: with so much confusion over financial matters and so few folks able to engage directly with support, how can they help? In 2018, surveys showed that almost 75% of Americans were going it alone in managing their finances and investments.

Many advisors have been using social media to get basic, helpful information out into the world for the last several years. Why social media instead of another newsletter or blog? Simple, many folks do not have the time or mental bandwidth to absorb the information via print. Parents who homeschool while juggling teleconferences don't have time to read a newsletter. Millennials and others who have now experienced two rounds of market crashes (2008 and 2020) might benefit from hearing an educated calm voice.

Advisors should always be careful with the information they put into the world, whether written or spoken, to ensure that  communication meets with federal and state regulations. YouTube and vlogs should be treated with the same high level of care as newsletters, websites and social media marketing. Before starting any new communication program you should first speak with your compliance team to ensure that you meet those requirements.

You might think that the only YouTube creators are former magicians turned investors, like Andrei Jikh, but many well-known, well-established advisory companies have a presence on YouTube. Charles Schwab has an entire channel. That channel is full of basics like “How to Budget” or “How to Invest $1,000.” In fact, everyone’s favorite CNBC mainstay Jim Cramer has been on YouTube for years via CNBC’s channel.

YouTube may help those advisors who feel frustrated at not being able to do more to help those who are impacted by the current Corona Chaos. While advisors should not provide specific advice, leave that to Cramer, they can provide context for financial news. Jikh, for example, recently explained why some folks have received their stimulus checks while others may still be waiting.

For advisors who want to provide context and information to a nation rightfully worried about their financial futures, here are a few simple tips on getting started we collected from various sources.

Know your why. Make sure that the video you are creating has a specific purpose. This tip follows from the idea of knowing your audience. Your audience more easily absorbs information if it has a specific container. As one writer suggested, give your reader the box first before you give them the information to put in the box. Advisors may want to follow the simple rule of answering only one main question per video. If there is more to answer or your topic needs more depth, create a series or playlist in YouTube. You can also easily drop references to other sites and sources, like the IRS or FINRA, in the description portion of the video.

Plan ahead. This may seem like it goes with the previous tip, but knowing why you are creating a video is very different than being prepared for the video. Plan every detail of the video ahead of time. This includes the best time of day for lighting, how much time you need for an introduction, and when to include clips and graphics.

Equip yourself adequately. You don’t need to invest in a fancy camera, but you do need the basics. A good set up includes adequate sound and soundproofing – no one wants to hear your neighbor mowing her lawn for 6 minutes – as well as a stable camera base. You can use a basic smartphone to record your content, but it is recommended to attach it to a tripod camera holder.

Software saves seconds. Every second is important in videos and vlogs. To preserve that, consider using the best editing software you can. Using editing helps viewers stay engaged and keeps them active in watching. While you don’t have to use lots of clips in your videos, adding in graphics, quotes, and anything other than your face talking to the camera will help keep people’s attention. Highly recommended software for video editing includes: Windows Movie Maker and Apple iMovie for beginners, and Adobe’s Premiere Pro or CyberLink’s PowerDirector for more advanced work.

Finally, titles really do help people find your content. Having a simple title, perhaps even the question you are answering in the video, will help people find your video. And that may help them with whatever financial trouble that is causing them distress.

These articles are prepared for general purposes and are not intended to provide advice or encourage specific behavior. Before taking any action, Advisors and Plan Sponsors should consult with their compliance, finance and legal teams.

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