Viral financial advisor selfie photos

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Today’s show is about how financial advisors can make viral selfie photos for their social media. I’ve recently started doing this and the results on my visibility in my social feeds and in my general marketing have been awesome. I can’t wait to teach all of you about it so read on please!

For those of new to my blog/podcast, I am Sara Grillo.

Pleased to meet you!

Sara Grillo, CFA is a highly fun and slightly crazy marketing consultant based in NYC.
I am an insightful and slightly crazy marketing consultant for financial advisors.

I am a CFA® charterholder, financial author and a former financial advisor. I do a weekly newsletter on financial advisor lead generation so please subscribe so you won’t miss any of my tips!

What to expect in this pod-blog

First I’m going to talk about what makes a good selfie and how to take one, and then I’m going to go over 5 examples of great selfie photos that got a lot of visibility on social media, and several of them lead to me getting new business opportunities (leads) as a result.

Let’s get started!

Why financial advisor selfie photos are great

First of all, what is a selfie photo? Selfie photos have come about with the evolution of social media. It generally refers to a photo that is taken by the person him or herself using a smartphone. Selfie photos tend to be informal.

Now, I realize that your results may be very compromised if you are not used to taking selfies. Practice and get used to it. If you really aren’t comfortable, you can have someone else take it. But the impromptu nature of the selfie photo is part of its charm and involving other people makes it a bit less effortless.


Financial advisors tend to shy away from making selfie photos. Look, it’s okay if you have gray hair, wrinkles, or have gained weight. Look – we all have our flaws. Don’t be self conscious. I know it’s uncomfortable but understand that the audience doesn’t want perfection – they want connection.

That is a key point, so let me go over that again.

Human beings like to look at other human beings. Curiosity is the first step towards attraction in any sense, platonic or romantic. What do you find easier to connect with, a picture of a human face or a graph of this quarter’s S&P 500?


Humans like human energy, folks!


Financial advisor selfie photos are important because of the type of business you are in. Your brand isn’t your website or logo – it’s you! It’s you, your personality, how you look, your face, how you smile, your energy, the look in your eyes. It isn’t the chart or graph that people are going to need to trust, it is the person making it. That is why you have to show up. You have to be able to represent your brand physically. Physical drawbacks can be managed, and they have to be overcome.

I realize that financial advisors tend to be more data-focused in their thinking. On social media, the most important thing is the title of any piece you create, and the thumbnail photo associated with it. People don’t respond logically. They don’t decide to click on postings as a result of their reasoning. The one who has the most visual appeal is the one who is going to get the attention on social media, period.

I didn’t make the rules, folks. But if I want to win, I know I have to play by them.

The social media algorithms love your financial advisor selfie photos!

Marketing people often talk about the LinkedIn, Facebook, and other algorithms. Basically the algorithm is the math that decides what postings get served up more frequently, and to what audience they are served. Nobody outside of the social media platform itself has access to this knowledge.

Generally what all social media platforms want, and what all algorithms reward, is watch time. Time people spend on the page reading, watching, or listening to whatever is on the page. It is that simple. This is why better photos that engage people and get them to stay and read what the posting is about are so critical.

There’s very little point to posting on social media if you can’t get people to see it. Your goal should always be to maximize the number of views. Targeting a specific audience is good to consider, but a rising tide lifts all ships. Once the platform sees you getting more attention with a general audience, you will have more authority in their eyes and it will be easier to get more attention from the people you wish to reach. There are a variety of different ways to do this and I teach about that in my membership.

Have you heard about it?

Info is below.

To sum it up…

Even though you may be moving into a realm you are not comfortable with, financial advisors should consider selfie photos for all the reasons stated above.

How financial advisors can make a kickass selfie

Before I go into the key points that make a selfie visually appealing, I want you to do something. Take out your phone and snap 20 photos. Click, click, clicky click.

I’ll give you a minute.



Now, what did you notice about the results? One thing is that you probably aren’t satisfied with most of these pictures. Totally understandable. Remember when I defined the selfie photos I said these were informal and impromptu kinds of things? So of course because these are not staged photos you are going to see a lot of them being off. If you snap 20 photos you are probably going to get 1 or 2 that you like. You may have to repeat and create another batch.

Generally in any batch of selfie photos, the latter photos are going to come out better. This is because the person is generally more comfortable within the pose the more photos you take.

Here are some guidelines for taking a great financial advisor selfie photo:

  • Play music while you shoot. Your favorite song will naturally relax you.
  • Look at yourself through the camera and then touch up your appearance. Sometimes the camera lens can show things that the bathroom mirror doesn’t. Bring your cosmetics and primping tools (e.g. hairbrush) with you. I used to get ready in the bathroom and then be constantly frustrated by having to run back and forth between my computer and the bathroom to touch up my makeup.
  • Focus on your eyes and mouth. Make them big. Make expressions with them. Practice this before you shoot.
  • Make sure you are centered and try to stand in front of a neutral background if possible. It’s best if the emphasis is on you and not on what is behind you.
  • If you are making a thumbnail image for a blog or podcast, you may want to point to the space next to you. This way you can superimpose some text that conveys the main point of the piece. I explain how to do this in my membership.
  • Use props. I have noticed when I use props my pics do better. In the examples below you will see what I mean.

Viral selfie examples

Financial advisor lead magnet

I did this posting about my podcast on financial advisor lead magnets. You can see I am holding up a light bulb because the idea is that the lead magnet ideas I discuss on the show are illuminating. I also made a point to put the keywords associated with the podcast in a call out box that I superimposed next to my head.

Simple attire, makeup looks okay, hair was styled nicely.

Business baby

This was one of my most successful postings over a two weeks period. I did this a little bit differently. Normally I create the posting and then take the picture to match it. However in this case, I took the picture first and then created the post around it.

What made the business baby posting so successful was the creativity that went into it, and I think the reverse engineering had a lot to do with it. This was a really cute photo. I’m holding a stuffed animal with my hair in pigtails. However I am making a point about how ridiculous it is to act like a toddler in the business world.

Try to reverse engineer a post and see how it goes!

Financial advisor sales funnel

I did a full body shot wearing a leopard dress which you don’t usually see much of on LinkedIn. This picture had a really dynamic quote imposed onto it about the financial advisor sales funnel and that made the post even that much more interesting.

Financial advisor pay

I credit the topic here with much of the post’s success. Anytime you talk about compensation, people are going to be curious.

However, this picture was also visually engaging. The color red caught people’s eyes and I use money as a prop. I also styled my hair in a puff which is not something I usually do. Change attracts attention.

Sara’s upshot on financial advisor selfie photos

What’d ya think? Was this helpful?

If yes…

Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.

This is a book about financial advisor LinkedIn messages which contains scripts you can use to get new prospects.

You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn.

The Sara Grillo membership is a social media program for financial advisors - but only the cool ones.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation.

See you in the next one!

-Sara G

Any questions? Send 'em in!