Advisors who are not on social media are going the way of the dinosaurs, according to those in the social media field.
Social media is particularly valuable for staying in touch with clients and keeping them calm during periods of market volatility, as was experienced recently, says John Michel, CEO of CircleBlack, a personal finance technology company.
“Clients want their primary advisor to be connected with them,” Michel says. When the market is turbulent, they do not want to wait for a personal phone call, although they want that at some point, too, he says.
Brett Clarke, CEO of Blu Giant, a social media strategist for financial advisors, says advisors need to be ready to jump into all forms of social media if they expect to add value to their services when the market is going through ups and downs.
“If an advisor is afraid to jump into social media, he or she could start with LinkedIn, a business-oriented site, and then go on to other sites,” Clarke advises.
“Advisors cannot give financial advice on social media sites, but if they keep that in mind, they should be OK. Treat it like a public phone call or e-mail,” he adds.
Many advisors put out a newsletter each week, but in rough times, clients want something more specific, Michel says. Advisors should address specific issues for each type of client, based on their investments and their stage in life.
In order to meet compliance requirements, firms need to supervise the information that is being sent out and know what type of social media site it is going on, says Dan Bernstein, chief regulatory counsel at MarketCounsel, an organization of lawyers who work with financial advisors.
“Advisors absolutely have to be on social media today,” Bernstein says. “They should look at the purpose of each site and look at who is using it and then hone the message for the site.”
“A firm needs to have a policy in place to govern advisors’ social media use, just like they have policies for advertisements and television appearances. Then firms need to train the advisors in the proper use of social media,” Bernstein says.