Financial advisors are stepping up use of social media. Seven out of 10 advisors surveyed for a report last year by FTI Consulting and LinkedIn said they already are using social media for business purposes. But for advisors on the sidelines, the big question is, How do I start?
An Aug. 8 webinar, “Strange Bedfellows—Compliance and Social Media,” sponsored by Financial Advisor magazine and Finect, the simple, compliant social media platform, went to the source for answers: top financial pros themselves.
The panelists were Michael Kitces, partner and director of research at Pinnacle Advisory Group and author of the popular “Nerd’s Eye View” blog; Brittney Castro, founder of Financially Wise Women; Charles Massimo, founder of CJM Wealth Management; and Bob Bacarella, founder of the asset manager, Monetta Group. Finect President Jennifer Openshaw moderated the discussion. Here are some key takeaways from the talk. ( Click here for the slides.)
What did you wish you knew when you started using social media?
Kitces: "You ultimately need some way to keep the connection and go further.” Social media, he says, is much like attending a networking meeting—you can show up, but you won’t generate any business unless you leave with a business card. As effective a tool for interaction that social media serves, “there’s still relatively limited interaction,” he says.
Castro: “I wish I knew it takes time…Any networking relationship takes time—to build a connection with people, engage with them, provide value and have them become a regular follower and become part of your community and want to hear from you regularly. These are still people at the other end of the Internet line; you must talk to them like real people.”
Massimo: “I wish I knew better how to engage the right type of people and then be able to gauge how many people are actually reading your social media.”
Bacarella: “It’s not as restrictive as we first thought. We weren’t quite sure what we had to do to comply with Finra and SEC. Many tweets and posts that are being made don’t require approval.”
Openshaw: “The SEC and Finra are OK with you using social media. It’s that you need to be operating by the rules and that means having a system in place.”
How long were you doing social media before you could see it making a difference in your business?
Kitces: He saw a 12-month ramp-up before he saw meaningful interactions that could be traced to social media activity. But his experience is based on a period years earlier when there was a smaller audience in his industry. He suspects that a ramp-up today would move more quickly because more people are in social media.