Throughout this year, there have been discussions about the blurring of financial advisors’ personal and professional lives on social networks. But to us they’ve seemed to be more about harnessing technology (social media archiving) and Compliance review than about establishing boundaries on what advisors could say.
Unlike in most professions, some advisors use their personal political views and affiliations to establish a common ground and attract clients. And, of course, elected leaders influence the economy and markets, and many advisors do their best to predict cause and effect.
With the mid-term elections upon us, we were eager to see how the AdvisorTweets stream this week would reflect advisors’ political thinking. We knew there would be no consensus to report, although if there’s a tilt among the advisors we follow, it’s to the Republican sensibility. But how far would advisors go on this channel?
We think of the content posting on a spectrum—there’s the random comment in the tweet, there’s a link to an article that the advisor is referring his/her followers to and then there’s the tweet promoting an advisor-authored blog post and some follow-up tweeting responding to others about the post.
We’ve seen all of the above this week but not to the extent that we expected. Most advisors followed by AdvisorTweets didn’t comment on the elections or the results they desired.
A social networking site launched today with the promise of serving as a melting pot for financial services professionals to come together on social media issues unique to the industry.
SocialTurns has been created by Socialware, the Austin, Texas-based social middleware platform technology provider. In the first few preview weeks, Socialware and others have recruited financial advisors, insurance, marketing, Compliance and technology professionals as members. As a result, the site is almost 400 members strong on its launch date.
“In a recent Socialware survey on social media usage among financial advisors, it was clear that although there is massive business value in social media for financial professionals, there is also a lack of awareness on how to do it compliantly and effectively–something that leaves the industry as a whole wondering where to turn next,” said Socialware CEO Chad Bockius.
Bockius hopes that creating a centralized location for social media-related discussion and questions will help move the industry forward. I do too, and I’ve committed to take part in the SocialTurns Council, which Bockius established to keep the conversations going on the community site.
The Council includes many names AdvisorTweets followers will recognize:
- Pat Allen, Principal, Rock The Boat Marketing (and AdvisorTweets)
- Debbi Corej, VP of Compliance, Prudential
- Julie Gebert, AVP of Compliance, Cambridge
- Kip Gregory, Principal, The Gregory Group
- Bruce Johnston, President & CEO, Advisolicity
- Kristen Luke, Principal, Wealth Management Marketing
- Christina L. Nelson, Senior Editor, Financial Planning Association
- Stephanie Sammons, CEO, WiredAdvisor
- Stephen Selby, Director of Regulatory Services, LIMRA
- Jennifer Sussman, Director of Online Marketing and Experience, American Century Investments
- Pete Chiccino, EVP and CIO, The Bancorp Bank
We think this could be a big deal for employees of financial services firms, slightly less so for financial advisors who are already proficient online networkers and may prefer their ad hoc, more tightly focused communities. Still, one can never have enough places to turn for help on a subject as dynamic and ambiguous as social media policies and practices.
Join today and become acquainted with what may be a significant industry resource.
Even on a normal day when advisors’ tweets are links to personal finance articles and Peter Ustinov quotes, we pay close attention to them as a window to what’s shaping advisors’ thinking. So naturally we were fascinated by advisors’ reactions to the market’s tumble Thursday.
But the particular circumstances of Thursday lead us to a question and an apology.
From 2:15-3:30 p.m. EST, the very time the market was diving, I was sitting in a “Distribution Changes and Challenges” session at the Investment Company Institute General Membership Meeting. Executives from the top distributors Bank of America Merrill Lynch, LPL Financial, Fidelity Investments Institutional, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Edward Jones were describing what they need from their asset manager partners.
“The key to wholesaling is being in touch with us, being a partner. Go deep into the relationship,” said Andy Saperstein, managing director and head of wealth management for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. LPL’s Mark Casady told the audience they need to help advisors, including by making their content more portable as advisors increasingly participate in social networks. (See our Rock The Boat Marketing post for more.)
Was Thursday an occasion when, in fact, an asset manager helped you?
Half of the advisors polled by Investment News Friday said they heard from clients and 60% said they reached out to clients. A few advisors, we know from the AdvisorTweets stream, were contacted by the media for their analyses. Most Twitter-using advisors are avid information-gatherers and were no doubt working the Web and the television Thursday to make sense of what was going on.
Was an asset manager among your go-to resources Thursday? If not, how could the investment managers whose investment products/solutions you use have helped you? What kind of information would you have welcomed, in what format and on what timetable? Participating in evolving conversations, the core of social media, is how people and entities remain relevant. What relevant help could an asset manager have provided? What do you need that you’re not getting?
Please comment below. If you have something to say but don’t want to publish it, please send an email with your thoughts. I assure your confidentiality.
Next, the apology: We made a classic social media gaffe with the @AdvisorTweets account Thursday afternoon–all talking and no listening. During the session we were in broadcast mode, sending several tweets about the distributors’ comments on social media and other topics. It was only until after that we realized what advisors were dealing with and that our tweets were probably just in the way. We apologize for being so out of touch.
Here’s a chronological round-up of some of the market-related tweets from Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, May 6, 2010 starting at 1:52 p.m.CDT
It was the first Saturday in May and the horses were running in the Kentucky Derby, but on AdvisorTweets.com we were amazed to see the number of financial advisors providing updates and commentary on the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting in progress.
Whether in the aftermath of disasters or reactions to celebrity deaths, Twitter has proven its ability to bring parties together as a conversation develops. But we’re struck by this instance as advisors were tweeting right along with a wide cross-section of meeting observers including the Wall Street Journal, Fox Business Reporter Liz Claman, the Hilton Omaha and countless other professional and retail investors on Twitter.
The image below is from Google’s new Twitter replay capability showing the spiking of #BRK2010 tweets on Saturday. It’s not wholly satisfying, given that it’s missing a y scale.
We know that at least one advisor was there because he tweeted that he would be. But those who couldn’t attend seemed to be getting a lot out of listening to the reports, reacting and reacting to others’ reactions. While other media will report the content of what was said, many of the tweets included some color, as well.
In short, it was a bit of a fun online event that Twitter-using advisors jumped in and participated in. Did you? What did you think?
Wondering how the Senate hearings with Goldman Sachs are playing on Main Street?
Watch the AdvisorTweets.com stream today where multiple financial advisors are weighing in with their reactions to what they’re seeing and hearing on television.
Among the advisors we’ve seen tweeting this morning:
To read all related tweets, use our Search engine to search for Goldman, senators, $GS, etc.
It’s been an embarrassment of riches this week for followers of the financial advisors followed on AdvisorTweets.com–many of the tweets have been used to announce the availability of rich investment-related content on the advisors’ blogs.
It’s easy to underestimate Twitter and individual tweets. Each tweet affords no more than 140 characters and some advisors are better than others at self-promotion. That’s why we thought we’d offer this weekend reading list of the tweets this week that led to interesting advisor-generated blog posts.
@jonathanwsmith When Emotions Get the “Worst” of Us: [blog post] http://bit.ly/coF5xb
April 23, 2010, 3:54 pm (CDT) by jonathanwsmith
A thoughtful, long (by blog standards) post on making rational and irrational decisions
@researchpuzzler are we all “vogue traders” now? http://bit.ly/doHgD5 $$
April 22, 2010, 3:07 pm (CDT) by researchpuzzler
“Vogue trader” is proposed as the opposite of “rogue trader” and meeting the definition of “putting the world at risk, with managerial permission”
@heartcapital Blog post for avg investors using proxy season voting & annual reports as part of investment knowledge http://bit.ly/dfK4nC #vote #investing
April 19, 2010, 11:51 pm (CDT) by heartcapital
The “proxy season clues” to be found in the shareholder materials themselves
@NealFrankle “How to Change Your Credit Card Story Quick” new post and ready for your TIpd luv right here…don’t make me beg…http://bit.ly/cVdI1u
April 20, 2010, 10:08 am (CDT) by NealFrankle
A motivational post directed at financial excuse-makers
The Financial Advisor’s Role
The workweek was book-ended by two posts that commented on life as a financial advisor.
@rwohlner New post: Financial Planning-Reflections on the Past 19 Months http://su.pr/21rezB
April 19, 2010, 8:10 pm (CDT) by rwohlner
A post that questions the constructive value of media and others that say financial planning, its models and tools have been proven worthless
@nathangehring Please RT! Many financial services companies do not want to work for you! It’s time everybody knew! http://bit.ly/dCLLJz
April 23, 2010, 8:39 am (CDT) by nathangehring
A no-words-minced post critical of lobbying efforts against the fiduciary standard
We’ve been watching two financial advisor-initiated “conversations” this week that we recommend to you, as illustrations of social media in action and also because the topics are pretty interesting. We learned of both from the advisors’ tweets, as followed on AdvisorTweets.com.
On Twitter, Russ will occasionally lob a thought bomb (today’s was “Next time you meet with a financial advisor, pay attention to how much they talk about your money vs. your life. Your life should be priority.”) But we liked the question he asked in the LinkedIn Wealth Management and Retirement and Estate Planning Groups. And we love the fact that businesspeople, entrepreneurs and financial planners all are weighing in. Maybe we all can get along!
OK, but then there’s @BehaviorGap who’s mixing it up on the New York Times Bucks blog with his post and napkin art on why variable life insurance is a “lousy” investment. CFP Carl Richards is a pro at simplifying a concept and then taking a position. In this case, the position is not universally shared–or appreciated.
We’ve gotten a kick out of his latest tweets–”Whoops I didn’t mean to start such a fiery debate about life insurance” and “I didn’t mean to take on an entire industry with one napkin.”
Really? Why do we find that so hard to believe? He knows what he’s doing–and how to juice up his readership and followership.
We’ve written about both Russ and Carl before, and we hate to repeat ourselves, but by example these guys are “teaching” the advanced social media class.
We’d like to second the question that @AdvPerspectives asked this morning via Twitter. Advisor Perspectives is an online publication whose target audience includes fee-only financial advisors. We’ve been a fan but, because we’re mad RSS-users (and AdvisorTweets is riddled with them), we always wondered why the site didn’t offer RSS feeds.
As of today, they do (subscribe here), which they announced via Twitter. And they ended the tweet with the question we’d like to ask, as well: Is this valuable for you?
We care for a few reasons.
Financial advisors who tweet are managing a firehose of information. RSS can make your work easier and more enjoyable. Those of you who are actively creating content beyond Twitter also have reason to consider RSS for your sites. If you don’t use RSS but are curious, watch this excellent Brainshark tutorial from RidgeWorth Investments.
We believe that the lack of RSS feeds is one of the glaring deficiencies of asset manager sites and we consistently urge our Rock The Boat Marketing clients to add RSS. We specifically cite financial advisors as a key audience who will benefit by using RSS subscriptions as opposed to needing to continually check back on a site.
But if you, the most wired financial advisors (online and tweeting), say that you’re lukewarm on RSS, maybe we need to dial back the urgency of getting RSS added. (We still think it’s a must feature to offer for other content consumers, though.)
Sixty percent of financial advisors who participated in today’s RidgeWorth Investments’ Webinar believe that social networking will grow in importance over the next year or two. One out of five said it already plays or will play a significant role in their 2010 marketing efforts–while one out of five have their doubts that it’s going to affect business in the near future.
Presenter Kip Gregory of The Gregory Group said the online poll results were consistent with a recent larger survey he conducted of 1,000 advisors.
Acknowledging the FINRA guidelines that pertain to social network participation (see slide from the presentation above), Gregory focused most of his talk on the networking potential and “intelligence-gathering capability” of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is beyond the scope of what we’re working on here at AdvisorTweets (reminds me of the time I asked for help with my radiator at JustTires).
But, we recommend the Webinar to you. A replay will be available starting tomorrow at www.ridgeworth.com/social-networking or you could request an email summary from www.winningclients.com/ridgeworth09webinar.php