As some advisors have embraced social media, others have stood still wondering what all the techno-fuss is about. Even some advisors who are enthusiastic about other forms of technology that can streamline the processes used in their practices, such as CRM and account reporting, can be cool to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Advisors with affluent clients want to know if social media will help them with their particular practice needs.
Different social media platforms are better for certain kinds of communication. The other important point is the variety of individuals or groups with which advisors communicate on a daily basis: clients, staff, broker-dealers or custodians and outside professionals working on a specific client issue, among others.
While many advisors have decided to engage with social media for professional use—and others stand behind the gates of compliance at their firms—almost all have been focused on communication with clients and prospecting for new ones. For advisors who form advanced planning teams to develop financial plans for clients, social media offers options for collaboration that offers more sustained communication than what can be achieved by a series of e-mails, conference calls, or in-person meetings
Identify goals first
Initially, forget about the technology itself. Many advisors think they need a blog, wiki, forum, or a LinkedIn page, without fully understanding the implications. According to Forester Research, the right way to approach social media for internal or external use is to list your goals.
• Document Sharing—A database to share documents and perhaps let others make updates
• Brainstorming or “Ideation”—A discussion area to test new concepts with colleagues (“ideation” is a term many in social media use)
• Project Management—If you don’t use a project management system, you can manage, update and sign off on project tasks for individual clients or for general firm endeavors. If you have a system, social media platforms can support and chronicle ongoing discussions especially for long-term projects
• Connecting to External Professionals—Each new client initiative that uses a team can have a devoted discussion forum that’s available on an invitation-only basis. These forums also serve as an efficient place for follow-up to in-person meetings and conference calls.
• Connecting to Geographically-Dispersed Staff and External Professionals—Given the number of advisors who spend more time visiting high-net-worth clients than conducting meetings in their own offices, the advantages of new communications channels are clear. Many advisors also have licenses in multiple states to follow the needs of their wealthy clients. When your Chicago client sells investment property in Texas, holding ongoing online conversations with the local real estate agent and lawyer may help the deal go smoother.
• Learning Groups/Training—Advisor study groups and staff training can use collaboration communities to supplement in-person meetings and create a repository for advice and documents to share.