Sending a LinkedIn invitation and getting a $70 million account was all in a day’s work for one Morgan Stanley financial advisor—not all in the same day, mind you, but in the sense of day-in day-out use of social media that the firm actively encourages.
“It was an advisor in our New York City area who serves the small business owner segment,” says Lauren Boyman, head of digital strategy for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
Boyman told ThinkAdvisor in an interview on Monday that this advisor “is very systematic about how he uses LinkedIn,” participating in group discussions targeted to CFOs or CEOs of small businesses.
Through disciplined activity in this market—Boyman says there are nearly 2 million small business owners using LinkedIn—the advisor “gets himself known as a knowledge leader within the small business space…After he has a roster of people he knows and has established a name for himself, he invites them for more personal interaction.”
While the large account, from a technology consulting and services company, may be an outlier in terms of size, Boyman (left) says Morgan Stanley advisors enrolled in the firm’s social media program are seeing positive results.
“For those advisors who are using social and doing so on a daily basis—meaning it’s actually part of their practice, something they have absorbed—40% have gotten a new client,” she says, adding that a failure to be consistent will yield no better results than trying to diet by going to the gym once a month.
“It has to be part of their business development and marketing efforts on a regular basis,” she says.
(Wirehouse advisors aren’t the only advisors who are increasingly using social media for business building. See these recent ThinkAdvisor articles:
Boyman says some 4,000 Morgan Stanley advisors—about 25% of the advisor force—are enrolled in the firm’s social media program, which fully rolled out a little over a year ago, after a yearlong pilot program.
She says about 75% of these advisors have only a LinkedIn account and about 25% both a LinkedIn and Twitter account. The firm is currently working on a pilot program for Facebook, which Boyman calls “tricky,” citing worries over a crossover between personal and professional usage.
Morgan Stanley provides its advisors with compliance-friendly, pre-approved content, so that advisors needn’t spend lots of time finding relevant material, and it archives all communications and tracks audience engagement—for example seeing what information audiences are sharing and surveying advisors to see what kind of business they’re bringing in.
In a new initiative, the firm just added a whole slew of new content that goes beyond the market and investment strategy focused material they were using exclusively until a week or two ago.
The new content, provided by American Express Publishing, includes material on golf, travel and leisure, food and wine. While it’s too early to make meaningful comparisons as to which content area is most effective, Boyman says that so far at least the lifestyle-oriented content—on subjects such as the five new wine regions with lots of potential or state-of-the-art golf equipment—is being shared as much as their most popular finance-oriented articles.