A testament to the changing social world: Last year when a room full of financial advisors was asked how many of them were using LinkedIn, only three to four hands were raised.
When Jared Trexler, brand manager at Ed Slott and Co. LLC., asked the same question during a session at FSI’s Financial Advisor Summit, nearly every hand in the room was raised.
“It shows the power that social has had in the industry,” Trexler said.
The roundtable panel examined the social media best practices from three financial advisors – Kim Gaxiola of TechGirl Financial; Brian Kuhn, financial planner and manager of PSG Clarity; Andrew Norman, principal and general agent of VOYA Financial Advisors – and moderator Trexler.
“In the real world, the average person views the choice of their financial advisor as the choice of any other utility or service that they have to hire – somebody who fixes their roof or does their taxes or anything else,” Kuhn said. “In today’s day and age, statistically speaking, it can be documented that those people are going to Google your name … and that also relates to social media. They might go on the social media channel that they like best and search for you and see what they find.”
Interestingly, Gaxiola, Kuhn and Norman each had a different take on how handle compliance in the evolving social media world.
Norman said compliance was largely managed by a third party vendor, Socialware.
“It’s handled for me, and it couldn’t be easier,” he said.
Socialware is just one type of provider that offers software and services for organizations to stay compliant while marketing through social media or generating business through relationships with customers and prospects on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
“Socialware has done an extraordinary job managing that,” Norman said. “They’ve done a great job of making sure they could onboard associates in a timely manner … and they do a good job of turnaround of reviewing the posts in a timely manner through the Socialware platform.”
Gaxiola, who comes from a wirehouse background, chose her independent firm Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc .partly because of the social media initiatives they already had in place.
“I remember back at the wirehouse one of the things they told us when we were really wanting to use social media was, ‘You have to remember it took us five years to get email so it will probably take five years before we’re all using social media,’” she said. “And that blew my mind.”
At Cambridge, Gaxiola said they already had a social media guidebook. “[A]nd that guidebook was my compliance manual,” she added. “Everything I needed to do was in that guidebook. I follow those rules, and it’s worked out real nice for me.”
Meanwhile, Kuhn’s broker-dealer firm has taken a stricter stance on social media compliance.
“I’m not even allowed to post something to social media, no matter what it is, until it’s been preapproved,” Kuhn said. “From a compliance standpoint, I have to maximize the value of the content I’m creating. And my goal is lead generation.”
Kuhn described his tactics to make the most of this procedure. When he submits content, a blog, for example, he said he finds a way to maximize the value of that content by spreading it as far as he can.
“Don’t just post it on your website and hope someone comes across your website and reads it … because what traffic is there to your website?” he said. “So, specifically write articles that you can give to third-party sites that actually have traffic. From a compliance standpoint, all I have to do is get the article approved and then it goes a hundred different places on the Internet and thousands of people read it.”
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