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Practice Management > Marketing and Communications > Social Media

Josh Brown: Tapping Social Media’s ‘Stratospheric’ Potential

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He has 109,000 followers on Twitter (TWTR) where he identifies himself as “chairman of the Twitter Federal Reserve” among other titles. But all kidding aside, Josh Brown, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, is very serious about Twitter and says financial advisors should be, too.

“Social media is now at the center of building a [financial advisor] practice,” says Brown, who’s also creator of The Reformed Broker blog.

Since 2010 Twitter has gone from a “what is Twitter?” application used primarily by reporters and day traders to a “totally accepted and expected” outlet for financial advisors, says Brown.

“Over the next 5 to 10 years your clients will look to see if you’re on Twitter,” says Brown. “If you’re not, start to have some presence…. Twitter is a marketing tool,” but its use in the financial advisory community is in the early stages and has been limited, says Brown.

Two Twitter-compatible live-streaming video applications — Periscope, which Twitter recently bought, and Meerkat — will boost the platform’s reach even further, according to Brown, who spoke at the recent ETF.Com Global Macro conference in New York. These apps could be “game changing by the end of the year,” he said.

‘You can do your own talk show or live Q&A” on these apps, which has “stratospheric implications,” says Brown, who’s one of several regulars on CNBC’s “Halftime Show.” Advisors can also make videos to show on YouTube, which coupled with a search-engine optimized keyword in the title “can be devastatingly effective,” says Brown. “If you make a two- to three-minute polished video and don’t stutter or look like an ax murderer you will probably get a lead from that.”

Brown doesn’t use Facebook for work — “I don’t like to hit up friends of friends, mixing work with pleasure” — and isn’t a fan of LinkedIn (LNKD) for work purposes either. “LinkedIn was “the original social media tool for advisors because the connections were already there… but now LinkedIn is pretty well saturated for the industry and harder to stand out,” says Brown.

LinkedIn is in fact the most popular and primary social media platform for financial advisors, according to a Cogent report published in late May. Seventy-four percent of advisors surveyed used LinkedIn for professional purposes, including 59% who considered it their number one social media platform. In contrast, 75% used YouTube, but only 6% considered it their primary platform, and 65% used Facebook, 12% of which considered it central platform. Twitter came in last. Thirty-two percent of advisors used it for professional purposes but only 16% considered it a primary resource. Still, the survey noted that “Twitter, to use social media parlance, is definitely trending.”

“Get social,” says Brown. “Start the blog. Demonstrate your points of view. You will be amazed at what the results will be. You’ll attain an instant following if you’re genuine and smart.”

And, for compliance purposes, he warns, “Don’t talk about performance.”

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