Advisors and their firms know they have to “work smarter” online. At a social media conference Thursday in San Francisco sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, leaders in the technology and financial industries came together to learn what that means in concrete terms.
More than 100 participants heard opening remarks by Hearsay Systems CEO Clara Shih, who remains upbeat but clear on the acute challenges faced by advisors today.
“You can’t just post and post” on social media, Shih said. “You also have to take advantage of big data opportunities.”
This is what working productively is all about, she explains: “The [tech] revolution is changing all our jobs, and we have to learn how to use analytics to work smarter.”
For instance, broad corporate messages can get lost online. But communications about what advisors are doing in the branch offices and local communities stand out, especially when they include photos and videos.
Facebook Senior Client Partner Scott Shapiro agrees. “It all comes down to one word: relevancy,” he said.
“We are standing at the crossroads,” Shih said. “We can complain that this gives us more to do, but there are also opportunities ahead. The point is to stay relevant as firms look at the next generations [and move] to ensure that robo-advisors don’t take over.”
How can advisors best position themselves as a better source of financial services and advice than robo-advisors?
It comes down to being accessible online – aka “being Googleable,” Shih says.
In addition, she adds, potential clients want to be able to easily review what advisors share online and what can be gleaned from advisor and firm websites, Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and so on.
How much do and how often do advisors share? Do they post helpful educational materials often via social media? How do advisors help clients in ways that robos do not?
There are times, so-called trigger points, when younger investors do seek out live advice.
Younger generations, “when they want personalization, will move in these relationships to discuss their goals” and specific issues, said Moniza Masud, Twitter’s account manager for financial services.
As these investors compare what computers can do for them vs. the role advisors play, “This is when personalization is critical,” Masud said.