At this point most people in sales and relationship-oriented businesses realize that social media IS the future when it comes to improving brand image and marketing products and services. If not already as important as print and e-mail advertising, your social media profiles are quickly gaining traction. Plus, I feel they’re a much stickier medium for communicating since most people engage their social media outlets daily. Unfortunately for us in the financial advising community, social media within our industry is a grey area and has remained so for years. Advisors are genuinely getting fed up at this point and it seems financial regulators are gradually starting to cave in.
In the July edition of Research magazine, Chad Bockius, CEO of Socialware is interviewed. Socialware provides financial service firms with software and services to support their business growth using social media. While there is a variety of software currently available which attempts to achieve the goal of overseeing social media, Socialware was recently adopted by both Smith Barney (a large financial services firm) and American Portfolio Services (an independent broker/dealer). That’s huge news.
In the interview, Bockius states that many advisors around the country are already using social media– even where it may be violating the rules and regs of firms. The message regulators are receiving lately is that the demand for organized policy regarding social media is immensely strong—so strong that some advisors have mentioned leaving their current firms if other firms become the first to allow social media. It makes sense: why stick to old fashioned marketing methods such as mailers, seminars, etc, when technology allows us to sit behind a computer and effectively portray our brands to our exact target audiences.
Bockius believes that the adoption of social media software by a wirehouse firm (wirehouses generally have the most stringent compliance rules) will not only cause other large firms to adopt similar policies but it will rush them to do so because of lost business they will incur if certain firms begin using social media years before the rest.
It is noted in the interview that the software attempts to smoothly integrate core compliance goals including archiving and supervising activity, both necessary for FINRA compliance and getting this software wider adaptability within our industry. Socialware allows all content created on the major social networks to be archived, handling one of the major compliance concerns. It also has the capability of monitoring activity in real-time, using quarantining services for messages, another major concern of the regulators.
Bockius believes FINRA will come out later this year with additional clarity on social media. Advisors, myself included, hope this is the case. It ultimately will benefit our industry as a whole if we can obtain new and younger clients using modern marketing techniques
As always, feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments.
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