Thursday, August 16, 2012

Halloran and Thies, The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors

I am an antisocial luddite. Well, that’s an overstatement, but I am one of the seemingly handful of people who have assiduously avoided Facebook. I do have a bare-bones LinkedIn listing, but quite frankly I’m not sure why. That said, I realize the extraordinary power of social media as do, of course, Matthew Halloran and Crystal Thies, the authors of The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors: How to Use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to Build and Grow Your Business (Bloomberg/Wiley, 2012). After all, social media has overtaken pornography as the number one activity on the web!

This handbook offers financial advisors who are able to use social media for business purposes (FINRA and the SEC have raised some compliance issues here) but aren’t sure how to get started a step-by-step instruction manual. The authors describe how to set up accounts on the various social media platforms and how to use these platforms to market advisory services. Although most of the marketing can be done at no cost, there are tools such as TwitHawk that make the task less time consuming. The book also includes a chapter on how to advertise on Facebook.

LinkedIn is the authors’ favorite social network because it has the most affluent users. Two LinkedIn studies, one done in partnership with Cogent Research and the other in partnership with FTI Consulting, produced some staggering statistics. Among their findings, 73% of the five million “affluent investors” with $100,000 or more in investable assets use LinkedIn to research investment decisions and 62% of financial advisors actively prospecting on LinkedIn over the previous year gained new clients from that process. (pp. 156-57)

Financial advisors who want to plunge into the world of social media have a lot to learn, and this handbook has a lot to teach, from the nitty-gritty of getting started to the necessary follow-up marketing work. Readers will discover which colors would be best for their Facebook page, how to create events (for instance, a shredding party after April 15th every year), and how to share unique, beneficial information (giving something for nothing). The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors is an engaging, instructive guide to a powerful marketing tool.

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