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Practice Management

Focus on the social platforms where your target demographic is most engaged.

This Practice Management article is intended for financial advisors only (registered representatives of broker dealers or associated persons of Registered Investment Advisors).
 

By now you've likely mastered the big three: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. What about all the other social platforms out there?

You don't need to join every new platform. "It's getting overwhelming how many tools there are," says Stephanie Sammons, founder of Wired Advisor, a digital marketing firm for advisors. Instead, focus on the ones that have the most people who are the most engaged, she says. "Find the places where your target demographic spends time online."

Here's a list of the other social media tools you might be hearing about:

  • Pinterest: The visual content-sharing site allows users to "pin" images, videos, and other items to their boards. With 10 million users, Pinterest holds a lot of potential for advisors, says Alexandra Smith, a client services and marketing manager at Oranj, a new wealth management application for advisors. While there aren't many advisors using the platform, some firms are incorporating infographics, useful articles, and images of their city and places to eat, she says. "I'm sure many other firms can do the same and add their own unique elements," Smith says. Staying compliant on Pinterest is not quite as easy as Twitter, but not nearly as difficult as Facebook and LinkedIn, says Steve Marsh, founder and chief executive of the archiving firm Smarsh. It's the "nooks and crannies" of Facebook and LinkedIn that that can make compliance aspect more challenging.

  • YouTube: The social video hosting and sharing site is also the second-largest search engine, says Sammons. But if you want to use YouTube to host videos promoting your practice, be careful. "Advisors have to be comfortable on video if they are going to do it professionally," she says. "I've seen some really bad videos."

  • Vine: Twitter's mobile micro-video app allows users to create and share six-second videos. Of all the new social tools out there, Vine is the favorite of Joanna Belbey, social media and compliance specialist for the compliance technology firm Actiance. "It's fun, but we don't know if it will work," she says. "I'm not sure you would want your advisors creating little Vine videos, but perhaps a corporate video would work." As with anything new, financial firms should test it to see if it works, and only then deploy it for advisor use, Belbey adds.

  • Foursquare: The location-based social networking mobile application offers privileges to users who check in often enough at a given location. Some businesses will offer special deals to customers who check in regularly. Victor Gaxiola, also a social media expert for Actiance, says he’s started using the tool for "check-in specials" and to keep up with friends' activities.

Advisors also can check out some of the social media tools—Klout, Google+, and Instagram—mentioned in previous articles.


Samantha Allen is a regular contributor to Financial Planning.

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