Social media is a broad umbrella - and is not exclusive to marketing and business chatter conversations. Advisors4Advisors and new emerging sites like fabeetle are examples of deeper dives into the social conversation. As we all now know - 140 characters is enough room to point to a conversation - but not enough to finish it (aka Twitter).
This has validated what many leading edge analysts have been stating for some time - the power of influence and even decision making has been shifting to the customer and away from the brands and service providers. The clear validation is reflected in major Fortune 500 firms budgeting serious dollars on social media in 2010, following the leading edge firms like Comcast, Dell and Sony.
On the wealth management front - sites like Advisors4Advisors and fabeetle.com begin to bridge the discussion between service providers and advisors (A4A) or clients and advisors (fabeetle.com). This shift clearly impacts due diligence. When considering a technology solution for operations for your practice - it is likely your team will consider the hundreds of reviews on tools for our sector right here on A4A. Those reviews will give you various tidbits of useful, front lines experience to take to the vendors you are considering. A negative review by a user does not necessarily cancel out your evaluation of a vendor's application - however - it will certainly inform your questions for them as you proceed through demos and quotes.
Similarly, for some time now your web site has been the medium through which you introduce your practice, staff and services to the public. Via select social media and/or community platforms, like fabeetle.com, your practice may now build out a profile to insure your products and services reach audiences that may not find your web site organically. It extends your brand into new channels - allowing you to still control how you present your business while reaching new prospects.
This word of mouth power is powerful as it enables advisors to help one another with advice, and is certainly a forum for bloggers on this site to amplify what we see in the reviews. Moreover for clients and prospects - it is a new medium to either discuss their experiences with you as a referral to their "networks" in addition to individual referrals.
Positioning your business to participate in this shift is driven by your ability to articulate a clear profile of what you offer as products and services when sharing with the public - or identifying what you are willing to share of your experiences with other advisors (on sites like A4A).