If you accept that social networks are the new cigar bars, then you also understand that Linkedin is the new locker-room. An hour or two on Facebook can be as productive for prospecting as a cocktail party, and Twitter may be a better place to find prospects than networking at a charity event.
Advisors are definitely intrigued by social networking.
According to our survey of advisors, 85% of independent financial advisors have now joined Facebook, Plaxo, Linkedin, or some other social networking site. Moreover, 86% of those polled and who have joined Linkedin said they had joined to build relationships, with 71% saying they joined to find new clients.
At a time when investors are going to be looking for new advisors, connecting with prospects on social networking websites makes sense.
No wonder this Friday’s session of the Financial Crisis Webinar Series, “Hand-Picking Prospects Using Linkedin,” has already attracted more than 300 registrants.
Yet most advisors have little experience with social networking.
Nearly half of the advisors we polled said they have 20 or fewer connections on the network they are most active on, and 58% said they log in to their networks only once or week or less.
In addition, this new marketing medium raises serious compliance questions.
For instance, Linkedin allows advisors to solicit recommendations from their connections and display them on their profiles. Displaying a recommendation from a client could be deemed a violation of rules prohibiting RIAs from using testimonials in marketing.
John Comer, our guest speaker for this week’s webinar about Linkedin, says that until regulators directly address this recommendation issue, an Investment Adviser Representative would be wise not to show recommendations from clients on his Linkedin profile. Clients can choose to display a recommendation of you on their profiles, however, Comer says.
Comer, founder of a financial services marketing consulting firm, recently completed in-depth research into how advisors can utilize Linkedin. This week’s session is the first of two featuring Comer.
This Friday’s session focuses on how an advisor can use his network to look for people likely to make good clients. On Friday, May 1 at 4 p.m. EST, Comer will return to speak about how advisors can market their practice on Linkedin to attract new clients.
Because of advisors’ growing interest in this topic, we’ve added a presentation to address compliance issues of social networking. Brian Hamburger, an attorney and founder of MarketCounsel, a compliance consulting firm to advisors nationwide, speaks Friday, April 3, at 4 p.m. about Compliance Challenges Of Blogs and Social Networking.
Posted: 2009-03-25 00:40:00