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5 Themes from SIFMA's 2016 Social Media Seminar

Social media is transforming the advisor-client relationship in very significant ways, from enhancing client services to enabling advisors to authentically communicate with clients and prospects. This year’s SIFMA Social Media Seminar, which aptly took place in the heart of San Francisco’s financial services district on February 25, brought together over a hundred professionals and thought leaders in wealth management, marketing, compliance, and social media to explore how to maximize the use of social platforms amidst an ever-changing regulatory framework. Here’s a look at some of the key themes that emerged throughout the day. 
Regulations and the future of wealth management are top of mind
Our own Founder and CEO Clara Shih (@clarashih) kicked things off during a fireside chat with John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management-US (@RBC), to discuss the role of social media and digital technology and what that means for the wealth management industry. At the onset, they discussed the impact the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary rule might have on advisors and brokers, emphasizing that advisors must continue to add value by embracing technologies and delivering information when, where, and how consumers want. 

Clara shared an engaging slide that illustrated the ways today’s clients want to engage with advisors–both online and offline–setting the tone and thought leadership that became an integral part of the discussions throughout the rest of the day.

Social business is everybody’s business

In a lively panel presentation on the importance of integrating social media into corporate and financial advisor communications, Sunayna Tuteja (@sunaynat), Director of Social Media and Online Communities at TD Ameritrade, gave everyone a stark reminder that social business is everybody’s business, and social media can no longer be disassociated from a company’s overall marketing strategy. As we’ve often said before, instead of relegating social media to a social media marketing intern, for example, companies must “move social media out of silos and into total integration,” as explained by Dan Greenberg (@dangb), Sr. Account Executive of Financial Services at Twitter, during another panel discussion. 

Consumption shifts will expand into mobile and video platforms

LinkedIn’s Head of North America Financial Services Marketing, Menaka Thillaiampalam (@menakathill), along with Twitter’s Sr. Account Executive of Financial Services, Dan Greenberg, and DoubleDutch CEO and Co-founder, Lawrence Coburn (@lawrencecoburn), discussed some of the key trends facing the financial services industry, mainly centered around the consumer consumption shifts that are currently taking place. One major consumer trend is that the high-net worth market is growing and the way consumers process money will change. Menaka calls it a “societal shift, more so than a generational shift.”
Case in point: “71% of millennials would rather go to the dentist than listen to what their banks are saying,” says Menaka, according to a recent LinkedIn study on the mindset of affluent millennial investors. In reaching out to millennial investors, Twitter’s Greenberg advised the audience to make mobile–and even video–part of their marketing plans, stating that “mobile has doubled the time we spend online.” Moreover, the use of social media has boomed from 7% of individuals in 2010 to 65% today, he says. “And with those that have more than $75,000 of investable assets, the use is very high.”

The discussion moved to the topic of content and the need to focus on communications around social media and educational content. “75% of investors want their financial advisors to give them educational content online, and 35% of prospective clients turn to social media and other online platforms for advice,” says Menaka. “They are using social media to validate their choices, so thought leadership should be seen as a tactical or strategic step,” she said.

The power of the authentic voice (Hint: Create content that makes you seem human)

According to the presenters on the financial advisor panel, authenticity remains a critical means for communicating and engaging with today’s clients and prospects. The group discussed some of their most successful social media strategies for enhancing communication via social media platforms and highlighted how content that resonates is content that wins the day. For example, Karen Goodwin (@karenjgoodwin), a financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial, talked about her successful use of Facebook to promote a Mother’s Day event. Chris Norton (@RogersNortonWM) of Raymond James spoke about how social media allowed him to garner community support for an employee’s child who was participating in an important Little League series.  

Overall, social media allows advisors to grow their customer base with the right type of people.

Evaluate social media compliance in context

Last, but not least, our own VP of Legal and Compliance, Yasmin Zarabi (@yasminzarabi), along with Marc Gilman, Executive Director of Enterprise Legal at Morgan Stanley, and Michael Lisi, Director of Litigation Support at Fidelity Investments, ended on a strong note on a social media compliance panel moderated by Hardy Calicott, Partner at Sidley Austin. Yasmin reinforced to the audience and fellow panelists that compliance is still a large component of any digital strategy, but the rules are really not so black and white. In other words, context really matters. When you look and evaluate whether someone is doing something wrong, you have to look at the totality of the circumstances, she added. 

For information on how to boost social business across your organization, download our latest Hearsay Social Adoption Guide.
Check out our events page for upcoming event information, and please join us as we continue the conversation at #OmnichannelAdvisor.

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