Raymond James Financial Inc. has become the latest financial services firm to help minimize the compliance barrier to wider use of social media.
The firm is using the Socialite platform from Actiance Inc. so that its financial advisers can use social media to prospect for new clients and connect with existing clients while still being compliant with Finra rules.
This means that the firm's 1,500 employee advisers and roughly 3,300 affiliated independent advisers will be able to embrace social media without worrying about getting rapped by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.
Carol Jones, whose New Mexico Investment Advisors has been a Raymond James affiliate for 14 years, said that she welcomes the new tool, which has been available for two weeks. (Her name was provided to me by Raymond James.)
She said that she has spent two frustrating years trying to embrace social media, especially her favorite venue, Twitter.
“This [new application] allows me to post items and have them up on the site in anywhere from an hour to a day and a half later,” Ms. Jones said, noting that compliance remains a necessary counterpoint to immediacy in her area of the advisory world.
The platform also is the conduit through which the firm allows advisers to use a library of preapproved and pre-written tweets and posts.
“If I don't want to post something that will be relevant in two days, then I don't need to be doing it,” Ms. Jones said. “Socialite will be helpful; you take marketing ideas from wherever you can get them.”
Prior to using Socialite, Raymond James advisers were limited to posting preapproved, static profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
The new technology at Raymond James streamlines what used to be a time-consuming manual process of submitting every tweet or status update to the firm's compliance department for review. With Socialite, advisers are able to manage access and share content across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter through a single interface.
Sacha Millstone and her assistant, Patty Grabiec, of The Millstone Evans Group, also have signed up.
“We've been on it a week and we are really interested in working with social media in a better way — we have been letting management know that we were very interested in having something for some time now,” Ms. Millstone said.
“The 75 preapproved messages available for use are a tremendous marketing advantage for us,” Ms. Grabiec said.
In effect, Socialite acts as an adviser's social-media home base. It's the place where an adviser creates his or her own content (instead of within the Twitter or Facebook sites themselves). The content is fed automatically into the Raymond James approval process, and from there, if approved, it is automatically published to each or all three of the social-media venues.
As the hub for all adviser social-media activity, Socialite insures that all content and actions are recorded for regulatory purposes. Those capabilities include the recording of social-media conversations and messages engaged in by the adviser; the capture of posts made by the adviser, as well as any commentary contributed, all of which is archived and available for review.
Advisers should keep in mind that the product is a proxy-based system, meaning that it relies on software running on the machine the adviser will be using for social media.
Socialite should cut down significantly on the time required for advisers to publish custom social-media content — which will be anywhere from a few minutes to at most a day or two, according to Mike White, Raymond James' marketing director.
It also will allow Raymond James to see which messages used by other advisers are the most popular and which have been “liked,” “forwarded” or “retweeted” by clients, he said.
“We selected Actiance because it enabled us to execute our strategy of not only wanting to be compliant but because it was the best match for supporting our marketing efforts,” Mr. White said.
Email Davis D. Janowski at firstname.lastname@example.org