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Forget the slideshow: There's only one reason advisers need social media

May 9, 2012 @ 9:08 am

By Mark Bruno

Here's a surprising stat from our 2012 survey of independent broker-dealers: 79.5% of independent broker-dealers permit their reps and advisers to use social media for professional purposes. (See the list here.)

It would be simple to look at this figure and conclude that social media is a widely accepted — and frequently used — distribution and communication tool for the advice industry.

But we're the media. So allow me to flip this stat on its head: 20.5% the largest broker-dealers still do not allow their reps to use social media to officially market themselves or communicate with clients.

Granted, there has been some progress. Last year, 73.4% of IBDs we surveyed allowed for social media use.

But by August, Facebook should have an estimated 1 billion users. Twitter is on track for 500 million.

Clearly your clients are there. And based on our data, four out of every five IBDs you compete with are there.

What's keeping you on the sidelines? Yes, compliance is an issue — but clearly less of an obstruction than you think if most of your peers are participating in the conversation.

To be clear, advisers who don't — or can't — use social media are not just losing the opportunity to engage with existing clients, or position themselves as experts on a local and national level. This is not about leaving assets on the table.

This is about one thing.

Relevance.

Just like the traditional media world has evolved and has been forced to adapt, invent and innovate — advisers and the brokerage industry will be forced to do the same.

In the news business, content will always be king. But if no one reads it, does it matter?

In your business, quality advice and trust will always rule. But there are now many more voices in the conversation. And if you don't have a voice — how can anyone listen?

There have been dozens of articles, columns and blogs written ad naseaum about the 700 reasons advisers need to embrace social media

We'll spare you that slide show. There's just one reason advisers need participate in social media: Relevance.

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