Some advisers still not following social media movement

As many in the industry endorse the merits of online networks, some are bucking the trend by eschewing LinkedIn and Twitter altogether

Feb 11, 2015 @ 1:26 pm

By Alessandra Malito

Social media may be trending for some financial advisers but others aren't “following” the movement.

While a stream of new advisers are looking for their Twitter handle names and finding creative ways to describe themselves in their LinkedIn profiles, there are still those who purposely choose to avoid social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn.

Gil Armour, a financial adviser at SagePoint Financial in San Diego, said he's had little return on using his LinkedIn profile.

“I know social media is all in the news now,” Mr. Armour said. “But nothing would ever happen with it.”

For his business, social media isn't particularly necessary. His clients are in their 40s to 70s and never ask him to connect on the Internet. Only a few years from retirement, he said there's no use implementing it into his work now. If he had a decade, though, he'd probably delegate time to it, and said advisers trying to attract a younger crowd may find more of a benefit than he does.

“With a couple years to go, in my case it just doesn't make sense,” Mr. Armour said. “I don't think it's hurting my business. There might be some opportunities out there I'm missing, but I don't see that as a major hindrance to my business.”

Scot Hanson, a financial adviser at EFS Advisors in Shoreview, Minn., agreed. He too questioned if he was missing opportunities and said that his clients didn't use social media. Instead, he chooses to email or speak on the phone with his clients, who are mostly multi-generational.

Using email or speaking on the phone adds a personal touch, advisers said.

“What I'm doing seems to be working,” Mr. Hanson said.

He said that although common wisdom holds that older advisers should teach newer advisers the ropes, he thinks it should be the opposite with social media. And if he had someone to do social media for him, he would consider working on it. Either way, he's still learning.

“A lot of it is work,” he said.

And if the posts are not fruitful and meaningful, they may not be worth it.

That's what Don Wilde, owner and financial adviser at W Financial in Gilbert, Ariz., said.

“Do I just want to flood the Internet and social media with content they can get anywhere?” he said, adding that flooding a person's social media feeds could lower the perception of that brand. “You want your brand to be held at a high standard, kind of like Donald Trump says. His brand is all about quality and luxury and that's all he wants his brand to be known for. I think advisers should follow suit.”

One big concern among advisers who choose not to use social media is compliance. Advisers note that social media posts have to go through pre-posting approval and they fear doing something wrong by accident.

Mr. Hanson said while he didn't want to post too much, he also didn't want to make a mistake.

"That might be short-sighted but we have seen too many examples with people going down in flames on social media," Mr. Wilde said.

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