Need expert — but cheap — advice on social networking? Talk to your intern

Vast storehouse of Twitter and Facebook knowledge on tap; 'it's the world young people live in'

May 9, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

By Andrew Osterland

Not sure what to have your intern do at the office? Make him or her your social media critic.

Renee Boulger, director of client services at Keystone Financial Services, told advisers at the Peak Advisor Alliance conference in Phoenix, that young interns can be invaluable in crafting an effective social media strategy to communicate with clients and generate new prospects.

A 20 year old intern with no financial background working at Ms. Boulger's office ended up being a huge asset in helping Keystone better use social media channels. “She told us it was dull and that she wanted to know more about the firm and about Josh,” said Ms. Boulger, who works with LPL Financial adviser Josh Nelson. “She's in college and is going to be a teacher. She has no financial expertise but we just wanted her to give her impressions of what we were doing.”

Among the ideas that the intern inspired was an “Ask the Expert” feature on the firm's Facebook site that enables users to ask questions about taxes and financial planning -- something Ms. Boulger said has drawn a lot of interest. The intern also convinced them to more actively publicize events they were sponsoring in the community.

Keystone now has a static strategy of sending out content pre-approved by its broker-dealer LPL, and a more active process of communicating on more timely news and events they're involved in. The intern also helped them be more consistent with their messaging across social media channels. “It's the world young people live in and she was a big help to us.”

Kent Patrick, a recent graduate from college attending the conference, interned with another LPL adviser and was asked to assess the adviser's social media efforts. “I was doing grunt work and I guess proved I could handle more and they asked me to look at their social media,” said Mr. Patrick. “They weren't doing much -- posting some articles and pictures. I ran with it and quickly realized it was a big headache for them.”

He ended up suggesting the adviser outsource the job to a third party.

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