How's this for a reason to encourage reluctant advisers to get on social media: References to people with accounts on Facebook, Twitter and the like will increasingly come up higher than those who don’t in Google searches.
Google Inc. is constantly changing its search algorithms, and having social-media accounts raises one's results, Tina Powell, Beacon Wealth Management LLC's director of business management, said at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors’ national conference in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
About 45% of advisers and planners use social media for work even though up to three quarters use these sites personally, according to a survey by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. that was released in February.
"You're robbing yourself of a very influential conversation you could have" with prospects or clients by not using Twitter and other social-media sites, Ms. Powell said.
Social media "amplifies" an adviser's message and increases communication between advisers and their clients beyond websites and conference calls, she said.
"It's all about transparency," Ms. Powell said. "The adviser who has tweets and is out there trumps the one who doesn't."
Eventually, all clients and prospects are going to require this level of transparency, and many already check out an adviser online before making that first prospective call, she said. Social media is an especially important tool for reaching younger clients and prospects.
"We are having discussions with Millennials right now. Why wait 10 years until they need us?" she said.
While these and other business reasons for getting on social media — such as efficiently sharing information with clients, identifying prospects, showing clients that an adviser is engaged and building a brand — the real return from social media is in its relationship-building abilities, she said.
"Social media is not about [return on investment], it's really about return on relationships," she said.
Ms. Powell said advisers who are nervous about compliance issues or otherwise reluctant to try Twitter should at least get an account, which costs nothing and requires no new software or hardware. Follow some financial experts, some advisers, financial journalists and others with fresh ideas.
"It's like eavesdropping in a global conference room," she said.
Advisers also should be claiming their names by setting up accounts at social-networking sites with their names and their firm names so that no one else can.
"At least go claim that real estate; it costs you nothing," Ms. Powell said.