Periscope the next frontier in social media for advisers?

The real-time video platform gives clients another way to get acquainted

Oct 28, 2015 @ 12:01 am

By Alessandra Malito

As more advisers start diving head first into the waters of social media, there's a new opportunity not too far off — Periscope.

With the real-time video platform, which allows viewers to tune in to live appearances and watch replays for 24 hours, advisers may have a new way to attract clients with their personalities and on-the-spot knowledge. The only problem is, compliance personnel and regulators haven't given the green light on the dos and don'ts.

“Theoretically, you can broadcast what differentiates you and your brand to a really open audience,” said Peter Hans, chief executive of Harvest, a social media and compliance consultancy company for financial services. “The reason I think advisers are leery of social media and compliance concerns is because they are marginally not well understood.”

“Something like Periscope, it is a little more nebulous,” Mr. Hans said.

The way regulators define Periscope use is blurry — it falls between public communication and broadcasting, with a mix of creating video but also the written word. Video can't be archived and words can't be preapproved as on YouTube or Twitter. It also falls on the lines of a live interview.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. considers social media posts as retail communications, not public appearances, which is geared more toward informational sessions.

It is unclear how regulators would consider Periscope within established regulatory rules. Finra did not respond for comment.

More and more advisers are taking up social media, ramping up their efforts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. A Cogent Reports' survey found 75% of the 228,000 advisers in the industry are actively using social media for professional reasons.

Brittney Castro, founder and chief executive of Financially Wise Women, has started using Periscope in her practice. She holds Periscope sessions, where she provides tips and discussions on various financial planning topics. On Tuesday, she talked about budgeting for grocery shopping and eating out.

“I thought it'd be a great way to connect with Financially Wise Women community live and offer something new to spice up the way I communicate with them,” Ms. Castro said. “It also gives them the ability to ask very specific money questions, that they may not feel comfortable asking on Facebook or Twitter.”

She has only used the social media channel a few times, but said it is important that advisers have a clear target audience if they decide to try it out.

Jamie Cox, a financial adviser with Harris Financial Group, said he sees a lot of potential with the platform.

Unlike Youtube, where advisers can make a video with a predetermined script, Periscope provides potential clients with a stage to connect with advisers in a real setting and judge competency and trustworthiness, he said.

“I think Periscope is a game changer for marketing and communicating at scale for advisers,” he said. “Talking about Topic A (like markets) is worthwhile, but the power of the platform for advisers is the ability to add dimension to their expertise and knowledge in a town-hall-type setting.”

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