The amount of time most financial advisers spend on marketing could be trimmed dramatically by developing a consistent and well-crafted social media presence, according to Josh Brown, chief executive at Ritholtz Wealth Management.
Speaking Thursday morning in Miami at the MarketCounsel Summit, Mr. Brown justified his own prolific use of Twitter and blogging as a means of communicating with current and potential clients.
“I can rattle off a half-dozen advisers who started blogs in the last five years who are now running businesses that are exclusively powered by social media,” he said.
Mr. Brown, who has more than 240,000 followers on Twitter and keeps up a frantic publishing pace through his The Reformed Broker blog, didn't sugar-coat the effort it takes to build a social media footprint, but he stressed the necessity of it.
“A lot of advisers think managing client expectations happens after they become a client,” he said, emphasizing the advantages of incoming clients already being familiar with a firm's philosophy and approach for financial planning.
In addition to client communications, Mr. Brown said his firm has found that social media can be a recruitment vehicle.
“Social media has played a big role in us finding talent, and I think that's going to continue to change the way firms recruit,” he said.
On the matter of actually blogging and tweeting, Mr. Brown advised jumping in by just launching a blog and then publishing short posts as often as possible.
“You have to have an idea readers want to consume, and just go with that. Blog posts should never be longer than 500 words, because if they can't see the bottom of the post from a desktop computer people won't start reading it,” he said. “Build an audience by writing consistently. The hard part is starting and the second hardest part is maintaining some rhythm. Consistency is more important than brilliance.”
In terms of Twitter, Mr. Brown contrasted his firm's corporate account, @RitholtzWealth, with his personal account, @ReformedBroker.
He said the corporate account, which has fewer than 3,200 followers, is designed to be more professional looking and just post information related to the firm and its business.
But when it comes to his personal Twitter account, Mr. Brown said he tries to have more fun while subscribing to a few basic rules.
“I don't fight with people on Twitter, ever,” he said. “People will say horrible things to me and I will never respond. Anyone can get themselves in trouble if they don't think twice before they hit publish.”