Broker-dealers, asset managers using social media to connect with advisers

Hybrid Kalos Financial is working to boost its presence among advisers with videos and posts on LinkedIn

Nov 27, 2019 @ 2:39 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

For individual advisers, social media is a great way to amplify their unique voice, personality and expertise among retail investors. But that doesn't mean they should get all the fun.

Broker-dealers, asset managers and other businesses that market to advisory firms increasingly are using social media to connect with financial advisers.

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Kalos Financial, a hybrid broker-dealer and RIA that specializes in endowments, launched a campaign last year to boost its presence among financial advisers.

While its total numbers of followers and "likes" may not be as high as some of the industry's social media rock stars, Kalos chief operating officer Chrissy Lee said the posts have started conversations and deepened relationships with advisers.

"We have a different target audience. We are talking more industry-relevant, such as valuable tips for advisers," Ms. Lee said. "It could be relevant to end clients, but for the most part [content is] very relatable to people in the industry. That's how we differentiate it."

Most successful for Kalos have been quick (20- to 50-second) videos from industry events shared on LinkedIn and posts that highlight company events like an ugly sweater contest and a chili cook-off. The firm also launched a Facebook group to allow members of its Women Advisors Network to connect.

While Ms. Lee wouldn't say social media has been directly responsible for recruiting a new adviser to the firm, she has noticed advisers who aren't affiliated with Kalos engaging with the firm. The hope is that if a business conversation ever develops, the social media helped keep Kalos top of mind.

"It's more a steady drip of content so people are aware of the brand," Ms. Lee said.

Digital communication is also an effective tool for asset managers to use to connect with advisers and influence their investment decisions, according to a new study by J.D. Power.

Two-thirds of advisers who report high levels of engagement with an asset manager — which J.D. Power defines as interacting with at least two digital channels in the last two weeks — are very likely to increase investment with that asset manager.

By contrast, only 37% of advisers who report low digital engagement with a firm are likely to increase investment.

Engaging, differentiated digital content will be critical for asset managers' success or even survival in the world of shrinking fees and rising costs, said Mike Foy, director of wealth and lending intelligence at J.D. Power.

"As firms continue to shift more resources to digital, they need to be very strategic about how to deploy those resources to drive ROI," Mr. Foy said in statement.

Yet many corporate accounts are, for the most part, "pure garbage and a giant waste of time," according to Jud Mackrill, chief marketing officer at Carson Group. While firms do have to worry about compliance, too many social media posts end up sounding like a bad sales pitch.

[More: 2 firms managing $455 million in total join Carson Partners]

"No one wants to interact with your advisory business because you haven't given it any personality," Mr. Mackrill said.

This might explain why social media trails other digital channels, such as email, websites and webinars, when it comes to how advisers interact with asset managers. According to J.D. Power's study, advisers want more than product and market information, they want business-building ideas and content they can share with their clients.

"Spend some time with actual brands on Twitter and see how they are working to create an element of fun and surprise," Mr. Mackrill said. "You can do all of this without talking about the markets, performance or anything sensitive."

[More: Advisers need to be more personal on social media]

This is one reason Kalos turned to posting short videos, or "vlogs," Ms. Lee said.

"Your voice has to come out," she added. "You can't fake it. You've got to put your personality out there."

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