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Jan 3, 2010 9:25 am

Has anyone had any experience with using social networking and/or internet tools to market?  Seems it might be a good way to reach out to those on-line savvy non-baby-boomers and at least develop some leads.

Jan 3, 2010 10:55 am

Most (if not all) firms limit reps' ability to market via non-compliance-approved sites.

Jan 3, 2010 9:08 pm

I've found it useful to use groups in Facebook to find people with companies I couldn't have found any other way.  Without asking them to be "friends" I can still take the names and find a great majority in the phone book.  I can also see when they are "friends" with others I already know and then ask my "friends" for an intro.  The best use of this is actually knocking on the door of the person found in Facebook that knows someone you do with the company and casually mentioning that you have a mutual friend.  That makes for a warm lead without having to ask for the referral.  I don't think any of our companies can really say anything about what we join as long as we don't mention business on the social site.



Jan 3, 2010 10:29 pm
Rhett Captain:

Has anyone had any experience with using social networking and/or internet tools to market? Seems it might be a good way to reach out to those on-line savvy non-baby-boomers and at least develop some leads.







E harmony?

Jan 3, 2010 10:54 pm

I use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to drive traffic to the site. We recently started doing it aggressively. Of course, our site sucks, so we need to work on that more.



But, our traffic is up and have even received a couple of clients off of it.

Jan 4, 2010 8:26 am
breaking news:

I've found it useful to use groups in Facebook to find people with companies I couldn't have found any other way.  Without asking them to be "friends" I can still take the names and find a great majority in the phone book.  I can also see when they are "friends" with others I already know and then ask my "friends" for an intro.  The best use of this is actually knocking on the door of the person found in Facebook that knows someone you do with the company and casually mentioning that you have a mutual friend.  That makes for a warm lead without having to ask for the referral.  I don't think any of our companies can really say anything about what we join as long as we don't mention business on the social site.



 
"...great talking to you.  By the way, we have a mutual friend.  I'm friends with Tom...you know Tom...founder of MySpace..."
Jan 4, 2010 7:53 pm

FINRA is looking into this subject to see how they can regulate. My BD will not allow any of the social networking sites. I can't even mention what I do on FB.

I know of a few reps that are using anonymous names to drive prospects to websites.........but that sounds a little risky to me. I'm going to lay low on this until we get a clearer picture from FINRA.
I can see some big potential down the road............this may be the way to market in the future. We'll see.
Jan 4, 2010 8:55 pm

I think some posters on here are greatly overestimating the technological prowess of their compliance department...just saying.

Jan 5, 2010 3:22 am

I just added my website addy to my Info Page on Facebook. (I have a little over 200 Friends) and checked my web traffic log this morning. For the month of December the "referring websites" showed Facebook as being the leading referring site. It blew past Google which has been a strong leader in all previous months since I began tracking earlier this year. I am in the same boat as Morean about my office site. It definitely needs improvement (template from RayJay). They are supposed to be rolling out improvements this spring so I am going to wait and see what that looks like before making a decision to go custom with the goal of not just getting people to the site but keeping them there and getting hits on additional pages. Some of the trade mags have Facebook links. I have only used one so far. I'm going to see how that works in regards to providing info on my FB pages regarding what I do.

Jan 5, 2010 5:38 am
Wet_Blanket:

I think some posters on here are greatly overestimating the technological prowess of their compliance department...just saying.



 
I don't know that it takes some great technological prowess.  With my B/D, they do a search of every rep to see what comes up. 
 
Doing something as simple as putting a link on Facebook to a website would certainly constitute advertising and I don't know of any B/D that would allow this.  One could try to not get caught, but getting caught could lead to getting canned.
Jan 5, 2010 9:27 am
anonymous:
Wet_Blanket:

I think some posters on here are greatly overestimating the technological prowess of their compliance department...just saying.



 
I don't know that it takes some great technological prowess.  With my B/D, they do a search of every rep to see what comes up. 
 
Doing something as simple as putting a link on Facebook to a website would certainly constitute advertising and I don't know of any B/D that would allow this.  One could try to not get caught, but getting caught could lead to getting canned.
 
I agree.  Good example - I am at Jones, last year I was quoted in an article in my local paper.  None of the content was out of guidelines, but I misunderstood the approval policy for media quotes (thought I just had to keep the content within guidelines).  Anyway, we are supposed to do a "Speaking Engagement" form and send to compliance.  Well, I didn't do that.  I got a call (e-mail actually) from Compliance that they had found the article, and did not have a Speaking Engagement approval on file.  This was like a week or two after the article was published.  I basically just got a reminder and a note in my file, but the point is that Compliance at the large B/D's is probably more sophisticated than you think.  I wouldn't try to bend any rules.  It is NOT worth losing your job or getting a mark on your U5 (or both).
Jan 5, 2010 9:34 am
FABroker1999:

I just added my website addy to my Info Page on Facebook. (I have a little over 200 Friends) and checked my web traffic log this morning. For the month of December the "referring websites" showed Facebook as being the leading referring site. It blew past Google which has been a strong leader in all previous months since I began tracking earlier this year. I am in the same boat as Morean about my office site. It definitely needs improvement (template from RayJay). They are supposed to be rolling out improvements this spring so I am going to wait and see what that looks like before making a decision to go custom with the goal of not just getting people to the site but keeping them there and getting hits on additional pages. Some of the trade mags have Facebook links. I have only used one so far. I'm going to see how that works in regards to providing info on my FB pages regarding what I do.



FA - did you think about creating a business page on Facebook?  That's what I've done.  I've had the link on my info page for a while, but I have half the amount of friends you do.


Jan 5, 2010 10:19 am
B24:
anonymous:
Wet_Blanket:

I think some posters on here are greatly overestimating the technological prowess of their compliance department...just saying.



 
I don't know that it takes some great technological prowess.  With my B/D, they do a search of every rep to see what comes up. 
 
Doing something as simple as putting a link on Facebook to a website would certainly constitute advertising and I don't know of any B/D that would allow this.  One could try to not get caught, but getting caught could lead to getting canned.
 
I agree.  Good example - I am at Jones, last year I was quoted in an article in my local paper.  None of the content was out of guidelines, but I misunderstood the approval policy for media quotes (thought I just had to keep the content within guidelines).  Anyway, we are supposed to do a "Speaking Engagement" form and send to compliance.  Well, I didn't do that.  I got a call (e-mail actually) from Compliance that they had found the article, and did not have a Speaking Engagement approval on file.  This was like a week or two after the article was published.  I basically just got a reminder and a note in my file, but the point is that Compliance at the large B/D's is probably more sophisticated than you think.  I wouldn't try to bend any rules.  It is NOT worth losing your job or getting a mark on your U5 (or both).
 
I agree it isn't worth the risk, but from personal experience, some firms just don't put in an honest effort for tracking down social networking sites.  Could have been the natur of the firm I worked at.
Jan 5, 2010 10:50 am

At my B/D, they have a producer interview with every registered rep.  As part of this, the compliance officer does a Google search along with checking on the social networking sites.  I think that if someone is going to do something, they should go with the assumption that they will get caught, so it only makes sense to make sure that it's Kosher to do.

Jan 5, 2010 12:24 pm
anonymous:

At my B/D, they have a producer interview with every registered rep.  As part of this, the compliance officer does a Google search along with checking on the social networking sites.  I think that if someone is going to do something, they should go with the assumption that they will get caught, so it only makes sense to make sure that it's Kosher to do.



Regular interrogations - makes me glad I went RIA
Jan 6, 2010 9:51 am

This is a huge topic in the industry today.  Here is what I can tell you based on my experience.  First FINRA will be releasing guidelines on this topic as early as March.  With that said companies or individuals can be compliant while using these tools today. 

Here is a whitepaper that discusses some of the issues specifically: http://bit.ly/8mwake

In addition, you should look at solutions like this one that allows you to archive all of your social media communications across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. http://bit.ly/8z779Y

It is typically used by firms to provide compliance to their broker-dealers but it can also be used by individuals to protect themselves prior to official changes to the FINRA policy - better safe than sorry. 

Here is an article from InvestmentNews that talks specifically to how this solution addresses the needs of Broker-Dealers: http://bit.ly/5k9PST

Jan 15, 2010 7:18 am

I believe FINRA is examining this topic as we speak -- they seem to be a bit behind the times!  Most B/D's get somewhat paranoid about what their Reg Reps are saying on these sites so instead of finding a solution its easier for them to simply say "NOT ALLOWED!"  One would think B/D's would want their Reps to do more marketing (they benefit from your marketing no???). 


RIA Advisors don't have this same dilemna and many are expanding into this segment leaving Independent B/D Reps in an undesirable position which is terrible because all reps should be free to market themselves -- America needs good solid advice and more and more people are turning to these types of sites each day.
Jan 15, 2010 2:14 pm

I try to solicit for new advisors on linked in, and twitter.

I WILL NEVER solicit on facebook. Do you know how annoying that is? One of my friends husbands is an insurance producer and at least once a week there is garbage about importance of this or that. He is 2 messages away from being ignored.

WAY tooo many people are jumping on that wagon. It is very easy to over do it. And it is not the golden bullet.

What has worked is participating in online forums and including your link to your site in the signature.

Jan 15, 2010 4:28 pm
aeromaks:

 One of my friends husbands is an insurance producer and at least once a week there is garbage about importance of this or that.  He is 2 messages away from being ignored.



I hear ya. I hate those "I just got back from an amazing conference. Ask me how I can help you!"


I envy Tiger Woods. His only problem is having too much sex.

Jan 15, 2010 11:23 pm
Rhett Captain:

Has anyone had any experience with using social networking and/or internet tools to market? Seems it might be a good way to reach out to those on-line savvy non-baby-boomers and at least develop some leads.





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