Marketing is one activity advisors fret about but few do well, if at all. The same goes for social media.
Vestorly, a New York City-based startup co-founded by Wisz, may finally help them put some teeth into their efforts.
Advisors use the Vestorly platform to curate and share online articles, galleries or videos with their clients and prospects, either across social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, or in newsletters, websites and emails. They can track who views what, and who shares the content across their own social networks with contacts intrigued enough to enter an email address to view it. That in turn generates a new lead for the advisor—a prospect already in the sharer’s personal network. “Everything they are doing is what people are already used to doing online, which is content discovery,” says Wisz.
Firms can filter the content that pops up on their networks by keyword, topic or publication, and add preloaded FINRA-reviewed content to the mix, either their own or from firms like Forefield. But Wisz said some of the most-shared stuff on the platform is lifestyle articles from the likes of Conde Nast Traveller or the Robb Report. Think “Best Places to Retire” or “Undiscovered Caribbean Resorts.” Every share by the client provides a new piece of data or a new lead to the advisor.
It’s a potentially game-changing tool for advisors, who have been relentlessly told to use social media and “content marketing” but never given the tools to turn those activities into measurable results, says Wisz.
United Capital is the most recent high-profile advisory firm to sign up for the platform, joining firms like Sizemore Capital Management and RCS Capital.
An English major at Hampden-Sydney College, Wisz first worked as an account executive for Ken Fisher’s Fisher Investments, where he learned the power of getting leads from prospects requesting content. A brief period consulting with some RIAs on their marketing efforts convinced him there was a need for measurable strategies, but no clear way to make that happen.
In 2011, he co-founded Vestorly with partner Ralph Pahlmeyer, raising over $2 million in early seed financing backed by AlphaPrime Ventures, Gaspar Global Ventures and Formation 8—the venture capital fund of Addepar’s Joe Lonsdale, himself a pick on WealthManagement.com's Ten to Watch for 2014.
The company’s 16 employees, all but a handful of them engineers and programmers, recently won a year-long residency at the midtown New York City start-up incubator Grand Central Tech, and are working on an enhancement which tracks and calculates the most successful content being shared across the entire platform. That in turn can boost the performance of every individual user. “The data compounds, and creates information that is virtually unreplicable,” he says.