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Josh Brown T3

Live from T3: Blogging Like a Pro

The second day of the advisor tech fest brought tips on building a practice through social media, news around Black Diamond’s partnerships with Advizr and SmartX, and a sunset cruise along the Intercoastal.

Day 2 of the Technology Tools for Today (T3) Advisor Conference kicked off with another slate of keynote speeches from technology sponsors and industry leaders. Top firms took to the podium in several breakout rooms to harness a technology theme impacting advisors and then to leverage that content to showcase how their platforms and products solved it.

Leading firms Laserfiche, Black Diamond, Advizr, Advicent, Circle Black, TD Ameritrade and Clearnomics dominated the morning sessions, providing actionable takeaways for advisors and the latest updates on their product roadmaps.

One of the most anticipated keynotes of the day, however, was by famous advisor, blogger and social media star, “Reformed Broker” Josh Brown, who entertained the crowd with stories of how he became a celebrity advisor and his tips for advisors on how they can use social media to enhance their brands online. According to Brown, his firm, Rithholz Wealth Management, has five of the industry’s top 20 financial blogs, each one managed by a different advisor in the firm.

“We had no deliberate plan for any of this,” Brown said. “We just wanted to use our blogs to say thoughtful and intelligent things. We saw that wealth management was missing from the financial media so we stepped up to fill that void. Ultimately, we were lucky to get there first.”

Because of his online following (over 1 million Twitter followers), Brown says it has also led to regular appearances on the financial media cable networks, further fueling his online presence. “We got on TV because of the blog and our social media, which is the other way around from how it used to be. Before, TV made you famous, but now they only want to feature people who have an online following, so any advisor can do the same thing we did. You just have to start. The power of social is that like-minded advisors and clients will find you.”

Brown’s advice is not to treat blogging and tweeting with the objective to be a lead generation tool, but rather to be a client retention strategy. “It’s not feasible to call every client every day, and your clients want to hear from you, so these communication platforms provide the reach to be able to do it simply and consistently.”

Brown’s tips on content are to not dilute your brand or philosophy with what you are saying, and your message has to be consistent.  “You can’t say one thing on your blog and then do something different in your client portfolios—people will notice.” Brown likes the fact that small, independent advisors can succeed on social even in respect to the mega-brands from big financial services companies. “People don’t follow brands, they follow people,” he said. “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

Product news from Day 2 came from Black Diamond and its new integration partners Advizr and SMArtX. SMArtX’s new direct indexing is available through Black Diamond in a low-cost bundle for 15 basis points, which includes Black Diamond and the S-Net 500 index strategies free. Black Diamond also announced a native integration with popular financial planning software platform, Advizr, making the Black Diamond Wealth platform a complete technology stack.

After an enjoyable craft beer tasting in the exhibit hall hosted by top sponsor Advisor Engine, T3 resumed its non-stop content machine with multiple breakout sessions running concurrently throughout the afternoon. Attendees were challenged choosing from dozens of sessions in order to determine what platforms, products and services they would evaluate to enhance their back- and front-office operations. 

Highlighting the afternoon sessions was the release of the second annual T3/Inside Information Software Survey. Over 1,500 respondents ranked over 300 software vendors across 13 categories. As expected, market leaders and incumbents were maintaining their market share; however, there were numerous examples of nimble newcomers making their presence felt, such as portfolio analytics platform Kwanti, performance reporting system Panoramix, and healthcare planning application WhealthCare. All of which proves that the advisor tech ecosystem remains healthy and vibrant as innovation continues to be invested in large and small companies.

Concluding Day 2 at T3 was the final night closing party. Hosted by Orion Advisor Services, Riskalyze, Redtail, Money Guide Pro, Asset Map and Everplans, the entire conference gathered on the South Beach Lady for an evening sunset cruise. Attendees enjoyed fine dining along the Intercoastal Waterway where networking, deal making and conversations continued. 

The final day of T3 tomorrow promises an even more dizzying array of technology content in the form of 38, nine-minute product demos throughout the morning. To see how those demos turn out, be sure to check out the many tweets on the #T32018 hashtag.


Timothy D. Welsh, CFP® is President and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry, and can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @NexusStrategy.

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