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Getting social media to work for advisers

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CHICAGO —How many emails, voicemails, push notifications, Facebook updates, Twitter mentions and phone calls have you had today? How many have your clients had?

Cutting through the noise is getting harder every day, says Sami Scarpitti, account director at Mindset Digital, a marketing and consulting firm.

"It's really tough to get a message across these days," says Scarpitti, who was speaking at the Women Advisors Forum.

But tough doesn't mean impossible.

Scarpitti says there are some steps advisers can take to adapt to a frenzied social media environment.

First, she suggests having a social media presence that is personable; people connect more easily with other people, not brands.

"Brands have a really difficult time being human, and it's because they're not. Humans have an advantage. People want to tune into us, not brands," she says.

Scarpitti points to several examples: Sallie Krawcheck has over 41,000 Twitter followers, whereas her latest venture, Ellevest, has under 4,000.

"Really at the end of the day, we are living in a P2P world. It's person to person," she says.

Second, the shorter advisers' emails are to clients are, the more effective they'll be. Scarpitti says the communication philosophy in her office is short, organized and easy to skim. She adds that it's also better to avoid jargon in emails.

"Plain words are more easily understood," she says. "We're not saying to dumb it down. We're saying to put it more plainly because people can understand it more easily."

She also encourages advisers to have a LinkedIn profile and one that is personable. Avoid the third person, in other words.

"I would never go up to a stranger at a conference and say, 'Hi I'm Sami, and Sami has 17 years of experience, and Sami studied at these universities," she says.

Also, don't use corporate headshots for your profile picture, the kind that look like they were taken at Sears, she urges.

Of course, some advisers may be restricted by compliance from what they can do on social media. Indeed, an adviser at the conference brought this up: "We can't be as responsive as we need to be because of compliance."

Scarpitti acknowledged this, adding that the key is to educate and inform managers and compliance departments about the obstacles advisers face in doing their jobs.

"The barrier that you are facing is that because they aren't educated on it, they don't understand the barriers that you are facing," she says.

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October 31

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