A Few Ways To ‘Listen’ To Advisors

© Eric Isselée - Fotolia.com

© Eric Isselée - Fotolia.com

Listening is one of the easiest things a marketer can do. And, the concept behind it is rock-solid, uncontestable—taking a break from your own messaging to pay attention to what your clients have to say can sharpen your ability to communicate relevantly.

But how do you actually do it? That’s not been so easy or obvious, at least prior to the availability of social platforms where some people participate and all can listen.

The prospect of listening has been intriguing to me for several years. Before Web 2.0, I made a habit of checking the Registered Rep message boards (anybody?) and the now departed FundAlarm.com. Listening was the idea behind my 2009 development of AdvisorTweets.com, a Website that existed solely to publish the tweets of financial advisors (sold in July 2011 to Smarsh).

I’m still following lots of advisors and I manage to glean insights from what they’re saying. It’s a squishy undertaking, I’ll admit, and I’m always looking for more systematic ways to improve upon it.

Two Lists Do The Vetting

Good news: There have been two lists published in the last several weeks that make listening to advisors more easy and straightforward. Both lists are powered by BrightScope, whose business includes providing the first comprehensive and publicly available directory of financial advisors.

The list of the Top 100 Most Social Financial Advisors in the U.S. (2013), published on the BrightScope blog, is based on the BrightScope Social Influence Rank. The rank considers several individually weighted data points around an advisor’s Twitter profile and blog, such as followers, tweet activity, Moz Page authority, and more. BrightScope components also make up a small portion of the overall rank.

You’ll find a second list, the Top 50 Advisor Blogs And Bloggers, on Michael Kitces’ Nerd’s Eye View blog. Inclusion on this list is determined using Website metrics measured by Moz Analytics, including page authority, external links to the blog and total links.

I don’t get hung up on which individual ranked where; I’m just happy to see this surfacing of advisors. Their engagement numbers suggest that the advisors are posting updates that resonate with others, which makes them worth following for what they’re saying.

Now what? Here’s what I suggest.

Subscribe To The Blogs

Subscribe to the blogs. Follow the links to each blog named on Nerd’s Eye View, pick up the RSS feed, add it to Feedly and you now have a routine for monitoring what influential advisors are commenting about. The closer you pay attention, the better you’ll understand.

Two notes:

  • If you’re not an RSS feed reader user, you might be interested in this explainer post I wrote for RIABiz recently.
  • Yes, you could assign the subscription process to a minion but I wouldn’t. Invest the extra time to visit each advisor’s site yourself to take in the full context of the firm's business. It won’t kill you. Think of all the time you saved earlier by not listening.

Follow A Twitter List

Both lists also provide each advisor’s Twitter account name. We’re going to use those to create a third list, a Twitter list that will give you real-time monitoring capability. To make up for the snarky comment I made above about you not listening previously, I’ve made the Twitter list for you. It’s a compilation of all Twitter accounts on both lists.

A few observations on the Twitter accounts of these influential advisors:

  • Don’t expect to see a high number of tweets or followers or even Twitter best practices across the board. At least one account on the BrightScope list still uses the default Twitter egg as his avatar.
  • The tweets are not purely focused on what you’re going to care about. One of the accounts is @LinkedInNinja, influential for her LinkedIn advice to advisors but perhaps her content won’t be as valuable to you.
  • Not all advisors are working as such, as in the case of SEI’s John Anderson (@SEIJohnA).

If you want to prune some names from the Twitter list I’ve created, use Tweetbe.at to copy my Twitter list and edit it.

In the 24-hour period between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, the influentials produced 436 tweets. They have a lot to say, which means that the tweets will scroll through your Twitter client at a fairly good clip.

An Aggregated View

As someone who regularly sends tweets that don't get the support of even one retweet, I know from experience that there can be gold in the orphan tweet. But as a listener, you can get ahead of the game even if you pay attention to just the content that advisors are swarming around.

That's why I was happy to get this compilation of names to finally be able to produce an aggregated view of the top content that influential advisors are sharing.

For this, we can use Tame. It will show you the top links shared by those on the Twitter list, the accounts that are being mentioned and—really important for those of you who are doing some mad improvising with your hashtags—hashtags that advisors actually use.

Above is a screenshot from yesterday, showing the highlights of those 436 tweets. If you expand the individual links, you can see what was said about the content in the underlying tweets. Using Tame your monitoring can be sporadic and yet you won't miss the highlights.

There must be hundreds of tools for industrial strength monitoring, but these lists give us a tuned look at what influential advisors, as vetted by the social data, are up to. If you don't already have a listening system in place, the combination of these lists and the capabilities of Tame is an easy-to-set-up and non-taxing way to start.