A social network for financial services professionals? With today’s launch of a membership community called SocialTurns, such an idea goes from preposterous to promising.
SocialTurns’ target members are financial services marketing, compliance, technology and sales professionals who don’t get out much. As you know, employees of regulated companies are discouraged or banned from the kinds of social interaction that most other industries are experiencing and experimenting with today.
Enter Socialware, the Austin, Texas-based social middleware technology provider that has been doing an awesome job in providing whitepapers, Webinars and other information designed to educate the industry on social media. CEO Chad Bockius takes the effort up a notch with his formation of a SocialTurns community made up of what have been social media wallflowers.
OK, honestly, this initiative might have been dead on arrival, due to Compliance and IT barriers. But in SocialTurns preview weeks, almost 400 professionals have signed up. Socialware has been working its significant database as have members of the SocialTurns Council (more on that below). Although few members have uploaded their photos and there’s no profile information offered, there’s every reason to believe that they are real, live financial services employees. In a social network.
You can join, too, for free. When you do, you’ll see a discussion forum, blogs, a list of relevant events and a membership directory (in order to communicate member to member, you’ll need to be “friends.”)
Who's Going To Do The Talking?
And then what?
The early response is encouraging. Credit Bockius for his acumen in believing that employees would be cleared to join SocialTurns. But now what? That’s what’s intriguing us. What level of participation will be possible? We know there will be lots of listening but who’s going to do the talking?
Today on SocialTurns, for example, there's a fascinating discussion underway about how financial services will use FourSquare. As the ranks of membership inevitably swell, we're hoping to more interaction, question-asking, thesis-challenging—the kinds of activity that one hopes to see on a “go-to” community site.
SocialTurns’ members will come from many industry subsectors, not just asset management. It’s not just U.S.-based, as Day 1 members hail from 13 countries. Even though it’s a membership community, you shouldn’t assume that the comments you post are private.
I’ve committed to help keep the conversations going as a member of the SocialTurns Council that Bockius formed with individuals representing a cross section of disciplines including marketing, marketing consulting, Compliance, the media, financial advisor marketing, life insurance and banking.
Here’s the full SocialTurns Council:
- Pat Allen, Principal, Rock The Boat Marketing
- Debbi Corej, VP of Compliance, Prudential
- Julie Gebert, AVP of Compliance, Cambridge
- Kip Gregory, Principal, The Gregory Group
- Bruce Johnston, President & CEO, Advisolicity
- Kristen Luke, Principal, Wealth Management Marketing
- Christina L. Nelson, Senior Editor, Financial Planning Association
- Stephanie Sammons, CEO, WiredAdvisor
- Stephen Selby, Director of Regulatory Services, LIMRA
- Jennifer Sussman, Director of Online Marketing and Experience, American Century Investments
- Pete Chiccino, EVP and CIO, The Bancorp Bank
“Social media has so much to offer the financial services industry yet education, awareness and questions are holding it back,” said Bockius. “Our hope is that by bringing together industry experts, passionate users and those standing on the sidelines that we will be able to accelerate the adoption of social media.”
Maybe this kind of coming together is what financial services needs to learn how to walk and talk in a contemporary way. Join SocialTurns today and let’s see.