Introducing What Financial Advisors Are Thinking, Via Twitter

It’s a big day here at Rock The Boat Marketing as we launch our first spin-off: Honestly, spinning off a second enterprise was not something we expected to do. AdvisorTweets is a Web site born out of the conviction that if financial advisors are communicating, we all might want to tune in.

Since I started my first marketing communications job at Kemper Funds in the mid-1990s, I have marveled at the lengths that marketing colleagues would go to in order to understand financial advisors. Traveling with wholesalers (Cracker Barrel, anyone?), networking at financial advisor events, fielding surveys, hosting focus groups—no stone was unturned to create an artificial setting for the purpose of extrapolating what a handful of advisors would tell us. That was as good as it got back in the day.

What can be done to better understand what financial advisors want and need? Marketers, sales, customer service staffs and executive leadership of asset management companies wanted to know then and, if possible, they care even more today.

We’ve developed AdvisorTweets to serve as a listening and learning post. There’s value in:

  • Aggregating the random stream of tweets by individual advisors
  • The organization of advisor tweets by state
  • The availability of RSS feeds for: the site as a whole, state-specific advisors and individual advisors
  • The keyword and #hashtag clouds that enable users to see popular themes at a glance
  • The ranking of links, which provides insight on the most popular content being endorsed by financial advisors (for an elaboration on how that works, see our post The Corner Office Advisor Is Live And Well Online)
  • The search engine, which limits searches to financial advisor tweets
  • Profiles of each advisor in the AdvisorTweets universe

As we explain on the AdvisorTweets site, we believe that a few groups could benefit from AdvisorTweets: 

  • Financial advisors, including those who value Twitter’s networking advantages as well as those who are prohibited from using Twitter themselves but who nonetheless have an interest in what a community of advisors are thinking in real-time
  • Investors/clients
  • The media
  • And, finally, you: the asset management companies that rely on financial advisors for investment product distribution

Are all financial advisors represented on AdvisorTweets? No, it’s a fraction of all financial advisors and they are predominantly fee-based. In early September, an InvestmentNews article reported that a "handful" of advisors were using Twitter—but then quantified the handful as 14.9%. Actually, that's more than we would have thought.

The number of advisors who’ve been hopping onto Twitter has been steadily climbing. Rock The Boat Marketing introduced a social media directory of Twitter-using financial advisors on this site in May and has been steadily refreshing it with new names.

We’ve seen some advisors protect their Twitter updates or drop off altogether as Compliance personnel objected to their participation. This is something we’re sorry to see and wonder whether it’s necessary or just a convenience for a yet to be informed compliance group. (For more on this on our site, see The Compliance Considerations of Social Media Participation.)

Revenues are down, many clients are dissatisfied, others are demanding more time and better explanations. As squeezed as they are for time, the advisors whose tweets you’ll see included on AdvisorTweets—and this is a curated site—are intent on marketing their thought leadership. Those banned from participating on Twitter, we believe, work at a competitive disadvantage.

Over the last several weeks as we’ve been working to apply the final touches to AdvisorTweets, a spate of research has been produced questioning the staying power of Twitter. Some marketers have their doubts about the channel itself. And, then there was the denial of service attacks that brought Twitter down altogether for several hours.

None of that has swayed our belief that Twitter is the Mr. Right Now application for financial advisors and those who care about what they’re thinking.

We’re launching AdvisorTweets in beta, which is our way of saying “It’s probably not perfect.” But it’s ready for you to take a look. Naturally, we welcome your feedback.