George Seiters and Lynda Smith Contribute Knowledge From Long Histories of Marketing Strategy and Social Business Success
Socialware, the leading social business solution provider for financial services, today announced the addition of industry veterans George Seiters, former Senior Director at LinkedIn and Lynda Smith, current CMO of Twilio and former Sr. VP of Marketing for Jive Software, to the Board of Advisors.
Seiters spent 18 years at financial services technology solutions provider Advent Software before joining LinkedIn’s Corporate Solutions Product Marketing Group. As a Senior Director at LinkedIn, Seiters focused on the needs of companies scaling the benefits of professional networking across the enterprise.
“Socialware is dedicated to helping organizations unleash the tremendous relationship potential that the workforce represents when given the tools for social networking. This goes beyond a corporate profile or presence to empowering professionals to interact and build relationships at the individual level,” said Chad Bockius, CEO of Socialware. “George’s intimate understanding of LinkedIn for the business landscape and Linda’s keen understanding of marketing and social business will provide great insights as we continue to develop technology and services so customers can integrate social media into their business and deliver results.”
Smith brings more than 25 years of experience in marketing and sales across a diverse set of industries. In her current capacity as CMO at Twilio and in her previous roles at a number of companies including Jive Software, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Nuance and Genpact, Lynda has been responsible for the full end-to-end global marketing responsibilities of the organization.
Seiters and Smith join the current Socialware advisory team, which consists of Craig Pfeiffer, former Vice Chairman for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney; Kirsten Wolberg, VP, Technology at PayPal and former CIO for Salesforce.com; Jeff Dachis, Founder and CEO of Dachis Group; Paul Rogers, Site Director at Google; Brian Mennell, entrepreneur and investor and Kenny Van Zant, Marketing and Corporate Strategy at Asana.
To join the conversation on social business topics, visit the SocialTurns community http://www.socialturns.com/ . For more insight and commentary on the effective and compliant use of social networks, please visit http://www.socialware.com .
About Socialware Socialware provides industry-leading social media strategy expertise, software technology, and success programs for financial professionals to identify new prospects and strengthen existing business relationships via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Working with 125+ asset management, broker dealer, insurance, and wealth management firms to implement effective and compliant social media practices, Socialware is a trusted social business management partner. Socialware was named an innovative company to watch by leading analyst firm IDC, a Facebook(R) Preferred Marketing Developer, and 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate. You can learn more about Socialware at www.socialware.com , on Twitter (@Socialware), and through the Socialware blog: http://www.socialware.comwp .
Your firm has acknowledged the business potential represented by the world’s largest professional social network and has given you the green light to leverage LinkedIn to cultivate relationships and generate leads.
Your firm has acknowledged the business potential represented by the world’s largest professional social network and has given you the green light to leverage LinkedIn to cultivate relationships and generate leads. So, what’s next? Most likely, your firm has already developed and implemented social media compliance policy and technologies. Make sure you’re up to speed on all policy and follow it to the letter—from the initial profile approval through sticking to content guidelines in all of your posts. Adhering to your firm’s policy will prevent you from crossing any regulatory lines.
With compliance concerns out of the way, it’s up to you to learn and implement best practices for getting the most out of social channels to unlock the full potential of social business. From working with thousands of financial professionals, we know that social media success comes from content and conversations. But the best content and the friendliest conversational tone won’t help you without the right audience. You don’t have to have the biggest network in the world, but you do need to build up to a critical mass of connections.
A recent Socialware blog post featured a LinkedIn survey that was released in conjunction with the LinkedIn Financial Services Summit. The survey lends credence, in the form of some exceptional research, to what we’ve known anecdotally for years: Financial professionals are using social media more than ever and they are reaping the benefits. Today, two-thirds of Internet users with investment accounts have social media profiles. Financial professionals who use social media to build out their networks and prospect base are three times more successful than their non-social-media-savvy peers when it comes to gaining new clients.
If you’re not yet active in social media, LinkedIn is a good place to start, and it’s where many of your colleagues are already active. Research shows that 91% of financial advisors have a profile on LinkedIn.
In our experience, growing LinkedIn connections to the 350 – 400 range is when producers really start seeing significant results. So, how do you reach this critical mass? What if you’ve exhausted all of your first-line connections by importing e-mail contacts and reaching out to former classmates and colleagues, but you’re only at 150 connections? Don’t lose hope. You likely do already have 400+ professional connections on LinkedIn — you just haven’t found them yet. Remember: It’s not only about the 150 connections you have; it’s about the thousands of connections they have. These people are your prospects.
Here are a few tools and tactics you can use to build out your network and start seeing leads:
1. People You May Know: This feature is LinkedIn’s algorithmic way of suggesting likely contacts. Check it frequently, because it’s a fluid tool that suggests connections based on commonalities between you and other LinkedIn members. The more connections you gain, the more suggestions you’ll receive.
2. Built-in search tools: Successful advisors use LinkedIn search tools to narrow their searches and target viable prospects. The updated Advanced People Search features allow you to drill down to a new level of detail, including members’ seniority level, interests and even the length of time since they’ve joined LinkedIn.
3. Referral introductions: If a member is within your extended network, you can click the Get introduced through a connection link shown on the member’s profile and connect with people who are two or three degrees away from you. You can select a mutual connection to sponsor and introduce, which provides you with the all-important warm introduction.
4. Activity: In the social media world, activity equals exposure. Make sure to post regular status updates, link to relevant articles, and share and comment on the updates of your connections regularly. Also, answer and post questions on LinkedIn Answers (under the More tab) to show your expertise.
5. Groups: Look for LinkedIn groups devoted to your professional interests that are labeled “very active.” Don’t just join them and lurk; participate in their discussions to gain visibility.
6. Events: Nothing has as much impact as old-fashioned, face-to-face networking. The LinkedIn Financial Services Summit is the big daddy of them all, but the LinkedIn Events section (under the More tab) gives you access to events in all industries and geographies and even lists attendees. You can create events as well.
You need to be active on LinkedIn and optimize your content with information that your contacts find relevant. And you don’t have to stick to just financial content. Let your personality and humanity show through.
The key to attracting and growing the right audience lies in sharing news, articles and insights that are relevant to your connections. Keep in mind that when you share something that members of your network comment on, you’re gaining exposure to their network as well. To easily find and share content that is interesting and relevant to your prospects, consider using the LinkedIn Today site, which you can find on the News tab. This tool allows you to locate popular, trending content to share with your network and customize the page to feature selected articles. In short, don’t just use LinkedIn as a way to collect connections. Use it as a tool to position yourself as a knowledgeable and dynamic member of the financial community.
With 161 million members and counting, LinkedIn is not only an increasingly welcome way to do business—it’s also increasingly critical to your success. We’re interested in your feedback. What successes have you had with LinkedIn?
The Wall Street firm plans to give the roughly 17,000 financial advisers at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney partial access to Twitter and LinkedIn over the next several months, stepping up its social media presence after a yearlong trial with a group of 600 employees. The expansion amounts to a bet that social media can be an effective business tool for modern-day financial advisers.
“For all of the criticism that Morgan Stanley has taken around this initiative, I would challenge anyone to show another firm of their size that is taking as aggressive an approach toward making social a strategic part of their business,” said Chad Bockius, the chief executive of Socialware, a start-up based in Austin, Tex., that counts Morgan Stanley among the financial firms it advises on social media.
Morgan Stanley is among the leaders on Wall Street’s tentative journey into the fast-paced world of social media.Goldman Sachs, which recently said it was looking to hire a “social media community manager,” has taken to Twitterto post news about the firm. The private equity firm Blackstone Group also maintains a Twitter account. Other firms, like AllianceBernstein, have given employees access to LinkedIn.
For Morgan Stanley, which had its credit rating cut last week by Moody’s Investors Service, the retail brokerage unit provides a reliable stream of fees. According to Lauren W. Boyman, the firm’s head of social media, using Twitter and LinkedIn has helped financial advisers win more business over the past year.
“The big takeaway is that it works,” Ms. Boyman said.
Still, don’t expect much personality from the new army of social media users. To stay in compliance with securities regulations, financial advisers will continue to draw from a prewritten library of Twitter messages and submit all LinkedIn postings for approval, using software designed by Socialware. An experiment that allowed a handful of employees to compose their own Twitter messages will be placed on the back burner for now, Ms. Boyman said.
These constraints have drawn some mockery from online commentators, who say the strictures hinder the spontaneity of social media. But defenders of the firm are quick to note that Morgan Stanley is going where its rivals on Wall Street have not yet ventured, tiptoeing into a world full of possible risks.
“It’s a lot harder to approve 140 characters than one might think it would be,” Ms. Boyman said. “Pretty much every tweet has a link to a report or an article or a Web site, and all that has to get read and approved.”
Citing research from the social media advisory firm Actiance, Ms. Boyman said prewritten Twitter messages have been 3.5 times more effective than original compositions for raising engagement online.
But James R. Cotto, a Morgan Stanley wealth adviser based in Purchase, N.Y., said Twitter wasn’t as effective as LinkedIn for getting new business. “I actually have LinkedIn open as an application every day,” said Mr. Cotto, 48, who manages more than $300 million. He hasn’t posted to Twitter.
One vocal critic of Morgan Stanley’s approach to social media, the financial adviser Joshua M. Brown, offered his congratulations on Monday.
Fay DeBellis, an adviser at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, posted the financial firm’s 2,000th Twitter message.
By WILLIAM ALDEN
“Next stop Dow 57,757? Don’t count on it but Tuesday’s bullish session is in the books.”
That dash of market analysis on Twitter wasn’t an impromptu thought from an investor. It was a prewritten post, taken from a library of 140-character messages that had been approved by the compliance department of Morgan Stanley and sent out by financial advisers at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
This is how Wall Street firms are tiptoeing into the fast-paced world of social media. Firms like Morgan Stanley must tightly monitor communications to ensure that they are in compliance with securities regulations. As a result, they generally block employees from using social media sites like Twitter or even checking personal e-mail accounts at work. Indeed, the banks underwriting the gigantic Facebook I.P.O. bar their employees from using the social networking site.
Yet for Wall Street, social media constitute a largely untapped marketing opportunity.
So a cottage industry has emerged. Adept start-ups act as guides on Wall Street’s social media adventure, providing the software that helps firms comply with regulations that date to a sleepier era of communication.
“Here they were, these organizations that had never used the social networks because they had completely locked down access,” said Chad Bockius, the chief executive of Socialware, a start-up based in Austin, Tex., that advises financial firms on social media. “This is the same thing we saw when people started to use the Internet for business purposes.”
Mr. Bockius, 35, says his company was the first to offer social media compliance products for the financial industry. Socialware sells software that can archive messages, house a library of prewritten content and allow compliance officers to oversee postings.
Guardian Life, the insurance company, has used Socialware’s software to give its sales force access to LinkedIn and Facebook. AllianceBernstein, the asset manager, relies on Socialware for its group of advisers on LinkedIn.
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, which Mr. Bockius holds up as one of his most enterprising clients, gave about 600 of its 17,800 financial advisers access to Twitter and LinkedIn last summer, and now plans to expand those ranks.
“We’re trailblazing, so to speak,” said Lauren W. Boyman, who runs social media at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. “Even with the restrictions that we have, we’ve seen a lot of success.”
But even as firms preach the benefits of a social media presence, the reception online has tended toward the mocking.
“You’re not going to build up a real following in social media if your tweet is, ‘It’s a beautiful day at Morgan Stanley,’ ” said Joshua M. Brown, a financial adviser at Fusion Analytics Investment Partners, who runs the Reformed Broker, a popular blog. “If you’re working within the large firm framework, it probably has very little value at this stage in the game.”
Ms. Boyman said internal statistics showed that financial advisers were successfully engaging with clients over Twitter, adding that prewritten messages help streamline the process.
The costs of a mistake are high. Thomas A. Pappas, vice president for advertising regulation at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-regulator, says it is no easy task overseeing communication on sites that were intended to issue messages at a rapid-fire pace.
“It’s scary for compliance officers and firms,” Mr. Pappas said.
Last year, the regulator suspended a California-based broker, Jenny Quyen Ta, claiming that she had praised certain stocks on Twitter without telling her firm she was doing so, or revealing that she personally held stakes in some of those investments.
In January, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Anthony Fields, an Illinois-based investment adviser, of offering to sell “fictitious” securities on LinkedIn.
Still, firms are forging ahead. Deutsche Bank has allowed Ted Tobiason, a San Francisco-based investment banker, to use Twitter. Mr. Tobiason, whose postings must be approved by the firm’s branding and compliance departments, posts about initial public offerings.
Wells Fargo, in an effort to communicate with homeowners, has put a group of mortgage consultants on Facebook. Those employees can post from a library of preapproved content, but they are also encouraged to compose their own messages and “be personal,” said Timothy J. Collins, the bank’s senior vice president for experiential marketing.
For Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, networking on social media hasn’t yet turned into a measurable stream of dollars. In the latest phase of the firm’s experiment, a group of 20 financial advisers can write their own Twitter messages. Of course, the postings must be approved by the compliance department before going online. The process can take several hours.
She didn’t write it, but Fay DeBellis, a Minneapolis-based adviser for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, had posted “Next stop Dow 57,757?” Her version happened to be the 2,000th Twitter message by a Morgan Stanley adviser, a fact noted in a congratulatory article on the firm’s internal Web site.
Still, Ms. DeBellis, 47, says she has not won any business from Twitter. She has had more success on LinkedIn, which she said brought her about $10 million worth of business over 18 months.
Ms. DeBellis, who manages more than $100 million for clients and who says she checks Twitter “randomly,” first used her account to track the location of food trucks near her office.
“There is a learning curve,” she said. “I feel like I’m on the forefront of a new frontier.”
NEW YORK -(MarketWatch)- Morgan Stanley Smith Barney advisers will soon be allowed to make pre-approved status updates and tweets, according to an internal company memo dated Wednesday.
In the memo, the firm touts itself as the first major wealth management firm to announce a solution that will allow advisers to use key social networking sites to market themselves, while also complying with regulatory requirements.
A major issue in the brokerage industry has been how to utilize social networking sites while also complying with industry regulations that say all electronic messages must be retained for several years.
In the coming weeks, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney will implement a technology that will capture and retain all communications on approved social networking sites to comply with regulations, the memo says.
The initiative begins in late June and will initially include about 600 advisers, who will have access to LinkedIn and partial use of Twitter. The company said it aims to open the initiative to the rest of the field within six months.