"What the HELL is Social Media?" with a hat tip to Sree Sreenivasan

If you’re still wondering why you should learn about social media, check out this video, which I discovered thanks to Sree Sreenivasan.

Reader question: How can I share my investment commentary on LinkedIn?

You can use LinkedIn, yet stay within your compliance officer’s guidelines, by sharing approved materials through your LinkedIn “status line.” I often suggest this to investment managers and financial advisors.

So I wasn’t surprised to receive an email saying, “Help! Please remind me how to share a link to my investment commentary on LinkedIn.”

Here’s my answer.

Step 1 Shorten the URL that takes readers to your commentary. The URL for your commentary is probably too long for the limits of LinkedIn’s status updates, especially because you need text to lure readers to your commentary. This is when link shorteners come in handy. You can use a free service, such as TinyURL.com. To shorten your link, simply follow the directions at the link shortening website of your choice.

Step 2 Enter your text into LinkedIn. When you go to your LinkedIn home page, you’ll see below your Inbox the Network Updates section.  Type your text into the box. If your commentary is provocative, you might say something like “You won’t believe what I’m saying about the stock market  http://tinyurl.com/…..” LinkedIn automatically converts URLs beginning with http:// into live links.

Hit the Share button and your investment commentary becomes available to folks on LinkedIn.

Related posts
* The LinkedIn status line is your friend, whether you’re looking for clients or a job
* My top tips for LinkedIn newbies who want to attract financial clients, referrals, and jobs

Five-Week Writing Teleclass for Financial Advisors: "How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read"

Blogging has become a “must” for many independent and fee-only financial advisors. It’s a great way to connect with current and potential clients. Blogging also helps drive traffic to your website and cement your reputation as a leader in your field. But many advisors struggle to crank out a steady flow of compelling blog posts. That’s why you need to enroll in “How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read,” my NEW five-week teleclass for financial advisors.

You will learn how to
Generate and refine ideas for blog posts that will engage your readers
Organize your thoughts before you write, so you can write more quickly and effectively
Edit your writing, so it’s reader-friendly and appealing

The inaugural class will be offered exclusively to my newsletter subscribers and to clients. Participants in the initial class will receive a 50% discount in return for participating fully and providing detailed feedback.

When you participate fully in this class, you’ll end up with one polished blog post–and a process you can follow to generate many more.

How you’ll get there
o Small class–limited to 12 advisors–so you can participate, not just listen passively. Research shows that people learn best when they act on new information.
o Classes will meet on five successive Thursdays–Feb. 25, March 4, March 11, March 18 and March 25– on a teleconference call from 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Eastern Time
o Convenience because you can dial into the weekly phone calls from anywhere–and classes are recorded, in case you can’t attend “live”
o Guidance through a step-by-step process of writing blog posts, including
Generating blog post topics
Organizing your thoughts before you write
Positioning your blog post to appeal to readers
Editing your posts to boost their reader-friendliness      

“Hands on” practice through completing your weekly homework assignments
Resources for the future because you can download
o  Class recordings
o  Class handouts
o  E-booklet

o Feedback from a seasoned financial writer-editor whose clients range from the country’s largest asset managers to solo professionals to trade and retail publications

Register Now!

What advisors say about other workshops by Susan Weiner, CFA

o “I found this presentation very helpful because it focused on key elements to being an influential but understandable advisor.”
o  “Susan’s presentation brought to life the benefits of better writing.”
o  “Great tips for jump starting my client communications”
o  “Susan’s presentation made me want to go back to my office and juice up my emails and letters.”

Contact Susan at learn@investmentwriting.com or 617-969-4509.

Register Now!

Guest post by Roger Wohlner, a top advisor on Twitter

Because some of my blog and newsletter readers still wonder why an investment or wealth manager would bother with Twitter, I jumped on the opportunity to feature “Financial Advisors and Twitter,”  a guest post by financial advisor Roger Wohlner who works in Arlington Heights, a Chicago suburb, about what he has gained from Twitter. 

The Top 10 Twitter Feeds for Career-Minded Advisers recently named guest blogger Roger Wohlner one of the top 10 people whom career-minded financial advisors should follow on Twitter.  I knew that already. I’ve been tracking Roger for awhile. I’ve even had the pleasure of speaking with him on the phone.

By the way, one Twitter advantage that Roger does not mention. His Twitter feed ranks high in a Google search for “Roger Wohlner.”

Financial Advisors and Twitter
By Roger Wohlner, CFP

Recently an article entitled The Top 10 Twitter Feeds for Career-Minded Advisers was published in the FINS section of the online Wall Street Journal. The article listed the top 10 Twitter feeds for financial advisors to follow. I was fortunate enough to be included in this list. I heartily recommend that anyone even remotely interested in personal finance follow the other nine folks listed.

Beyond the good natured ribbing that I am taking from some of my fellow advisors on Twitter about my new “celebrity” status, this article has made me stop and think about why financial advisors in general and me in particular are on Twitter.

I suppose the initial thought was that I would get on Twitter and clients would flock to me. That hasn’t happened and I think most other advisors on Twitter have had the same experience. However I think Twitter is a very worthwhile tool for several reasons:

I have met (in person and online) a number of fellow financial advisors from whose Tweets (posts for you non-Twitter users) I learn something new every day. Whether from their blogs or article links Twitter is a great source of information. Additionally I feel that I have greatly expanded my network of experts to whom I can turn with questions in areas where I may not have the direct expertise.

I do think Twitter is an excellent PR tool and I feel that my name is out there a much more than it was when I first signed onto Twitter this past April.

Twitter allows you to follow and participate in the “conversation” about any number of topics. I am particularly interested in the Fiduciary movement; 401(k) plans, investing, and financial planning. Twitter is filled with information about thousands of topics and companies, plus politics, entertainment, culture, and sports to name a few.

As a financial advisor I am always careful not to recommend specific investment vehicles or courses of action. Twitter to me is just not a medium to provide specific advice. Financial advice is best given in a one-on-one situation, each client and their situation is different.

Lastly let me share some of the folks that I follow in addition to those listed in the article above. Some are fellow financial types, some not. This is a Twitter idea inspired by Gini Dietrich ginidietrich a Twitter superstar and a bright young Chicago CEO. If you follow Gini you will move up the social media learning curve very quickly. Below is a great “Follow Friday” list:

My “Core Favorites” List

davegalanis Dave is one of the sharpest financial and business consultants I know. Dave is the one who turned me on to Twitter in the first place. We were cubicle neighbors back in the day at our first jobs out of school. Dave is a connoisseur of most foods served on a bun.
gtiadvisors Greg is into due diligence, corporate security, espionage, and also maintains a cooking recipe blog. When my daughter was traveling to Russia he indicated that he had contacts that could be of help if she found herself in a bad situation, Greg is a great guy to know.
IKE_DEVJI Ike is an attorney and advisor focusing on asset protection. Really knows his stuff.
venturepopulist Jeff is a private equity and hedge fund guy with some interesting opinions on investing.
dgvelaw Danielle is the mother of three, a really sharp estate planning attorney, plus she is a Packer fan by marriage.

Other folks I suggest following listed by Twitter name


If you are new to Twitter or have been on for awhile, this list plus the folks listed in the article are a great group to follow.

There are many other people and organizations that I enjoy following on Twitter as well. One tip that helped me early on was to look at the followers and those followed by the people I was following. I still do this to this day. The new Twitter list function is another way to do this as well.

Check out Twitter and join the conversation. You’ll meet some interesting people and you might learn something in the process.

CFA Magazine on social media and your career

Stepping Out: Digital Footprints Can Make Or Break a Career” by Rhea Wessel appears in the Nov./Dec. issue of CFA Magazine, starting on page 34 of the digital edition (page 32 of the print edition). 

It’s a cautionary tale that quotes several CFA charterholders including yours truly. It even refers indirectly to my “Top five tips for financial advisors dipping their toes in the Twitterverse.

Here’s the bit that quotes me

“Don’t land yourself in hot water by starting to blog before you consult with your compliance officer,” she says. “However, you can get an idea of industry norms by studying bloggers whom you respect and who work in positions similar to yours.”

Guest post: "How to Use LinkedIn When Your Compliance Department Says No"

Financial advisors–and all kinds of professionals in investment and wealth management–need to be on LinkedIn. I feel strongly about this, so I’m happy to feature a guest post from marketer Kristen Luke. In this post, which originally appeared on Kristen’s Financial Marketing Wire blog, she tells you how to benefit from LinkedIn, even when you must work within compliance constraints.

Recently I have been conducting one-on-one LinkedIn training sessions for advisors on how they can better utilize the professional social networking site. Each advisor has different restrictions on how they can engage with the site depending on the rules set forth by their compliance department. I have found that most compliance departments will allow advisors to have LinkedIn profiles, but will not necessarily allow them to actively participate in groups, install applications, update their status or mass email their connections. For those advisors who are allowed to have a LinkedIn profile but have been restricted in their use of the site, there are still strategies that can be utilized to make LinkedIn a valuable sales and marketing tool. Below are four strategies to implement even if you can’t use LinkedIn to its fullest potential.

Strategy 1: Build Your Network

LinkedIn becomes more powerful as the size of your network increases. This is because you are only able to see profiles of people within your network (i.e. 1st, 2nd or 3rd Connections and Group Members). To make effective use of LinkedIn, you will need to continuously build your network. This will allow you to discover more potential clients and centers of influence. Start expanding your network by importing contacts. You can do this by selecting “Add Connections” in the Contacts menu and uploading a spreadsheet of your contacts’ email addresses. The resulting list will show you who is on LinkedIn and will allow you to send a mass invitation to connect.

Once you have started with your initial network, you’ll want to continue adding all new contacts to your network. Make inviting all new contacts to join your LinkedIn network a part of your weekly routine. This includes people you meet professionally and socially. You never know where the next client or referral will come from, so don’t exclude people from your network.

Another way to build your network is to install an Outlook toolbar which will notify you when an email contact is on LinkedIn. You can download and install either the LinkedIn or Xobni toolbar which will show you LinkedIn profile information about each of your email contacts and provide you with a link to send an “invitation to connect” request. These tool bars eliminate the need to manually look up a contact to see if they are on the site and then send an invitation request. Plus, they constantly remind you to build your network.

Strategy 2: Join Groups

You may have been told by your compliance department that you can’t post a discussion question, answer a discussion question, post a news article, or comment on a news article. That doesn’t mean that joining groups is a waste of time. Even if you never actively participate in a group, joining allows you to expand your network. By joining a group, you are able to view the profiles of everyone in the group. This helps when you are researching prospects since their profiles might not be available to you otherwise. In addition, you are able to send an email directly to fellow group members without being linked in with them through the “send a message” function. Joining groups provides you with direct access to hundreds if not thousands of individuals who would otherwise be outside of your LinkedIn reach. Just be cautious when emailing through LinkedIn since some compliance departments require a screenshot of the message you are sending including the name of the person to whom who you are sending it.

Strategy 3: Research Prospects

LinkedIn provides a wealth of information about a prospective client. By reviewing a prospect’s profile prior to your first meeting, you can discover past employment history, educational background, professional associations and personal interests. This will give you a better understanding of the prospect and may assist in directing the conversation during a first appointment. The only limitation with this strategy is that you are only able to view profiles of people within your network. Having a larger network, as described in strategies one and two, will increase the likelihood of being able to see a prospect’s profile.

Strategy 4: Research your Network for Introductions & Referrals

Do you know which of your clients have relationships with the types of people you would like to meet? If they have a LinkedIn profile you can easily find out. When you connect with your clients, centers of influence or networking contacts on LinkedIn, you can look through their connections to see who they know. By researching your LinkedIn contacts’ network, you can make informed decisions about who has the ability to make quality referrals and introductions and create a marketing strategy around that information. For example, you can ask for referrals and introductions to specific people within your contact’s network when you have a referral conversation. Or, you can plan a private client event and make extra effort to ensure that clients with strong networks attend. Researching your network will allow you to focus your referral efforts.


In my personal experience, the strategies listed above are acceptable by most compliance departments who allow advisors to use LinkedIn. However, you will want to consult with your compliance department before implementing any of these ideas to make sure you are in observance of your firm’s policies.

For information about Kristen’s marketing strategies and support for financial advisors, visit www.wealthmanagementmarketing.net.

Guest post: "Seven steps toward a better webinar"

More financial advisors are using webinars to market themselves. That’s why I’m featuring this guest post, “Seven steps toward a better webinar” by D. Bruce Johnston and John Drachman. Bruce Johnston is a social media financial distribution consultant with 25 years as a  senior executive for asset management firms. John Drachman is a senior writer and integrated communications expert who has developed the content for financial services marketing communications programs for almost two decades.
Seven steps toward a better webinar

Easy to set up, webinars are a friendly, low-cost way to help you develop your peer network. The webinar tool box provides you with a turnkey way to establish your thought leadership, expand your presence and measure the results.

Here are seven suggestions that can add some luster to your next webinar.

1.    Write down your objectives 

What are the specific actions you want your audience to take? Be as specific as possible. Develop a pathway for your audience to learn more about you. For example, many webinars urge attendees to request a white paper. This action permits a greater degree of contact capture and qualification. The goal is to provide your audience with just enough information to realize they can benefit from your insights and service offering. At the end of the day, know precisely those outcomes that would make your webinar successful for you. We had one client whose goal was to attract 10-15 new clients with investable assets of $1 million-plus. The client signed up 12 new clients and considered the experience to be a grade-A success.

2.    Find a Center of Influence in your region to collaborate with 

Put a financial advisor together with a tax attorney and the possibilities for timely topics are endless. Sharing each other’s e-mail lists is a valuable way to reach out and connect to new audiences in a way that does not detract from each professional’s capabilities.

3.    Use a moderator 

Flying solo in a webinar creates a lot of pressure. You are out there all by yourself. Moderated webinars on the other hand are more engaging and relaxing. The moderator can even serve as a counterpoint to your position, which makes your presentation sound more like a news event and less like a sales presentation. You don’t need to rent a moderator either. Look around your office or circle of friends for a volunteer.

4.    Encourage real-time dialogue 

The webinar is a specific type of web conference, mostly one-way from the speaker to the audience. You can still give your webinar a real-time sense of one-to-one collaboration. Most webinar teleconferencing services make it possible for your audience to respond through on-line polling. You can also solicit questions that can be posted and addressed real-time through the course of the webinar.

5.    Treat your webinar like the news event it is 

The degree of media penetration that an interactive press release from BusinessWire or PRWeb can achieve is remarkable. Thanks to powerful news aggregators that search out keywords from your press release to publicize your webinar news event, you can dramatically expand the reach of your message to attract a bigger audience. Pay services permit a rich degree of hyperlinking opportunities to your web site, blog, Twitter account, social media site – and the list goes on. Also, if you are budget-minded, consider some of the free press release services. The namesake www.free-press-release.com even facilitates feeding your article to social media sites like LinkedIn and FaceBook for free.

6.    Learn from your metrics 

Webinar software generally has easy-to-use contact capture tools, as well as analytics that track attendees, who registered, who are prospects (requested information), who are already existing clients, who viewed replays, forwarded replays to friends and colleagues and more. A quick look at the numbers can tell you a lot about the degree of acceptance your webinar engendered in your audience.

7.    Let your webinar live again as a webcast 

Keep a good thing going. Consider uploading your presentation to SlideShare, adding a voice track and retweeting it to the world as a webcast. You will be surprised how many will download your presentation if your key words lead them to your message.

Interesting example of fund company using YouTube

I  normally think of a fund company using YouTube–if it uses YouTube at all–to show off its talking heads. But times are changing.

U.S. Global Investors’ “Shanghai City Lights” video, which you can view below, doesn’t mention the fund firm’s name or investments. It doesn’t even show any people. I think this video has the potential to reach more viewers than the firm’s more traditional videos. Heck, I already forwarded the video to my husband to remind him of our visit to Shanghai.  However, I wonder how many of this video’s viewers will be potential fund buyers.

US Global Investors seems to have moved away from talking heads and toward more visually appealing pieces. Its initial YouTube video was “Frank Holmes Explains the Key Drivers for Gold and Mining Stock,” followed by “What the Global Infrastructure Story Looks Like” and “A Firsthand Look at Mining Operations in Brazil.” To view these videos, go to the USFunds YouTube channel. So far the Frank Holmes video has gained the most viewers on YouTube, with 218 views as of Nov. 16.

However, US Global Investors hasn’t given up on more traditional communications. For example, “Five Reasons China is Not a Bubble” appears on its blog and the firm’s Fall 2009 Shareholder Report leads with a letter titled “Just Back from Shanghai.”

Do you think US Global Investors’ YouTube video about Shanghai represents the start of a trend? While their videos haven’t attracted many viewers yet. the firm’s YouTube presence is pretty new.

Twitter to the rescue of my colleague with a RFP dilemma

Twitter can be mighty handy in a pinch. Especially when used in combination with other social media. That’s what I learned from the response to my colleague’s RFP dilemma.

My colleague asked me to post his dilemma on my blog, so I wrote it up as “RFP dilemma: What should my colleague do? I figured that a blog post alone wouldn’t draw helpful responses, so I tweeted–and emailed some colleagues on LinkedIn–for help. 

Within an hour, I received five constructive comments on my blog post plus some tweets.The exchange raised some issues that I’d never thought of before. For example, the fact that an RFP may be considered part of a contract.

This illustrates social media at its best. 

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the conversation!

Nov. 13 update: A reader recently asked “What’s an RFP?” 

RFP is short for request for proposal. It’s a questionnaire that businesses fill out to compete for a prospect’s business. 

In the investment industry, institutional investors often use RFPs in their investment manager selection process. You can read more about this topic in “How to Create an Investment Management Request for Proposal.

The LinkedIn status update is your friend, whether you’re looking for clients or a job

LinkedIn status updates are a low-key way of reminding your contacts that you exist. My status updates have directly resulted in an editor asking me to write an article and new subscribers signing up for my newsletter. 

A brief positive message 
A status update is a brief update on your activities. It’s designed to show off something positive about you. For example, an asset manager might say “Peter Portfoliomanager is sharing his latest Economic Update.” A job hunter who wants to show that she’s not moping around might post “Joan Jobhunter just completed a marketing plan for Her Favorite Charity.”

Include link to maximize your impact
Peter Portfoliomanager should provide a link to his Economic Update. This makes it easy for a reader to engage more deeply with him. He can use a site like TinyURL.com to shorten the link to his Economic Update. This is worth doing because long links are cumbersome and LinkedIn limits the length of status updates. Here’s one of my status updates as an example: “Susan blogged: Statistics to calm nervous investors: Research on dollar cost averaging http://bit.ly/qKf3p” 

Everything you need is on your LinkedIn home page 
When you go to your LinkedIn home page, you’ll see below your Inbox the Network Updates section. First comes the box where you can update your status. Below that, you’ll see status updates from your connections. Status updates are also emailed to your connections as part of their Network Updates. By the way, LinkedIn lets you exercise some control over who sees your updates.

LinkedIn provides instructions for how to update your status.

Have YOU benefited from LinkedIn status updates? I’d love to hear your story.