Leadership remains one of the most important aspects of business today. The highest form of leadership, in my opinion, is empowering those in fear to move forward and take control of their destiny. Great leaders do this in a variety of ways; however, most often, it is through education and leading by example that great leaders prove their worth.
Crippled by a lack of knowledge and false information, many financial advisors have refrained from utilizing social media marketing to attract new clients and improve their communication with current clients. In most other industries, social media marketing has emerged as a powerful tool to conduct business, schedule meetings, and prospect to potential clients, both within the United States and abroad. With few consultants providing answers to the questions financial advisors have, few are taking advantage of this great opportunity.
There is, however, one firm which has stepped to the head of the table to provide leadership to financial advisors during a time of great scrutiny: Socialware.
Based in Austin, TX, Socialware is transforming the way financial advisors are communicating with prospects and clients by developing the first fully integrated social media compliant system for financial professionals. Additionally, their whitepaper, The Companion Guide to FINRA/SEC Social Networking Compliance, is becoming the social media-marketing guide for the financial services industry.
My relationship with Socialware began last month, while I was actively looking for a social marketing compliance tool that would allow investment management firms to utilize the power of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. After a week of ongoing research and more than 100 phone calls, I had not found a provider that could deliver a functional enterprise-level solution. On the verge of throwing in the towel, I receive a call from Matt Hawkins, an account manager representing Socialware. Matt had heard through the industry grapevine that I was looking for a solution that would allow firms to be fully compliant with marketing and advertising laws put forth by FINRA.
Matt understood my dilemma. Socialware was created to provide companies in regulated industries with strict rules on electronic communication, such as the financial services industry and government with the tools to ensure that employees and companies stay fully compliant with regulators. To further convince me of the value of the Socialware platform, Matt scheduled a phone call in which Socialware Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy, Chad Bockius.
Jason Lampa (JL):
Thank you for taking the time to speak to me today about your service. How has your company been able to create a solution that seems far superior to anyone else the marketplace?
Chad Bockius (CB):
Our executive team created Socialware to make a difference in highly regulated industries. To do this, we believed that setting up the right communication channels with regulators themselves was paramount in providing the technology platform that would give our clients the confidence to utilize our services. We have an excellent relationship with representatives at FINRA. We make sure that we communicate with them on a consistent basis to make sure our program keeps our clients fully compliant.
Which social media platforms do you focus on?
The three social media platforms we focus on are Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. We have plans to integrate others, such as YouTube, in the future.
Can you explain to me one of your services that would provide a firm with the ability to launch their social media marketing campaign?
Risk Manager allows companies to easily implement a social media policy for employees, either in the office or remotely. Each social post can be monitored by a compliance officer and then archived to guarantee compliance with FINRA. This is a real game-changer, in my opinion. You have a large segment of the advisory community sitting on the sidelines, afraid to use social media tools to prospect for new clients. Socialware makes this a non-issue.
I have done a lot of research on your firm and, taking into consideration the cost, the robust platform you offer, and without any real competition, can you think of any reason why a firm in the financial services industry would not use your service?
To be honest with you, I can't. We took the initiative to build to a platform that would integrate the needs of those in regulated industries by keeping an open-line of communication with regulators. Operating as a financial advisor in this environment is extremely challenging. We understand why they may be hesitating to embrace social media technologies. It comes down to risk and return. Our service is truly one of the best insurance policies a firm could ever buy.
I was thoroughly impressed with the confidence that showed Chad in the product that he represented. As someone who represents financial products, marketing them to financial advisors, I can tell when someone has pride in their firm and the product they represent. Matt Hawkins and Chad Bockius exhibit the attributes mentioned above, as well something uncommon in the financial services industry: leadership.
Socialware has two solutions that change the game for investment firms and individual professionals: Risk Manager and Social Marketer.
Risk Manager allows compliance offices to monitor the social networking activities of employees. Socialware is able to provide complete data retention services, or can integrate with an enterprise archiving system directly to provide a single source of archived data. Moreover, Socialware has a patent-pending system for detecting changes on the social networks. When changes are detected, they can quickly update rules and filters to ensure continued support.
Social Marketer provides the first solution that allows employees to clearly distinguish personal and professional content. In addition, all professional content is aggregated and delivered utilizing a method that increases the free traffic flowing into that particular company's Web site. Social Marketer currently supports Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The company has plans to soon support YouTube, MySpace, and Wordpress, as well as others.
Please visit http://www.socialware.com
for additional information. On their site you will find two whitepapers that will provide your firm's compliance department with the information they need to make the right decision.
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