Twitter and Your Job as a Financial Advisor

It took some selling, but a multi-Grammy award winning recording engineer and record producer friend convinced me to go on Twitter in 2012. He believed it was the best and fastest real time news feed. In fact “ 74% of Twitter users say they use the network to get their news.” Twitter ranks highest of all social media sites in this category.

He knew that I am a news-hound and always have been interested in public policy. I have published scores of political pieces in various print and on-line publications for over 30 years, have researched current events since college days, and am generally a data warehouse.

I am also a financial advisor.

See the problem?

To too many financial advisors Twitter and investment advising are incompatible.

Common thinking is if you are an advisor there are only four Tweetable subjects: 1) Bland industry stuff, 2) Sports, 3) Music (if your tastes are mainstream), and 4) Pictures of your adorable children. Politics, religion, cultural matters, philosophical positions, and personal beliefs are forbidden. There is a word for that line of thought. “Coward.”

If you believe that compliance will not allow you to Tweet that you voted for Donald Trump or that you support Bernie Sanders, then you have officially become part of the problem. Free speech will die on your watch. If you fear that your clients might see who you really are, then maybe you need to evaluate what type of relationships you have.

Undecided? Let me try to help. Twitter is the Democratization of public life. It is the equalizer. It is the most effective way for the little guy to say what is on his mind for everyone to hear. If a lot of people like what he or she is saying followers will grow. It is also the most efficient way to keep up with, well, everything.

As an investment advisor, if you have something valuable to say, and you believe others should hear it, what could be more natural than trying to grow your audience ?

I started my Twitter life as @seeyousoyuz. It was an alliterative mockup of “If You Knew What Sununu” by Calvin Trillin. It was basically, just a way for me to share favorite poetry, political wanderings, literary lapses, whatever, while keeping up with the affairs of the day. As home pages (remember those?) shrunk in popularity Twitter grew.

Then I wrote a book and publishers wanted to see a following, so I changed my Twitter handle to @Dollarlogic and started tweeting more investment related material. My account has been a happy medium of markets, music, politics, and cultural meanderings ever since.

If you want to start or build a Twitter account as an advisor here are a few tips:

  • Be nice. As you can tell, I am good with political content. But not with crude language, lack of respect for others, or bullying. Do not get into long arguments with anyone. Be like actor Richard Widmark, “I think a performer should do his work and then shut up.”
  • Be relevant. See effective Twitter accounts like @EricBalchunas, @brianportnoy, @dlacalle_IA, and @bobcareyfta and you will get an idea of what strong content looks like. Eric and Daniel are all business. Brian and Bob have a bit more fun, but they are always on point. They are great guides for an advisor.
  • Follow other people in the industry—even your competitors. Twitter is social media. Be social. Don’t expect everyone to come to you first . The average Twitter user now has 707 Followers . So, don’t feel bad if you have low numbers now, just go after it.
  • Archive your Tweets. Regulators consider Twitter and other social media to be advertising. As advertising you are required to archive it for review. If you are with a broker/dealer speak to compliance about it. If you are an independent RIA reach out to the archiving services directly like Global Relay or Smarsh .
  • Don’t Tweet, Retweet, or Like stock or fund ticker symbols. This is sometimes hard to do. It is just something you must force yourself to remember. And put in your Twitter profile, yes there is room, “not investment advice.”
  • Don’t just Tweet your own stuff. Retweet others’ content. People wonder why they only have 200 followers. When you look at their Twitter feed the answer is obvious. It is all you, all the time. Your Twitter account looks like this, and you appear to be 100% self-focused. That’s NOT social.
  • Use GIFs. Tweets with images get more reaction from users. They can get 18% more clickthroughs, 89% more likes and 150% more retweets. And, Tweets with videos get over six times as many retweets as tweets with photos.
  • Don’t Tweet drunk. Yes, we can tell.
  • Related: How to Select a CRM for Your Advisor Practice

    And now, whose is the best Twitter account in the investment industry?

    The winner is Brian Wesbury, @wesbury, Chief Economist, First Trust Portfolios. He is the best because of his mix of strong original content, a point of view, willingness to argue (civilly), well-defended positions, good humor, and enough personality but not so much that it’s The Brian Show. When it comes to politics, what makes Brian a success is that he sticks to policy not people. You won’t see Brian slam Uncle Bernie. You will see him build a formidable case against Socialism. See the difference?

    Twitter is fun, educational, stimulating, frustrating at times, but always rewarding. As an advisor , if you are saying no to it because of perceived personal or compliance risks I honestly believe you need a better excuse. When you join, follow me. I promise to follow back!