Josh Brown, the New York-based financial advisor whose Twitter account and financial blog are two of the most widely followed of their kinds, stressed to a group of advisors at Global Macro that social media is critical for them to connect with new prospects and clients.
“The clients of the past 25 years are not the same clients of the next 25 years,” Brown, who also hosts CNBC's “The Halftime Report,” said at ETF.com’s second annual Global Macro conference in New York. “We have to find new ways to reach them.”
Twitter has been good to Brown [Twitter handle @ReformedBroker], though Brown stressed that he wouldn’t have 110,000 followers if he didn’t have his blog “The Reformed Broker” as a cornerstone of his online presence.
Not Your Father’s Advisory Days
Overall, he stressed that connecting with the clients of tomorrow will be decidedly different than in the past.
“You can’t be the guy who wears a suit and tie seven days a week,” Brown said. “That doesn’t work anymore.”
Brown is the chief executive officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, which practices a variation of asset-allocation-based passive investing. The firm has about $170 million in client assets, with the average account of about $1 million, Brown told ETF.com. The firm also recently launched its own robo service, Liftoff, targeting younger, or tomorrow’s, investors.
Plenty Of Social Media Options
While Brown’s Twitter success suggests that the micro-blogging service may be the best way to keep connected to clients and prospects, Brown said there are plenty of options. Among those are LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, as well as relatively new presences such as Periscope and Meerkat.
Brown also said he’d like to develop more of a presence on YouTube, which isn’t social media in the sense Twitter or Facebook is, but has a vast potential for connecting.
That’s partly true because YouTube is a wholly owned subsidiary of Google, and can receive preferential treatment on searches, particularly if the keywords used have powerful resonance on Google search engines.
He said he wasn’t terribly fond of Facebook, though was quick to contextualize his reservations by saying that Facebook didn’t seem to be the right fit for his particular approach. He did say LinkedIn has obvious potential, but argued that users so far haven’t demonstrated a lot of creativity in using LinkedIn, which is geared for professional networking.
Never Too Late
Brown, who also stars on CNBC’s “The Halftime Report,” got started on Twitter in November 2008 in the dark days of the financial crisis, and, as noted, now has about 110,000 followers.
He said his secret, if he has one, was always to be true to himself—always projecting something genuine and essential about himself. That consistent approach, rather than some management-consultant playbook on how to optimize client acquisition, is what has paid off for him.
To those advisors who haven’t yet established a meaningful presence on Twitter, Brown implored them not to think that they had somehow missed the boat. He encouraged them to also be true to themselves.
However, one piece of professional advice he offered is, importantly, to avoid any discussions about investment performance in their blogs and online approaches.
Above all, be creative—there will always be plenty of room for that, Brown said. “People come out of the woodwork every month and get an instant following.”