It’s true that asset managers, unlike, say the airline or retail industries, have onerous compliance-related regulatory hurdles to clear, vis-à-vis social media. The SEC takes a highly cautious approach to regulating how asset management firms distribute marketing messages delivered via social media. (link to SEC language)
I routinely see how this conservatism has colored the attitude about, and the policies relating to, social media in the compliance department of virtually every asset management firm with whom I’ve met.
Undeniably, when these regulations are combined with the notion that social media has yet to become an old-school, tried-and-true marketing platform, it’s pretty easy to understand why asset management firms shy away from social media marketing.
I get it - as a compliance matter, nobody wants an ill-conceived tweet to attract the attention of the SEC; nor for a key member of the firm to post a comment which embarrasses the firm or alienates some segment of its client/prospect base. Isn’t it just better to avoid it altogether?
Over the long run, eschewing social media marketing will prevent an asset management firm from effectively and efficiently leveraging the best arguments in its favor.
Social media marketing is by no means untested, and there is more than ample evidence from other service and B2B industries to confirm its power to promote the growth of an organization’s bottom line.
Social media marketing for asset management companies is clearly a calculated risk. But I would argue that, in highly competitive areas of competition; ones in which differentiation and leadership are increasingly what distinguish one firm from another, such calculated risk-taking is an absolutely vital component to the longevity of any asset manager’s ability to attract assets.
If yours is a firm that refuses to take business risks; ones that if thoughtfully conceived, carefully planned, and well-executed, would have a significantly positive effect your firm’s bottom line, simply something because something might go wrong, then that’s clearly your prerogative.
For smaller firms, even those with a long track record of past & present success and are content to operate their business at preset capacity constraints, embracing social media marketing for content marketing and promotional purposes is even more vital. Why?
There’s always a younger, hungrier firm with new ideas and strategies that pose a threat to your business. If you think that the new firms being founded by thirty- and forty-somethings will neglect using social media & content marketing as part of their overall marketing efforts – then you’re not paying attention.
It is also worth noting that the largest asset managers - J.P. Morgan, Blackrock, Fidelity, Vanguard - are all using social media and content marketing strategies to better differentiate who they are, what they do, and why. If it is good enough for them, it should be good enough for you. And you don’t need a multi-million dollar marketing budget to be effective. You just need a strategy, a modest budget, and an open mind – each of which I’ll address in the next post.