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Independent advisors proving early adapters to FINRA 10-06 social media reg

Advisor communications: Can every David be a Goliath with SMM?

"Attracting new clients has suddenly gotten easier,"  D. Bruce Johnston of  DBJ Associates said recently. "Low-cost and creative, social media strategies are like free money to underfunded marketing departments."

Having to do more with less, smaller firms with low marketing budgets may be be taking the lead in adapting marketing strategies to FINRA 10-06's more permissible stance on social media.

Larger organizations, on the other hand, may trust that yesterday's strategies will continue to work a little longer. Such is the case with the pace of change at Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

According to a recent article in Financial Advisor Magazine, neither of these major firms allow "advisers to conduct business through social networking sites." The article quotes one spokeswoman, saying: "There are substantial restrictions on its use right now, but we are continuing to review the issue."

Meanwhile, for smaller, nimbler broker/dealers and RIAs the implication is clear: the free marketing bandwidth provided by FINRA's common sense and clarifying guidance is theirs to use. Because the social networking and media playing field is theirs, at least for the moment, enterprising marketers with few resources can be the first to adapt to the newest game in financial marketing.

Growing numbers of social media strategists and service providers are determined to help these Davids live like Goliaths -- if only for a day.

Addressing FINRA 10-06's archiving requirement, for example, SocialWare's Compliance Guide to SMM points to a number of ways to meet data storage needs to reduce the risk of non-compliance.

Other firms are concentrating on how financial advisors can put FINRA 10-06 to work in their distribution strategies. Financial social media strategist Steph Sammons is showing her advisor clients how to take advantage of new media by setting up blogs and improving their presence on social networking sites.

For smaller firms looking to get up to speed quickly on FINRA 10-06, Mr. Johnston says that "A good place to start is by downloading a copy of 'One-2-One: How to Have 1000 Conversations at Once.'"

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