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linkedFA Ranks Top 10; Expands Social Media Compliance to Other Social Networking Sites and Recruits Industry Veteran to Chairman of the Board

In this week’s CEO Blog, Jason Bishara writes:

Happy New Year! It was a busy 2010 at linkedFA, and I’m proud to say we are growing rapidly. In this post I’d like to mention a few milestones, and let you know where we’re headed in 2011.

Since linkedFA’s launch in March 2010, we have built an active community of over 5000 advisors and we are poised to grow that number exponentially in 2011. We’ve been mentioned in numerous financial articles and the mainstream press, and based on user feedback we’ve developed and released several features that have greatly improved our site. (See new features release: linkedIn, Twitter, Facebook)

In fact, linkedFA has already been listed as one of the Top 10 Social Networking Sites for Financial Advisors alongside sites such as StockTwits, Twitter and Linkedin.

Ok, that was last year. Let me tell you what’s coming. We believe 2011 is the year that financial social media gains mainstream acceptance, and we plan to use linkedFA to promote not just linkedFA, but social media in general.

This week, as part of our 2011 growth strategy we announced the appointment of Richard Joyce as Chairman of the Board of Directors. A 30+ year veteran of the communications industry and former VP of 3Com, Richard is an advocate for social media use in the financial community because he understands the importance of this medium as the new standard in effective business communication. On joining linkedFA Richard stated, “regulatory concerns and constraints are no excuse for the financial industry not to embrace new communication technologies. Social media has changed the way we interact with the world, market products and do business. The financial industry is being forced to adopt this new way of working; the advisors and investors are demanding it.” Like me, he believes that a collaborative community for financial professionals is sorely needed, and that linkedFA is an excellent way for financial professionals to help shape the future of financial communications.

The announcement of Richard joining linkedFA is just the first of several game-changing releases we’ll be making this first quarter, so keep an eye on linkedFA. We’ve amassed great feedback from advisors, compliance professionals, and investors and we’re using it develop a ground-up new release of linkedFA slated for the early half of this year. Hints at other great features include, User Validation, a Referral Engine, 3rd Party Premium Content, greater Compliance Tools and more top-secret goodies.

Now that I’ve told you where we’re headed, I’d like to ask for your help. Actually, I’m asking you to help yourself by encouraging your firm to develop an actionable social media policy NOW!

I recently saw an article in FA Magazine that headlined, Advisors Not Using Social Media Enough and says: “Financial advisors must stop ‘sitting on (their) hands’ and begin to think differently about using social media.” I also saw an article in Financial Planning magazine titled ‘Social Media: Don’t believe the hype’ that states: “While financial services companies are generally keen to jump on the social media bandwagon, few have made concrete steps to budget for a marketing program or measure its results.”

The debate is over. Financial advisors must embrace social media as a viable means of communication or they will be left behind. Yet, it’s very déjà vu – do you remember how long it took the financial community to embrace email? Well, it’s happening again. I receive emails and calls almost daily from advisors wanting to use social media but their firms won’t let them. Recently, Vincent Esposito, a member of our advisory panel went RIA when his firm would not let him use Twitter. It was such a hot topic that he was interviewed by Debra Brochardt, of theStreet.com.

I’ve spent my entire career in the financial services industry and know that face-to-face conversations with prospects and clients is still best practice, but social media interactions are a very close second. Social media allows advisors to gain a deeper understanding of their clients in between the phone calls and the in-person meetings. Additionally, social media enables professionals to connect with other professionals to gain more knowledge and ultimately be better advisors.

If you’re an advisor, I personally invite you to join linkedFA and share your opinions and stories. If you’re an investor, I challenge you to ask your advisor(s) why they are not using social media to better serve you. Sign up now and tell us what you think, and help make linkedFA what you want it to be.

- Jason Bishara

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