RIABiz

News, Vision & Voice for the Advisory Community

RIABiz

RIAs fed up with Facebook should hop on the Google+ bandwagon

The new social medium embraces the fact that people need CRM for their lives

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 – 2:15 PM by Brooke Southall and Nevin Freeman and Brooke Southall
Admin:
no description available
Kevin Nichols: Facebook has segmenting capability but it's complicated and convoluted to set up.

Google’s anti-Facebook, Google+, debuted three weeks ago, and is evidence that the Mountain View, Calif.-based company has learned a valuable lesson about introducing new products to its massive user base.

Diverging from its historical approach of automatically enabling its legions of users on Buzz, it’s Twitter-lookalike, “Plus” users had to be invited by other Plus users when the site was unveiled on June 27, a move that conferred a feeling of exclusivity similar to the early days of college-only Facebook – a tactic that many credit for its early success with students.

Sorting Hat

The main appeal of Google+ seems to be that it gives social e-butterflies the chance to start over on the web after making the mistake of adding their parents – not to mention everyone they’ve known since first grade – to their Facebook network. It’s designed to help segregate social contacts into different groups, called “Circles.”

Actually it doesn’t just help – you can’t make a connection to someone without categorizing them, since the act of connecting is performed by dragging them into a Circle. The function acts, in a fashion, like Hogwarts’ “Sorting Hat,” creating, much as we do in real life, a firewall between our different social circles.

Facebook actually allows the same thing, but added it as an afterthought and users haven’t really gotten onboard. “Facebook has it but it’s complicated and convoluted to set up,” says Kevin Nichols, director of marketing for the Oechsli Institute of Greensboro, N.C.

Facebook has 750 million users; Google+ has 10 million so far. See: Why compliance experts are apt to dislike Facebook.


Sunit Bhalla, principal of OakTree Financial Planning in Fort Collins, Colo. says he sees roughly five common uses of social media:

  1. Connecting with people and feeling a sense of belonging – what he uses it for the most
  2. Finding new clients — Bhalla doesn’t do this actively, but allows that there may be some seepage if his old friends realize via Facebook that he’s a financial planner
  3. Building (business) credibility – Bhalla sees the time he takes to share about Apple technology as a way to simultaneously give back to the community and build credibility. See: How one RIA is running his practice on a Mac and finding it totally doable
  4. Informing others – Also not a big focus for Bhalla, but he says he does sometimes discuss Apple technology via these media
  5. Influencing others – Not his cup of tea

Bhalla has consciously separated his connections: Facebook is for friends; Twitter and LinkedIn are for business. He says he’s not sure where Google+ will land, but sees the potential for all types of connections to coexist in different Circles.

Brooke Southall, Sunit Bhalla and I Hanging out with a capital H.
Brooke Southall, Sunit Bhalla and I
Hanging out with a capital H.

Bhalla says that social media have been most useful for the little extra bits of information he learns about his clients, all of whom he has close relationships with.

“A client’s dad [had a medical emergency] over a two-week period,” Bhalla says. “Because of Facebook I knew about this and I could send them an e-mail and flowers. If Facebook hadn’t been around I probably wouldn’t have known about that.”

Fresh start for RIAs

We decided to try the “Hangout” feature of Google+ instead of the telephone for the second half of our conversation. It was difficult to invite one another into a Hangout, but once we got things set up it worked quite well.

It’s not too early for RIAs to get a fresh start with Google+, according to Nichols.

“Advisors should get on there and create accounts so they don’t fall behind; anything Google does you have to take seriously. It’s already up to 10 million users.”

Nichols believes that Google+ may skim the more mature users from Facebook the same way that Facebook did to MySpace.

Need a Google+ invite? Leave a comment with your Google Account address as the non-published e-mail and we’ll add you to our “RIABiz” Circle.

Bill Winterberg, principal of FPPad of Dallas, Texas, also says that the advance of Google+ may come swiftly and surely.

“It may dominate in a couple of years; it has functions that [Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn] can’t replicate.”

“The newsfeed of Facebook is so littered. Google is allowing me to [avoid] that from the get-go,” Nichols says.“People don’t want to see the feeds of people they knew 20 years ago.”

Bill Winterberg: It may dominate in a couple of years.
Bill Winterberg: It may dominate in
a couple of years.

CRM tool

Think of it as sorting your clients into groups the way you would with your CRM tool. Actually, think of the whole thing as a CRM tool for your social world, and maybe your professional world too. If Google plays its cards right, it has a shot at taking on LinkedIn right along with the other two giants.

Nichols says that LinkedIn seems the most invulnerable to Google+ because of its search function that finds who you want so easily and the niche it has established with professionals.

Oenophiles and Red Sox fans

Nichols says Plus’s Circles should be used by RIAs to segment prospects from clients and to create sub-segments of clients who want to receive feeds about certain kinds of information. For example, some clients may like to hear everything about fine wines and others may prefer to hear more about the Red Sox.

But until users warm up to the new design, it will just serve as Facebook number two. The webcomic XKCD gets to the crux of the matter:

And, as the comic also commented: On one hand, you’ll never be able to convince your parents to switch. On the other hand, you’ll never be able to convince your parents to switch!


Related Moves

Broadridge CEO Tim Gokey gets Google Cloud's head of platform in his corner as he sets sights on wealth management cloud thunderclapper

Amit Zavery takes a Broadridge board seat as the New York firm--its shares skyrocketing in recent years--adds a wirehouse and makes wealth management a third pillar of growth

July 9, 2019 – 11:33 PM


Mentioned in this article:

FPPad.com
Consulting Firm
Top Executive: Bill Winterberg




Steve

Steve

July 19, 2011 — 8:01 PM

I would like a Google+ invite, thank you.

Ken

Ken

July 25, 2011 — 2:37 PM

Plus me. Thank you.

Nevin Freeman

Nevin Freeman

July 25, 2011 — 5:16 PM

Many more sent!

Michael Castino

Michael Castino

July 26, 2011 — 1:35 PM

Thanks, excellent article – I had not thought of G+ as a “fresh start” – I think that is a great concept that advisors may embrace.

Eric

Eric

September 6, 2011 — 8:26 PM

Thanks for the g+ invite

Tom

Tom

July 19, 2011 — 3:24 PM

I would like a Google+ invite as well, thank you.

Nevin Freeman

Nevin Freeman

July 19, 2011 — 3:26 PM

Two invites sent!

Hollinbeck

Hollinbeck

July 19, 2011 — 8:15 PM

Thank you for the invite.

Sophie

Sophie

July 19, 2011 — 5:33 PM

Sounds like this tool has disruptive potential in the CRM space (for the RIA segment specficially).
Please add me to the list!
Thank you Nevin.

David

David

July 19, 2011 — 3:51 PM

Please invite me to the RIABiz google+ circle. Thanks!

Nevin Freeman

Nevin Freeman

July 19, 2011 — 5:12 PM

Four more sent!

Heather Buch

Heather Buch

July 19, 2011 — 3:48 PM

great article! would love to be added to RIABiz

Cheryl Sova

Cheryl Sova

July 19, 2011 — 2:55 PM

I would like to be added to Google+

Elmer Rich III

Elmer Rich III

July 19, 2011 — 4:09 PM

How many prospective clients and referral sources are realistic to expect to find on G+? Advisors talking to other advisors is not usually productive.

Are people going to spend less time on Linked In, by comparison, to help develop G+?

Kevin

Kevin

July 19, 2011 — 5:11 PM

Nevin, Thanks in advance for the Google+ invite.

Gary Flater

Gary Flater

July 19, 2011 — 5:36 PM

Thank you for the invite!

Nevin Freeman

Nevin Freeman

July 19, 2011 — 3:27 PM

Make that three!

Blaise

Blaise

July 19, 2011 — 4:05 PM

I would like to be added to Google+. Thanks!

Jeremy

Jeremy

July 19, 2011 — 3:26 PM

Thank you for the offer- I’d like to join your Google+ Circle.

BP

BP

July 20, 2011 — 3:01 AM

Please add me.

Scottt

Scottt

July 20, 2011 — 3:27 AM

Please add me too!

Nevin Freeman

Nevin Freeman

July 20, 2011 — 7:50 PM

More sent! Any first impressions worth sharing?

Chris

Chris

July 20, 2011 — 7:25 PM

please add me too.

Rob

Rob

July 20, 2011 — 6:24 PM

Please add me to your circle, I’m already on G+:
http://gplus.to/social

Tommy Sikes

Tommy Sikes

July 22, 2011 — 10:56 AM

Good review and I look forward to the invite!

Ian Essling

Ian Essling

July 21, 2011 — 3:47 PM

I’d like a Google+ invite

Marcus Crawshaw

Marcus Crawshaw

July 21, 2011 — 1:08 PM

I’d like to be added. Thanks!

Michael

Michael

July 22, 2011 — 2:58 PM

I would like a Google + invite. Thanks.

Michael Kran

Michael Kran

July 23, 2011 — 1:52 AM

If you could, add me as well.

Thanks!

Hollinbeck

Hollinbeck

July 19, 2011 — 5:45 PM

“Nichols says Plus’s Circles should be used by RIAs to segment prospects from clients and to create sub-segments of clients who want to receive feeds about certain kinds of information.”

That’s enough to get me to want to try it out.

I would like a Google+ invite as well, thank you.

Pat Allen

Pat Allen

July 21, 2011 — 2:03 PM

Great article! Love to see you testing Hangouts.

RIABiz Directory

The Industry Sourcebook for RIAs

   |    LISTING


RIABiz Directory sponsored by:

Directory Sponsor Logo