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August 06, 2009


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Andrew Davis

Thanks so much for the shout out. We're proud to be working with Putnam Investments on their content strategy and honored to have you take note.

I've been explaining this mind shift that Mark refers to at conferences around the country and it really resonates.

Here's a short video explaining the concept: Changing your world view....


See you soon,


David, an encouraging post and it will be interesting to see what happens. But please realize that regulated firms and individuals face issues that *are* much more complex than what you allude to here. I think this is less a "fear issue" and more of a challenge from a process standpoint-- the compliance and records management requirements are pretty onerous and do in fact impact the immediacy and personal exchange that makes social media... well, social. A similar thing happened with IM in the past and the industry developed solutions, so I'm cautiously optimistic that solutions will be found here.

Omar Halabieh

I agree with the previous comments about there being some challenges. That being said though, it will take some pioneers like Robert and other to follow to move the wheels on completing a framework for the use of social mediums for the financial industry. I still believe that even if there are some restrictions, social mediums still have an important role to play in the financial industry as with any other industry. After all, people in that industry are looking to work with your capital, so communication and linkages with people and ultimately clients is key. Looking forward to following Robert on Twitter.



Thanks for this post David,

There are a couple of Twitter accounts that follow only Credit Unions and Community Banks using Twitter. @CUTweetTrack and @CommunityBanks (Both are noncommercial, just there to serve as a directory of sorts.)

Recently discussion has centered around social media in the community financial industry and several of these institutions came together on an online community, specifically for their industry, to collaborate on a social media policy. This policy is licensed under Creative Commons so that it may be remixed and reused. One of the key points for regulatory compliance is: "social media applications will not be used to sell products".

There are many other ways to use the medium without getting into trouble.

David Meerman Scott

Excellent comments. Thanks.

While I do concede that there are some complexities around the financial markets (as well as around healthcare), I do not buy the argument that social media is impossible in these industries.

Kudos to those pioneers who are making it happen.

John White

Meh. Don't expect to be bowled over by Robert's tweets. Nothing particularly interesting so far, and he's surely not going to throw open the kimono on Twitter.

Stephanie Sammons

It is actually very difficult for financial advisors to navigate social media. All posts, tweets, Q&A, and online conversations are considered 'advertising' and according the the regulatory bodies all advertising must be pre-approved. For most financial advisors that means that their compliance departments must read and review all communications before allowing the advisor to send or post them. Compliance departments aren't staffed to do this and aren't willing to subject their firms to the inherent risks of these communications. It is difficult enough for an advisor to simply send out an email and all email is tightly monitored. In addition, financial advisors are not permitted to communicate with clients or potential clients about financial matters and ideas through any other medium other than the firm computer system. This includes a cell phone! (unless the device is approved and linked to the firm system) Due to lawsuits and significant customer complaints that have occurred during the last two major market downturns of this decade, financial advisors are hesitant to put themselves at risk and understandably so. Financial firms that employ advisors will have to invest in systems that can capture, store and analyze all of these communications as well as train their financial advisors on best practices and I can assure you that this is currently not top of mind for them. Independent advisors have more flexibility (as many are self-employed and approve their own communications), but I see many of them are pushing the envelope potentially walking a fine line. Firm reputations and advisor reputations have been tarnished and although social networking could potentially help change the perception, the risks outweigh the benefits.
Mutual fund companies like Putnam don't face the same challenges. They don't employ advisors who manage client assets and these 'brands' have more flexibility in social networking. However, I do commend Putnam for getting involved in the conversation! I think it's very smart.
It is FINRA and the SEC that regulate financial advisors. They are the regulatory bodies that have put these laws into place and many of them are outdated.
What CAN financial advisors do? They can engage in social media to build relationships with people who share common interests. Before any client would entrust an advisor with their assets, a solid relationship would have to be built. Social media provides a medium for financial advisors to build those relationships with both existing clients as well as prospective clients. Oh yes, and they could also say what they do for a living and who they work for without getting into trouble!


In addition to building relationships (or ways to build them...) people in financial industry professions can use social media to:

Solicit customer/community feedback (perhaps about education?)

Publicize sponsored events, seminars, etc.

Share photos of sponsored events, seminars, offices, etc.

Monitor information about ______________________

Keep the brand fresh and up-to-date

Put a human voice to the brand


Fantastic! It's great to see new case studies emerge. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during that initial meeting about using twitter.

What decisions did they have to make, how did they come to an agreement of internal social media practices. That would also be extremely valuable to listen to or read.

Dragan Mestrovic

I think the understanding and the will to use ‘Social Media – Marketing’ for those firms have to come from the executive level first. If the executives are motivated to implement a social media strategy, than I am pretty sure, it will be implemented very quickly.

The motivation to change something comes only after a hard painful slap along with a revenue decrease!

For example, when clients change to a competitor for about his actually existing social media strategy along with a growing customer satisfaction which also results in a stronger viral or word of mouth buzz which spills new clients in.

Than they will try to jump to this very hasty, instead of doing it now without to be under pressure!

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