Trick or Tweet: Twitter 101 for Financial Advisors

Oct 31, 2013

The following is a guest blog post by Amy Sitnick, Senior Marketing Manager for the SEI Advisor Network and self-BAtsdescribed social media addict. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter. Also – be sure to check out the SEI Advisor Network Facebook page!

It seemed appropriate to me to address Twitter on Halloween. After all, I’ve covered LinkedIn best practices, as well as Facebook recently on the blog, but noticeably absent has been Twitter. And that’s because it seems like everyone is afraid of it (or the butt of jokes – have you seen “Hashtag” from Jimmy Fallon?)

Well, today I tell you why you shouldn’t be afraid and how Twitter can be useful to you.

So, what the heck is Twitter anyway?

Good question. Courtesy of Wikipedia: Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read “tweets,” which are text messages limited to 140 characters.

In plain English, Amy McIlwain of Financial Social Media uses the analogy that Twitter is like a “cocktail party,” and that’s true. You can mix and mingle with anyone – meaning individuals, companies, publications, and more. And unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, you don’t need to be “friends” or “connected” to the companies or individuals to interact with them.

Twitter may also seem a little intimidating because it has its own unique terminology – tweets, retweets, hashtags, etc. It’s all defined for you right here.

But without trying it out, Twitter may continue to spook you. My suggestion is to create a personal profile  for yourself and just play with it. Learn the lingo by following companies and brands that interest you. You don’t have to tweet a thing; just “listen” and see what conversations are taking place – that’s the first step in getting started with any social media platform.

Here’s a great article that features “Five Tips to Help You Fall in Love with Twitter.”

Email overload? Try Twitter.

So why use Twitter? I’m always hearing from advisors that they get too much email (I feel the same way, by the way). Chances are, the very same trade publications, news sources, and companies that send you email updates use Twitter. That means, if you download the Twitter app to your mobile phone or tablet, or access it from a browser on your computer, you can go there to get your news, rather than junking up your email box (a junky email account keeps me up at night).

Here are the Twitter accounts of a few publications that you might want to follow on Twitter:

• Financial Advisor Magazine

• Investment News 

• Financial Planning 

• Investment Advisor Magazine

• RIA Biz 

• Advisor Perspectives 

And then there are investment companies. Look up the providers that you work with in the Twitter search box and then follow their profiles. And of course, we invite you to “follow” SEI:

• SEI Advisor Network – @SEIAdvisors 

• John Frownfelter, Investments – @SEIJohnF 

• John Anderson, Practice Management – @SEIJohnA

• Raef Lee, Technology – @SEIRaefL

• Amy Sitnick, Social Media /Marketing – @SEIAmyS

And just for fun, here are some other brands that have been deemed best brands to follow that might provide some entertaining and newsworthy updates.

Organizing Your Twitter feed into lists

Once you start following more and more accounts, you’ll want to organize them in a meaningful way to help you keep track of them. You can do that by using Twitter lists.  By doing so, if you only want to hear news from financial planning associations or sports teams or celebrity news – hey, I won’t judge you, this is your personal Twitter account – you can put them into individual lists and only view that type of news. It’s like a “filter” and lately, this has been one of my favorite Twitter features.

Are Advisors Using Twitter?

I’ve suggested in this article that you get started first using Twitter by setting up a personal account. However, some advisors are using Twitter quite successfully to connect with clients and prospects. Stephanie Sammons of Wired Advisor offers advisors tips on using social media for business, including this article on building a professional profile – the absolute first step in using Twitter for business.


I hope that this article took some of the fear out of Twitter. In a future post, I’ll offer additional best practices for setting up your Twitter profile. And if you are an active Twitter user, I’d love to hear your experiences – why you think it’s useful and if you’re using it for personal or business purposes.


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Amy Sitnick

Amy Sitnick

Amy Sitnick is the social media contributor for Practically Speaking and also serves as a senior marketing manager for the SEI Advisor Network.

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