FPA Turns to Social Media, With More to Come
The Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) has taken the plunge into social media and plans to extend its online presence in the coming months.
On 3 April 2012, the association announced that membership in its LinkedIn Membership Forum, a forum established in November 2011, had passed the 1,000 mark. According to Mark Rantall, FPA’s CEO, the forum was attracting 10 new discussions and more than 30 comments, while registering an average of 40 new members, each week.
At the same time, the association has established a presence on Twitter as another way to communicate with its members. Chief Marketing Officer Lindy Jones acknowledged that less than 10 percent of financial planners communicate through Twitter, but emphasised its value at a time when so much is changing for the financial and insurance industries, especially in light of pending Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms. “FPA members who follow us on Twitter appreciated the minute-by-minute updates from January PJC inquiry and the February SEC hearings into FoFA.” Jones said that Twitter’s immediacy was uniquely valuable as a means to keep FPA members informed via “minute-by-minute updates.”
The FPA’s Twitter stream has attracted a robust following, according to the organization, especially as it has been in existence for less than two months, but the LinkedIn group, open only to FPA members, has been a better venue for communication among those members. This communication helps to guide the association’s response to legislative and regulatory developments.
According to Jones, “The subject matter, collegiate tone and calibre of insight distinguish this Forum from any other online media for financial planners." As a result, the association looks to LinkedIn for insight into members’ views when developing government policy submissions. “For instance, the Federal Budget submission in January prompted a debate in the Forum about the hot topic of tax deductibility of advice fees. The Forum's views were taken into account when we developed the Submission."
In light of its success in social media to date, the association has announced ambitious plans to develop further online activity. It expects to add member forums to its existing sites and, according to a recent announcement, plans to launch “a new online knowledge hub and practical toolkits in the next month to deliver further value to its members.”