Registered reps using BrightScope’s (www.brightscope.com) platform, which rates advisors and 401k plans and helps investors connect with reps, can now automatically archive static content, interactive media and additional social media posts through a partnership with social media archiving firm Arkovi (www.arkovi.com).
The firms inked the deal within the last three months, as BrightScope’s small community of advisors had been asking how they could ensure that content they created would be recorded for regulators. BrightScope’s CEO and co-founder Mike Alfred said Arkovi stood out for its ability to work with reps at firms of all sizes.
“We wanted something that had a good reputation with advisors, but could work with individuals as well as a large firm,” says Alfred.
The need to archive social media continues to grow as financial services firms rapidly adopt social media tools including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Comments, posts and tweets need to be monitored and in some cases captured according to regulators. But static content must be archived as well. And BrightScope allows reps to build branded web pages through its service for $100 a month, an additional marketing avenue to attract prospects.
Alfred says that BrightScope’s users will eventually be able to automatically sign up for Arkovi with a simple click from BrightScope’s own site. Reps will be given a 30-day free trial of Arkovi’s social media solution, which will then click over to a standard price of less than $10 a month. Seamless integration may take a few more weeks, however, and reps may need to log on to Arkovi directly at first, he says. But Alfred believes reps will quickly gravitate to the new social media archiving tool particularly as services on BrightScope continue to grow beyond profile pages.
One new service is an advisor message board, where investors can post financial questions for reps to hopefully answer directly. The board had a soft launch earlier this month, already drawing responses from about 10 advisors, says Alfred, who adds he is considering adding additional social media features, such as integrating with Facebook or other sites.
The user community at Brightscope, launched in 2011, is slowly approaching 1,000 members, says Alfred. The site had a rough introduction to the advisor community at launch because advisors were dismayed when it published public, but hard to find, information about them on its site, such as complaints, legal issues and assets under management. Many complained of inaccuracies, wanting errors fixed. But BrightScope has maintained it has the right to publish the public data.
Arkovi’s CEO Blane Warrene says he applauds BrightScope’s business format, opening the doors to information that investors may have difficulty finding on their own. He says the model of breaking down doors also mirrors the new social media paradigm that the financial services community is swiftly adopting.
“We went into this deal with our eyes wide open,” says Warrene. “What we love about what social media has done is that it has created a new transparency. All this data is floating all over the place and the public doesn’t know how to get it and BrightScope puts it all in one place. To us, that transparency is beautiful.”