In its most recent Mutual Fund Monitor report, released in September, Corporate Insight highlighted trends in how mutual fund advisors use social media.
Corporate Insight monitors 17 asset management firms. Of those, eight offer guidance on using technology and social media, and were included in the report. Of those, half don’t advertise their educational materials. Corporate Insight noted that just Putnam and BlackRock prominently display their technology outreach efforts on their homepage.
That advisors are adopting social media in their marketing strategies is a well-established fact, but Corporate Insight found that despite Facebook outnumbering other social media sites in number of users (Facebook had 1 billion active users as of October, according to company info), LinkedIn, with 175 million users as of August, was used by all of the advisors in the survey, compared with 71% who use Facebook.
Within a firm’s technology education efforts, social media is the most common subject, sometimes to the extent that no others are discussed. Half of the firms that provide tips for advisors to improve their technology initiatives address topics other than social media. Those topics usually include mobile technology and email. Corporate Insight pointed to Allianz as an example of a firm that does a good job of explaining how advisors can use social media platforms and how to evaluate that part of their marketing campaigns. Putnam and iShares were also mentioned as firms with exemplary technology information that wasn’t limited to social media.
Naturally, compliance is top of mind for advisors using social media (although an August SEI Quick Poll found content, not compliance, was advisors’ No. 1 concern regarding social media use). Some firms, especially Lord Abbett, are explicit in rules regarding social media, including suggestions for technology solutions to help stay compliant.
Corporate Insight listed some best practices for firms to make the most of their technology and social media educational resources:
- Centralize and promote resources so they’re easy to find.
- Provide concrete, practical steps.
- In addition to social media, include information on mobile technology, webinars and effective email strategy.
- Keep all your communications consistent, regardless of subject.
- Blogs are an effective way to include advisors in the conversation and keep current.