Advisors Overwhelmingly Prefer LinkedIn Over Facebook, Twitter

New report from Practical Perspectives finds that 9 in 10 advisors use LinkedIn, far more than any other social media platform

There's still room to grow for advisors in social media. There's still room to grow for advisors in social media.

Advisors are far more likely to use LinkedIn than any other social media platform, followed by Facebook and then Twitter, according to a report released by Practical Perspectives on Friday.

More than 9 in 10 advisors use LinkedIn for business purposes, according to the report. Second place in popularity is Facebook, with 1 in 2 advisors relying on this platform. About 1 in 4 advisors use Twitter, less than 1 in 5 advisors use Google+ or YouTube, and less than 1 in 20 advisors use either Instagram or Pinterest for business purposes.

These findings further define LinkedIn’s status as a popular social media tool for advisors. A recent webinar hosted by Hootsuite Media reported financial advisors using social media significantly boosted their business using LinkedIn, as the National Bank of Canada found in a recent pilot project.

Advisors use LinkedIn most commonly for “reaching out or receiving connections from other users, creating or maintaining a profile, searching for contacts, and sending messages to other users,” according to the report.

While more and more advisors are embracing the use of social media, the Practical Perspectives report examines how advisors are using social media for business purposes and what impact it’s had on their businesses.

“Most advisors use social media and they expect their usage to continue to grow in the coming year, yet many appear to be just dabbling with this medium and are not fully grasping the opportunity,” said Howard Schneider, president of Practical Perspectives and author of the report, in a statement.

The report found that while the majority of advisors are using social media, few feel they are taking full advantage of social media’s capabilities. And a shocking number (1 in 4 advisors, or 26%) currently do not use social media for business purposes.

Among social media users, the report states that more than 1 in 2 advisors, or 57%, say they are “limited or not at all taking advantage of the capabilities of social media.” Meanwhile, advisors who believe they are “fully taking advantage of social media as a business tool” is a small percentage, just 6% of social media users.

“The challenge, of course, is for advisors to make social media a priority given other, more pressing business needs. With all the activities on the plates of most advisors, it is no surprise that many practitioners spend only minimal time each day on social media,” writes Schneider in the report.

While the report found that more than half of advisors have attended a social media training program or received support in some form during the past 12 months, there is still room to grow. The report suggests that advisor’s need greater support and training to encourage them to take advantage of social media on a regular basis.

“To achieve the full benefit of using social media advisors will likely need to increase the effort, commitment, and consistency they put into using various tools and platforms,” writes Schneider.

The report also found that few advisors feel like they are “very experienced” in their use of social media, less than 1 in 10 advisors.

Of the 74% of advisors surveyed that reported using social media, 1 in 3 said they are “less experienced users” and a similar number said they are “somewhat experienced.”

Some of their inexperience may be due to the fact that many advisors have only begun using social media in the past two years. This, the report says, also suggests an opportunity to train and assist advisors in applying social media.

“Many users have limited experience and want more training and support, especially on how to use social media to develop new business,” Schneider said in a statement. “Many advisors admit that social media has yet to achieve the results they expected. A challenge is that despite the efforts of broker-dealers, product providers and other sources that offer support, most advisors are self-reliant when it comes to implementing social media initiatives.”

The report is based online survey answers from more than 585 financial advisors from October/November 2014. Those surveyed include full-service brokers, independent brokers, financial planners, and Registered Investment Advisors.

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