What Advisors Can Learn From Millennials’ Dislike of Banks

Social media executives stress that advisors can build strong engagement online with clients and prospects

Many millennials think tech startups will dirupt banks, Thillaiampalam says. Many millennials think tech startups will dirupt banks, Thillaiampalam says.

When it comes to courting millennials, some financial services firms have big hurdles to overcome.

“Seventy-one percent of them would rather go to a dentist than listen to what a bank has to say,” explained Menaka Thillaiampalam, head of North America financial services marketing at LinkedIn, during a social media seminar put on by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association on Thursday.

The reason? Many in this demographic group believe they don’t need to bother with bank machines, rules, account minimums and other red tape.

“Sixty-eight percent of millennials say within five years, we will access money in totally different ways from how we do so today,” Thillaiampalam said. “And nearly half of them say technology startups will overhaul how banks work.”

Yet, the LinkedIn executive added, “We see these changes as societal shifts and not generational.”

For instance, about 35% of Betterment clients are wealthy or high-net-worth, she says. “Many of them could be young,” but not all of them.

What to do?

When targeting millennials, it’s important to keep in mind that they are eternal optimists, open minded, control freaks, social centric and hungry for educational information, LinkedIn found in its 2015 research.

“They also really want thought leadership,” Thillaiampalam explained. “So what about focusing more on communications with them around thought leadership on social media?”

The LinkedIn executive also says that 75% of investors want their financial advisors to give them educational content online, and that 35% of prospective clients turn to social media and other online platforms for advice.

“They are using social media and the Web to validate their choices, so thought leadership should be seen as a tactical or strategic step,” she said.  

Advisor Arena

For advisors and other financial professionals, LinkedIn offers the chance to improve relationships with prospects. Advisors can post blogs on financial issues, such as market volatility, or share links to their website or research on LinkedIn, Thillaiampalam says.

“Social media is about deepening relationships,” the executive said.

“It’s also about listening and learning,” said Dan Greenberg, a senior account executive with Twitter.

According to Greenberg, who specializes in financial services, 42% of financial advisors say social media is driving referrals. “And 67% of high-growth advisors see it as having a positive impact on client accounts,” he added.

“Millennials are expecting this engagement,” said Steven Samuels, a managing director of client segments and advisor development at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. “You have got to be in social media — not out!”

--- Check out 3 Big Benefits of Social Media: Business Insights, Client Relationships, Market Prediction on ThinkAdvisor.

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