Alternative investment professionals understand the power of social media and are embracing it as a communications, research and productivity tool in both the workplace and the home, according to a new Horizon Cash Management survey released May 24.
The survey revealed that more than eight of 10 professionals in the alternative investment sector were at least somewhat familiar with social media. One-third identified themselves as frequent or avid users, while one-half said they were only occasional users.
More than half of respondents said they use one or more social media channels in both their professional and personal lives. Approximately 25% use social media only for work, and 15% do so only in their personal lives.
The survey found that LinkedIn was the most frequently used social media product, with seven of eight respondents reporting using it. Facebook was used by some 66% of survey participants, Skype by more than 40% and Twitter by 33%. The findings were in line with those of a survey of financial professionals released in March by American Century Investments.
Participants’ frequency of use of social media sites they access divided roughly evenly: about 30% reported frequent use (20+ times per week), while a little less than 40% said they used social media five to 20 times per week, and nearly 33% said they did so less than five times per week. Based on these figures, Horizon surmised that 80% of usage was likely attributable to the top 20% of users.
The study identified three factors that prompt respondents to use social media in their professional lives. Six of 10 participants said their main reason for using social media was “capturing information and gathering intelligence.” The same number of respondents cited “networking.” Nearly half said that “exchanging information with the people in my industry” was why they used social media. Only a quarter of participants reported using these channels to share professional opinions with others. “These findings suggest that, at least among our respondent group, the professional use of social media seems to be more likely to draw in information that to express it outwardly,” Horizon said.