Few things shock a sleepy audience awake better than a rash of startling statistics. Mike Byrnes did just that at his early morning presentation at the 2013 FSI OneVoice Conference in San Diego on Tuesday.

The proprietor of Massachusetts-based Byrnes Consulting hammered advisors in the audience over their use (or lack of thereof) of social media marketing.

Mike Byrnes“A few years ago, most advisors weren’t using social media,” Byrnes (left) said. “Now many have tried it and have dropped it, something I call iQuit. If so, they’re making a big mistake, because change is coming, and it’s coming exponentially rather than in the traditional linear fashion.”

The session, titled “Social Media—A Communications Revolution,” began by noting these four powerful facts:

  1. Ninety-two percent of the world’s data was created in just the past two years.
  2. Today’s smartphone would have been the most powerful computer in the world in 1985.
  3. About 120 million people in the U.S. now own smartphones, up 30 million in just the past year.
  4. More than 48 million people own a tablet, representing a staggering growth of 300% from last year. The tablet is, in fact, the fastest growing electronic device ever created.

Specifically zeroing in on Facebook, Byrnes noted that each week, more than 3.5 billion pieces of content are shared; in November alone, it had 150 million unique visitors in the U.S., and 10% of total minutes spent online were spent on Facebook.

“What does this mean for advisors?” he rhetorically asked. “It’s where they need to be, because it’s where their prospects are spending the majority of their time.”

He added that it’s critical for advisors to have a good reputation on the web—or as he called it “a good webutation.”

“If you don’t have a good webutation, you won’t be found,” he said.

He doesn’t believe the Internet will replace referrals as the primary source of new business (at least not yet), but the two complement each other.

“Once a prospect is referred to you, they will research you online before coming to see you.”

He said a good opportunity to build trust prior to meeting prospect is through the use of online video. Employing more statistics to back his point, he listed the following:

  • A fifth of Google searches each day have never been searched for before.
  • About 182 million U.S. Internet users watched 38.7 billion online videos in December.
  • 84.9% of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.

“YouTube is now the second-largest search engine,” he concluded. “If a picture says 1,000 words, a video says much more.”


Check out complete conference coverage at AdvisorOne’s FSI OneVoice 2013 enhanced landing page.