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Fewer than half of CFPs use social media professionally

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Almost three-quarters of certified financial planners use social media, but less than half use it for professional purposes, according to a new report.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., Washington, D.C., discloses this finding in a survey of 3,532 CFP professionals regarding their use of social media. The study’s unveiling coincides with the CFP Board’s rollout of a “Social Media Guide for CFP Professionals,” which aims to help the 67,000 CFPs promote their CFP marks through social media.

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More than 7 in 10 (73 percent) of those surveyed say they use social media, though only about 45 percent use it for professional purposes. The top reasons CFP professionals cited for not using social media for professional purposes included:

  • Compliance prohibitions and limitations (37%);
  • Uncertainty over compliance and regulatory requirements (33%); and
  • Lack of time (20%).

“These results indicate that CFP professionals are interested in using social media as a platform to educate the public about the value of financial planning and why they should use a CFP professional in addition to using it as a tool to network,” says CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller. “More work needs to be done though to help CFP professionals and others better understand the rules of the road when it comes to the use of these communications tools.”

Additional highlights of the survey include:

  • The most popular social media channel for professional use is LinkedIn (81.9%), followed by blogs (71.8%), Twitter (45.9%), Google+ (34.5%) and Facebook (19.6%)
  • CFP professionals’ compliance departments prohibit them most often from using:
    • Facebook (33%)
    • Twitter (29.4%)
    • YouTube (28.7%)
  • Top reasons cited for using social media professionally are to:
    • Network with other financial planning professionals (44.8%)
    • Keep up with professional news and trends (43.1%)
    • Marketing and business promotion (33.1%)
  • 61.2% of CFP professionals post to social media channels “infrequently”
  • 70% stated their firm or company has a formal social media policy in place. These policies most often address:
    • Procedures for monitoring social media usage by compliance departments (67.6%)
    • Limitations on topics that may be shared or discussed on social media channels (64.7%)
    • Requirements for prior approval of all outgoing communication on social media (63.8%)
  • 41% of respondents use “CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional” to describe themselves to clients. The terms “financial advisor” and “financial planner” were also commonly used.