LinkedIn is actively courting the financial advisor industry, now that the social network for work professionals is seeing double-digit growth in the advisor segment.
Nine out of 10 financial advisors interviewed last year were leveraging LinkedIn, and their use of the site was growing in double digits, said Jennifer Grazel, LinkedIn’s global head of category development for financial services.
“We have about 400,000 advisors on our platform,” said Grazel (right). “Of advisors we surveyed last year, 62% were getting new clients, and of those, 32% were seeing an incremental impact on their bottom line of over $1 million in new assets under management.”
One such advisor, Cathy Curtis of Curtis Financial Planning, a certified financial planner based in the San Francisco Bay Area, has been identified by LinkedIn as a “super user” because she is so active on the site. She also uses Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube to boost her online profile.
“I think of marketing myself in terms of personal branding. I became really active online in 2008 after I rebranded my company and started to reach out more to women,” Curtis said. “All this activity online helps my Google profile. That’s the way things are going. It helps if someone in the Bay Area does a search and my name comes up high. Individuals want to connect with the person because if you advise someone about their money it’s a personal thing, so if you put your personal brand out there, you actively draw clients.”
Advisors, Investors Meet Online
At the same time that advisors are gravitating toward social media, investors also are using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media to make financial decisions.
On Wednesday, LinkedIn and Cogent released a study revealing that 63% of mass affluent consumers take action after using social media to learn about financial products and services. The research concludes that close to 90% of people with investable assets between $100,000 and $1 million are active social media users. Of those, 44% engage with financial institutions in social media, with more than a third actively following companies, liking, commenting and sharing content.
“In the past few years, purchase behavior has transformed,” LinkedIn’s Grazel wrote in a blog post introducing the study, “Influencing the Mass Affluent.” “Buyers are not informed or persuaded by advertising alone and are using the web and social networks to educate themselves on potential purchases. This is especially true in the financial sector, creating a tremendous opportunity for financial institutions to reach mass affluent audiences by providing rich content to earn trust and credibility.”
Finance companies are increasingly turning to social media not only because regulators have recently freed them to do so, but because more than 5 million affluent investors use social media to make financial decisions, according to Grazel, who joined LinkedIn two and a half years ago after years of digital marketing experience at Prudential, GE Money and Citibank.