Financial advisors using social media can significantly boost their business using LinkedIn, as the National Bank of Canada found in a recent pilot project. In fact, the bank says it had a 400% return on its social media investment, which allowed its wholesalers to train 500 investment advisors targeting next-generation clients over a 10-month period.
“One 60-year-old financial advisor [with an older client base] tried reaching out to the next generation of clients without much success before this,” said Patrice Cayer, regional VP for western Canada of National Bank of Canada (TSE: NA) in Calgary, Alberta, during a webinar hosted by Hootsuite Media on Tuesday. “With LinkedIn, he got next-generation referrals to ensure the transition of wealth down the line.”
LinkedIn, like other social media tools, gives financial advisors information about their clients’ hobbies, interests and more. “They can keep up with their clients’ passions, charitable activities, alumni clubs and more,” said Cayer, who previously worked in distribution for Invesco. “They can uncover more with LinkedIn,” rather than just using their own electronic files and paper records.
National Bank sees social media as a significant business tool. As a result, it relies on LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (or SSI) to measure the use of social media in sales. It also includes social media use in employees’ yearly evaluations.
“As we found, as one advisor had success, others jumped on board,” explained Cayer. “It’s great to have a showcase pilot [program] to show that social media is working.”
With three months of LinkedIn use, advisors had generated 257 meetings.
“NBC advisors who received the training saw on average a 20% increase in SSI and 33% increase in connections, making it clear NBC wholesalers had an impact and are highly sought after to provide training on Social Selling and LinkedIn,” noted the bank in its wealth-management case study.
Erica Ayotte, customer service executive for Hootsuite Media, a social media platform provider based in Vancouver, British Columbia, says the numbers don’t lie when it comes to the payback for advisors and banks that use tools like LinkedIn.
“Customers that use social media to interact with their banks are 12% more likely to be mass affluent and 18% more likely to be emerging affluent than typical bank customers,” Ayotte said during the webinar. In addition, “Thirty-four percent of affluent investors are using social media for personal finance and investing.”
As for advisors, 40% say they have acquired new clients via Facebook; 25% have done so through LinkedIn; and 21% through Twitter, according to Hootsuite.
Social media supports advisors’ long-term relationships with clients, she says, as more people turn to technology for their communications: “Social media is about two-way communication, about coming full circle, sharing content and getting a response.”
Plus, advisors and banks are finding that social media brings them “a wider audience.” By using LinkedIn, Ayotte explains, advisors are finding an efficient and effective way to get in touch with their connections’ connections.