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Big Asset Managers Slow to Adopt Social Media

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Only 49% of the largest U.S. institutional asset managers actively use one or more social media platforms, according to a study released Wednesday by BackBay Communications, a financial services marketing and public relations consulting firm.

BackBay examined Pensions & Investments’ most recent list of the 200 largest U.S. money managers by institutional assets under management, segmenting them into four asset tiers ranging from approximately $9 billion to nearly $5 trillion.

It then looked for each company’s presence and activity across Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. A firm was designated active on social media if it had at least one post in 2015.

The analysis showed that the firms in the study varied widely in their usage of social media.

In general, it found, adoption and strategies around social media tended to be more common among the biggest ones. Some 74% of the 50 firms with the most assets under management were active users, compared with about 56% of the next largest quartile.

Only 44% of the firms in the third quartile were active on social media, and just 22% of the fourth quartile firms were so engaged.

The LinkedIn and Twitter platforms each were used by roughly 38% of the 200 largest firms. Facebook trailed with usage by 23% of the asset managers.

BackBay noted that firms on LinkedIn used the platform mainly to provide a company overview or as an alternative outlet for job announcements. As well, it said, an increasing number of managers had begun to post original content on LinkedIn.

Asset management firms used Twitter mainly to disseminate company news.

“There is a huge opportunity for asset managers and other financial services firms to combine insightful content with distribution and engagement over social media platforms,” BackBay’s president and chief executive Bill Haynes said in a statement.

“Most of the largest asset managers have learned to harness the power of social media in support of their overall marketing objectives, while addressing compliance concerns.”

Haynes said the study had found a handful of holdouts among the largest companies that have historically approached brand-building more conservatively. However, adoption across the sector was a question of when, not if, Haynes said.

“We anticipate an increasingly broad adoption of social media among investment managers over the next year.”


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