If there’s any question about advisors using social media as a business-building tool, the lastest Putnam Investments survey should dispel that uncertainty. Moreover, it’s not just younger advisors who have embraced the tool, and it’s not just smaller clients who are being reached.
Putnam Investments 2015 Social Advisor Study found that 81% of the 817 respondents in the survey said they used social media for business purposes, and 79% said they had gained new clients through social channels.
LinkedIn remains the most widely used network — 70% of advisors use it — for prospecting and referral building, Facebook was used by 47% of respondents, and Twitter by 42%. The median amount of assets gathered through social media rose to $1.9 million from $1.2 million in 2014’s survey, but the average was $4.6 million, suggesting that advisors were attracting some large accounts through social.
Mark McKenna, head of global marketing at Putnam Investments, said the findings confirmed the “breadth” of social media use “across the channels.” While independent advisors tended to be the early adopters of social, “wirehouses have come on in a very big way” as the big Wall Street firms have come to understand that an advisor’s individual social media activity “accrues back to the [parent] brand.”
What advisors in general have realized is that they cannot afford not to “keep up with one of the most important relationship-driving tools in the business.” Advisors no longer are wondering ‘How can I fit one more thing into my day,” and social is now beginning to replace advisors’ broader, and often “untargeted” media marketing efforts.
In addition, advisors are no longer “standing by as a receiver” of social media messages, but are “sharing content that they see on YouTube, or shortline videos or Instagram” content with clients and prospects. The mention of Instagram was not by chance: the survey found that 40% of the responding advisors report they use four or more social media networks for business purposes. “We’ve seen growth in Facebook use,” McKenna said, and while men and women are “very homogeneous” in their social media use, 37% of the women advisors surveyed said they use Facebook “as a primary channel. They’re connecting on a personal level with clients.”