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Advisors Getting More Clients Via Social Media: Putnam Investments

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Eighty-five percent of financial advisors in a nationwide survey said they use social media in their practices today, up from 75% in 2014, Putnam Investments reported Thursday.

Over the past three years, the percentage of those reporting success in gaining clients via social media rose from 49% to 80%. The median asset gain reported was $1.9 million, with the average gain at $4.9 million.

“The use of social media by the financial advisor community has matured to a level where it is ingrained in how business is conducted and how professionals communicate with their clients and prospects,” William Connolly, Putnam’s co-head of global distribution, said in a statement.

“In our ongoing dialogue with financial professionals, it is eminently clear that social media’s role as a critical conduit for advisors in reaching the marketplace is going to continue to deepen and evolve for the foreseeable future.”

The survey did show that although social media use is widespread across all age groups, only 60% of advisors older than 65 reported use, and their ranks appear to be shrinking.

The research, conducted online in July in conjunction with Brightwork Partners LLC, comprised 1,018 financial advisors who had been advising retail clients for at least two years.

Putnam’s study put a face on the typical financial advisor who gains assets through social media:

• Aged 43, works at an independent broker-dealer.

• Has 10 years of experience.

• Runs a book of business of $92 million (median).

• Is active on social media networks daily.

The research found LinkedIn continued to be advisors’ most popular platform, used by 55% of those polled, compared with 32% for Facebook and 12% for Twitter. However, advisors were accessing Facebook and Twitter more frequently because of their broader, less-formal settings and greater potential to establish and maintain client relationships.

Mark McKenna, Putnam’s head of global marketing, noted the continued growth of the more personally focused Facebook platform, which he said was being accessed by advisors in their ongoing work with clients. Its use by advisors for business rose from 36% in 2014 to 54% in 2016, while their use of LinkedIn for business went up from 64% in 2014 to 73% this year.

“Our research indicates that not only are a huge swath of advisors using social media in their practices today, they are actively combining their professional and personal presence on multiple platforms to further develop and strengthen their client relationships,” McKenna said.

According to the survey findings, 35% of advisors with more than $100 million in assets under management reported that social media played a major role in their marketing efforts.

Eighty-two percent of these large advisors said they had used social media to gain clients for a median gain of $4.7 million and an average one of $8.3 million. Putnam said this suggested that advisors with a bigger asset base were seeing correspondingly large gains because of social media.

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