Social media is being used by most investment advisors, and a majority say it has improved relationships with clients. In fact, 86% of those who use social media reported gaining business — an average of $5 million — according to a Putnam Social Advisor survey released in early April.
But a study released Thursday by Hearsay Systems goes deeper, viewing social media and content from three views: what clients or followers prefer, what corporate marketing teams produce, and what wealth advisors, as well as insurance and property/casualty insurance agents, push out. Better matching these elements could increase client engagement, the study concluded.
The study found some disconnects and surprises, says Abhay Rajaram, vice president of customer success at Hearsay, who was surprised to learn the “time-tested 70/20/10 rule [lifestyle/industry/corporate] best practice that the marketing industry promotes simply doesn’t apply in financial services area … Interesting that certain norms you take for granted could be so dramatically different from reality.”
Overall in financial services — the three groups studied were wealth managers, insurance and P&C insurance agents — lifestyle-oriented content, content that informs and entertains on nonfinancial matters, was the most engaged on average by clients (48%), according to the Hearsay study, followed by corporate posts (42%), that is, branded posts intended to sell or educate consumers on a firm’s products and services, while industry-related posts (27%), which are non-branded content intended to educate consumers about more general financial matters, were least engaged. The study looked at social media data from 77,000 financial advisors and insurance agents at 15 enterprise financial services firms.
The disconnect comes from what engages clients to what financial service managers push out to what corporate marketing teams produce. Advisors were most likely to seek out and publish industry-related content (41%), which the report surmises is so advisors would be viewed as financial experts who were up to date with the latest news and trends, but only 27% of followers engaged in those posts.
Likewise, corporate marketing teams mostly pushed out corporate content (45%), but it has a low publishing rate — 26% — by advisors.
Further, lifestyle content was the “least suggested” content by corporate marketing teams (23%), but had the highest engagement rate, which is problematic for advisors and marketing teams as it means overpublishing of lifestyle content and the danger of “limiting its authenticity by oversaturating a social audience with the same exact message,” the study found.