Finger on smartphone, tapping social network (Image: Shutterstock)

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, financial advisors are flocking to social media in order to maintain contact with clients and prospects and to stay abreast of developments in their industry, according to research released Monday by Greenwich Associates.

More than half the financial advisors participating in the study reported that they had increased their activity on LinkedIn and/or Twitter in the past year.

Thirty-eight percent of study respondents said they expected their usage of LinkedIn to increase further over the next year. Thirty-two percent said the same about their usage of Twitter, while 12% expected their use of the platform to slow.

The research showed that virus-related restrictions have all but eliminated in-person meetings. Since the start of the pandemic, two in three financial advisors in the study said they had spent more time in virtual meetings with clients.

About half of participants said they were now using social media to research and learn more about investment products and services.

Equally important is the role social media can play in prospecting and networking during the pandemic. Overall, 57% of financial advisors said their primary source of new clients was referrals; this percentage rose to 80% among North American advisors.

“Social media provides an opportunity for financial advisors to keep up the interaction and engagement that drive referrals,” Dan Connell, head of the market structure and technology at Greenwich Associates and the study’s co-author, said in a statement.

For the study, which was commissioned by LinkedIn, Greenwich Associates conducted online interviews during the second quarter with 1,124 financial advisors across the world.

Meeting the Future 

The interviews showed that more financial advisors expected to increase their use of LinkedIn than any other platform over the next two years.

Twitter was the second most-cited social media platform financial advisors expected to use more often, but it was also the platform on the list of sources financial advisors most frequently said they planned to use less.

One notable finding of the research was that a quarter of advisors did not know how to use social media platforms effectively. Greenwich Associates said for financial advisors who acknowledged they were not tech-savvy by nature, this can be daunting.

Going forward, it said, the most successful financial advisors will learn how to use social media to tap into a huge and highly engaged client base, particularly much-sought-after millennials.

“Social media plays a pivotal role as young people start thinking about creating a nest egg for the future,” Brad Tingley, market structure and technology analyst at Greenwich Associates and co-author of the report, said in the statement.

“To reach this younger population, financial advisors will have to meet them where they live — on social media. Otherwise, they will be left behind.”

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