Bridget Greenwood, president of Financial Social Media UK, assesses a coincidental - but probably telling - stat about advisers using social media…
The influence and impact that social media is having across all businesses cannot be ignored. In fact, it is now a multi-billion dollar industry. The question is: what are advisers doing to take advantage of social media for their business, what results are they getting and who is getting involved?
In November 2012, Financial Social Media UK, together with the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP), conducted a survey asking more than 2,000 independent financial advisers what their views and experiences were with social media. The findings were interesting:
- One third of advisers said they did not know how to use social media in their business…
- …which rather explains why a third also could not see how it might be useful;
- Just over a quarter of respondents felt they didn’t have the time to invest in a social media strategy;
- A fifth claimed their clients weren’t on any social network.
Start with the end in mind
Where would your business be today without a website, the internet, your mobile or email? What would your clients think of your firm if you were not using these technological advances? Why do you think social media is any different?
What's not to like about social media?
All advisers and financial planners know the phrase “fail to plan and you plan to fail”, and most will be familiar with Dr Stephen Covey’s “start with the end in mind.”
You’d be rather concerned if you met an adviser who did not believe in the benefits of planning when it comes to finances. So why, when it comes to social media, are these pearls of wisdom apparently forgotten?
Only 18.6% of advisers have a social media marketing plan, and coincidentally 18.6% of advisers have gained new clients through social media.
Those advisers who are using social media are doing so mainly to keep up with industry news and best practices, chat with journalists and talk with other advisers, and they’re mainly using LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs to do so.
Only one third are using social media to talk with existing clients and less still to attract new business.
Winning new business
Despite these low numbers – and self-confessed lack of understanding how to effectively use social media – 40% of advisers who showed up on social media daily had gained new clients.
“Being a centre of influence in client’s lives is key to the role of being a successful financial planner,” said Nick Cann, chief executive of the IFP.
“The best financial planners have typically been the early adopters of new ideas. Social media is now becoming main stream and should be at the core of a financial planning business’s marketing and communication strategy.”
Many cite client referral and professional connections as areas to focus on for new business. A sensible social media strategy will help significantly with this goal.
‘Social media is invaluable’
Martin Bamford, managing director, Informed Choice
“Twitter and LinkedIn tend to be the most popular channels for professional advisers, with most of the solicitors we work with using LinkedIn and many of them now using Twitter.
One thing that has helped us to develop better relationships using Twitter has been the ability to share knowledge and opportunities. We have helped some of our solicitor connections by delivering Twitter training in-house to their various departments and one-to-one support for those solicitors who want to become active on Twitter.
“Twitter has also been very useful for sharing links to interesting articles, identifying content that we have been able to re-publish on our blog and to generally socialise, finding out about their out-of-work interests. Social media is invaluable when it comes to building relationships with professional connections.
“If you are not actively engaging with your professional connections online, one of your competitors will be!”
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