According to recent research from Putnam Investments, the percentage of advisors reporting that social media has helped them gain clients has increased dramatically, up from 49% to 86% in just five years. These advisors say social media has disrupted how they approach prospects, convert them to clients, and conduct business, all while sharply reducing their face-to-face time. Among the top findings:
• 60% say social media is a “great deal more efficient” than traditional networking.
• 83% say social media has helped shorten the time needed to turn a prospect into a client.
• Nearly nine out of ten (88%) report that social media has changed their relationship with their clients, through easier information sharing and greater contact frequency.
• More than one-third maintain that social media plays a “very significant role in their marketing efforts.”
It’s probably no surprise that LinkedIn is where most of the action is (although usage of other networks is growing while LinkedIn usage appears to have plateaued): 73% of advisors engage it for business use, personal use, or both. Its top five uses are to:
• Accept connections
• List my company/firm on my profile
• Request connections
• Follow companies
• Display skills
Facebook comes in second, but those who use both report they use Facebook more frequently – an average of 22 times per month versus only 16 for LinkedIn. As one survey respondent puts it, “LinkedIn is primarily for people seeking solutions rather than relationships, which is where Facebook is more effective.”
Most advisors agree that social media has helped them build their business and that greater usage is a top priority. However, almost half are “self-taught,” learning through hands-on experience and friends and family guidance. This may not result in optimal use of social media.
Social media is growing as a powerful sales and marketing tool, and advisors who ignore it, to do so at their peril. Social media needs to be considered and deployed strategically in the context of an integrated approach to prospecting and client nurturing.