Results are out for the first quarter of 2012 in the Financial Professionals Social Media Adoption Study, a regular piece of research sponsored by American Century Investments. You can find the whole report here but for those of you who like your news in brief, here are some of the stats we found most the interesting.
Often it’s the questions that probe a little deeper that are most useful. We know, intuitively, that the use of social media is rising – but not yet universal – amongst financial professionals but the debate gets more complex when it comes to what content social media channels should be used to provide.
According to the results of this survey, social media friendly advisers mainly turned to social channels to keep abreast of and share industry news.
What content do financial professionals want from asset managers?
The top three most popular types of content were commentary / market insight, educational content to share with clients and market news.
By now, the message should be getting through loud and clear that advisers are looking for value adding content that they can use with clients to help cement relationships. Product information came lower down the list, and so, perhaps more surprisingly, did fund manager appearances.
Despite the rising popularity of video, webinars or fund manager appearances trailed behind more conventional ways of sharing information socially.
Perhaps the key to understanding this trend is the fact that we are talking about advisers here. Advisers love content that can help them satisfy clients, offer added value services and generally ‘service’ a relationship. Whilst basic commentary can be interpreted, or shared in a way that can reflect glory on the both the adviser and the asset manager, videos are harder to share collaboratively. If an adviser forwards a link to a client for a video or webinar they really are just forwarding a link, whereas, it’s easier to put an individual stamp on written information.
Most important social media offering an asset manager can provide?
Having determined what type of content is valued, the next question inevitably involves the specific social media channel to use. Everyone knows the time that can be spent setting up and maintaining a presence over multiple social networks so which are the big hitters? Which ones are likely to give you the best return for your effort?
The clear winner was LinkedIn. Whilst Facebook dominates recreational social networking, LinkedIn is fast establishing itself as the only destination for business based communication and seems particularly well suited to the financial sector.
Next on the list came ‘adviser communities’ showing that advisers really value that tailor made, specialist effort that goes into setting up and managing online communities. Providing a safe space online for thought leadership, the sharing of best practice or simply providing a way to get quick answers to the day’s burning questions seems to have a strong appeal… making the case for all asset managers to add some sort of online community function to their offering.
Do you have a formal social media policy in place?
And finally, what about policy and regulation? After all, that’s what things often come down to in the financial space. Whilst those unconvinced by the potential of social media continue to cite compliance concerns as the no. 1 barrier, there is still a jaw dropping 40% of people who claim to have no formal social media policy in place.
Given that social media is everywhere…that the lack of a policy most certainly will not restrict people’s appetite to ‘get stuck in’ it’s surely these people who are sticking their head in the sand that have the most to fear from compliance.
We’ll be focusing in on social media policies and sharing some tips for how to develop your own in future post so, if you haven’t already subscribed to the Kurtosys blog make sure that you sign up to avoid missing out.