Nearly three-quarters of U.S. financial advisors who used social media for business were able to initiate new relationships or onboarded new clients since late February, according to a new study by Putnam Investments.
The pulse edition of the firm’s annual Social Advisor Survey of financial advisors found that 55% of advisors who initiated new client relationships say they had increased their use of social media during the pandemic. In addition, 9 in 10 advisors indicate that social media has changed the nature of client relationships during the pandemic.
“Advisors’ active use of social media during the pandemic has been critical to their success, not only in communicating with prospects and referrals, but also in advancing their ongoing relationships with clients,” says Mark McKenna, Head of Global Marketing at Putnam Investments.
Indeed, advisors have proven adept at managing their practices through the public health crisis by finding additional ways of engaging their clients.
The study found that 74% of advisors relied on direct messaging through key social network platforms to communicate with clients and prospects, and of those, 94% reported gaining new assets. Among the survey’s key findings are that:
- 50% use direct messaging on LinkedIn, with 92% gaining assets;
- 38% use Facebook for direct messaging, with 98% reported gaining assets;
- 33% use Twitter for direct messaging, with 98% gaining assets; and
- 26% use direct messaging on Instagram, with 98% gaining assets.
And it appears these adjustments are here to stay, as 84% of respondents expect that the changes made to their communications methods will largely be kept intact moving forward.
Platforms of Choice
Putnam notes that even though there has been increased usage across all networking platforms since it began tracking the usage in 2013, LinkedIn remains the clear leader. According to the findings, the social network platforms that advisors use most for business are:
- LinkedIn (85%)
- Facebook (65%)
- Twitter: (57%)
- YouTube (53%)
- Instagram (46%)
- Snapchat (31%)
In using LinkedIn during the first few months of the pandemic, nearly half of advisors (48%) who initiated new relationships report using the platform’s InMail feature to contact out-of-network prospects and 36% say they have hosted or participated in a LinkedIn Live session.
Moreover, 80% of advisors who initiated new relationships since late February used one of LinkedIn’s premium memberships, the survey found.
Home Office Support
Nearly all advisors (90%) reported that support from their home offices made a positive difference as they worked remotely by enabling and supporting their use of social media. Notably, advisors pointed toward specific areas where their home offices have laid the groundwork for their social media efforts, including:
- providing timely content to post (55% of advisors);
- expanding the number of social networks approved for business use (48%);
- providing access to support resources (45%); and
- offering training from partner firms (40%), home office (37%) and third parties (27%).
To explore changes in their use of social media in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pulse survey was conducted online June 9-23, 2020, in conjunction with NMG Consulting, and included 252 financial advisors across the U.S. who have advised retail clients for more than two years and have used social media for business. The 2020 edition of the survey was conducted in November and December 2019 among 1,010 retail advisors.