By Mostafa Razzak
Many people in financial services see social media as a simple broadcast platform, where messages, blog posts and other featured communications stick to a billboard as though they were press releases or boilerplate content that’s better than nothing. Others see it as a “time suck” that takes away from the serious work of doing business the old-fashioned way. But a number of recent studies show that social media produces potent results beyond the misconceptions, as it helps financial professionals fill sales pipelines, construct new ones and recruit fresh prospects.
A 2016 study by the asset management firm Putnam Investments, which surveyed more than 1,000 financial advisors, reached this conclusion: “Advisors ARE social.” The Putnam Social Advisor Survey found that 85 percent of advisors use social media actively—up more than 10 percent from the 75 percent tallied in 2014.
Among other key findings, the study found that “Effective use of social media by advisors is no longer controversial or unproven.” Thanks in part to better established compliance frameworks, “advisor social media use is growing in application and sophistication.”
Yet, how do those findings translate to bottom line gains in prospects and income? Four in five respondents say they’re recruiting new clients on the platforms, compared to 49 percent in 2013. That adds up to $4.9 million in average assets gained through social media, the survey found, with $1.9 million the median asset gain attributed to social media use.
Thus, if you’re not leveraging social media in a way that goes beyond the occasional Facebook post or retweeted news item, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to grow your business. Still, it’s never too late to incorporate social media into your sales strategy, even as you learn from the successes of other peers and pros. Here are five ways that you as a financial advisor can make social media work to your advantage:
Mostafa Razzak is CEO & Principal of JMRConnect, a multi-national public relations and strategic digital communications firm. Mostafa is also the Mid-Atlantic Chairman for the Internet Marketing Association.