More than 89,000 wealth managers from dozens of firms use Hearsay System's Client Engagement Platform. According to new data released by Hearsay, those advisors reached approximately 40 million consumers with their social media content in 2019, of which approximately 6.8 million unique consumers engaged back with the advisors as a result.
Even so, these advisors represent only a little over half of the 173,000 financial services professionals Hearsay studied for its third annual Financial Services Social Media Content Study, announced Wednesday. The remaining data, all of it anonymized, came from Hearsay's customer firms in various parts of the insurance industry.
The full number of advisors and insurance agents reached at total of 77.6 million consumers, of which approximately 13.5 million unique consumers engaged back. That’s based on data from 54 U.S. financial services firms—all customers of Hearsay—across the wealth management, property and casualty insurance, life insurance, and mortgage businesses in 2019.
Hearsay CEO and co-founder Clara Shih said she’s already seen some social media and client communication habits change as a result of the pandemic, which would likely be reflected in the next study.
“Something we noticed in March  data was that advisors were making a lot of calls on the weekend and in the evenings, far, far more than before the pandemic,” she said.
“Some advisors took it on themselves to text every single client—if the advisor beats the client to reaching out they score big-time,” Shih said, referring to how proactive and preemptive outreach can reassure clients in times of crisis.
She pointed out that in terms of customer acquisition and retention, social media has become a mainstay of advisor efforts, and one that has improved dramatically, in terms of efficiency, with the help of automation and the ability to track what works and what does not.
“We know with our early looks at data during the COVID-19 pandemic, that social media use has become even more compelling for wealth managers in communicating with clients given the market turmoil and economic uncertainty,” she said. It has become clear to her, she said, that many large firms have grown adept at outreach and being able to communicate effectively with advisors to customize corporate messages for their own use.
She points to the success New York Life had in extending its Super Bowl ad entitled “Love Takes Action” to its NYLIFE Securities broker/dealer. The b/d then sent it to its advisors so that they could customize it with their own messaging, within compliance bounds, for use on social media, which had good end user engagement.
Overall, Hearsay found that the social post data analyzed for its 2020 study achieved more than 23 million engagements across four networks that included Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Shih said that independent advisors would likely do well to strike a balance between content with the goal of reach and engagement, meaning that every post does not have to be sent out with the expectation of a click; sharing something informative with their branding can serve well just to keep an advisor’s name out there.
“You’d think there would be more correlation between them,” she said, but analysis showed there was little. Shih pointed out the “four Ds,” death, decline, divorce and debt, as examples of content that can have reach but likely lack engagement, meaning clicks or likes.
“When you share these you’ll get very little evidence of engagement, in other words you will find very few likes with this content, no one wants to like content about these topics, so you have to be very nuanced in how you measure success,” she said.