Financial advisers are using social media as their main marketing tool, with twice as many using it compared to traditional routes, such as sponsorship of local sports teams and client events.
Seven out of 10 (70 per cent) of the 379 users of Intelliflo’s Intelligent Office who took part in a 2018 survey engage in social media activity for business purposes, up from 58 per cent in 2014 when Intelliflo’s annual survey began. In a new question about the other marketing tools used by advisers, ‘events where clients and prospects are invited’ was top, with just over a third (36 per cent) using this route. Sponsorship was second (31 per cent) and email was third (30 per cent).
However, according to Hearsay, a specialist social media service available via Intelligent Office, many of those who use social media to promote their businesses could make it work more effectively for them.
Lucas Wilkens, EMEA Managing Director at Hearsay, says: “Understanding how consumers interact with social media is the key to gaining engagement and building a credible business brand via the different social platforms. Much of the frustration we see with social media marketing is down to the disconnect between what advisers think they should publish and what their potential audience actually wants to see. It’s about getting the balance right. Our analysis of 3.4 million posts from the 77,000 advisers who use our service worldwide shows that the most successful ratio is 70 per cent lifestyle, 20 per cent financial and 10 per cent corporate yet many advisers, particularly in the UK, fall into the trap of posting few, if any, lifestyle posts.”
Intelliflo’s 2018 social media survey also found that Facebook has lost popularity, with 37 per cent now using this for business compared to 41 per cent in 2016. LinkedIn meanwhile, remains the most popular social platform for business, with 57 per cent actively using it. This is down slightly from 59 per cent in 2017. Twitter usage is also slightly down with 40 per cent using it in 2018 compared to 43 per cent in 2017. Other social media platforms are slightly up at 7 per cent compared to 6 per cent in previous years, with Instagram being mentioned by 3 per cent of the sample – more than any platform in the ‘other’ category.
Asked why their company gets involved in social media, the top answer (56 per cent) was ‘to be seen to be keeping up with modern communications systems’, putting last year’s top answer, ‘to attract new clients’, into second place (54 per cent in 2018 compared to 60 per cent in 2017).
For the 30 per cent who don’t currently engage in social media, lack of knowledge and understanding about how to engage with it to provide business benefits appears to be less of an issue, with just 13 per cent highlighting this in 2018 compared to nearly a third (31 per cent) in 2017.
However, lack of time and resources is a concern for 33 per cent (compared to 38 per cent in 2017).
Relevance to the business is less of an issue, with 45 per cent of those who don’t currently engage highlighting this, compared to 54 per cent in 2017.
Governance is much improved among those that do engage with social media. In 2018 58 per cent have formal written policies for using social media that all employees must follow, compared to 48 per cent in 2017 and just 25 per cent in 2014.
Knowledge of the controls in place within firms is much improved, with just 11 per cent saying they don’t know if policies are in place in 2018, compared to 52 per cent when the survey started in 2014.
Nick Eatock (pictured), Intelliflo’s Executive Chairman, says: “It’s good to see that governance is increasing for social media usage and it appears advisers are gaining confidence about using social media platforms to engage with existing and potential clients. However, as the data from Hearsay illustrates, advisers can make marketing via social media much more effective if they adapt their posts to appeal to those who engage with the various different social platforms, rather than focusing on mainly corporate or financial-related messages, although I appreciate this may seem counter-intuitive initially.”
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