Social media insights (based on real data!) for the financial professional, Pt. 1
By Jennifer DeTroye
The Northwestern Mutual Granum Center for Financial Security
Editor's note: This three-part series from The American College details which prospects are on social media and exactly why advisors can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. Stay tuned for parts two and three over the next few weeks, with a complimentary link to the full report included in the final article.
Social media, meet finance
You know you need it. You don’t really want to deal with it. Yet it continues to beckon. And it’s not going away. We’re talking about social media. And for most consumer industries, this means running toward Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with open marketing arms. At best, their video goes viral. At worst, no one visits their page.
But doing the social media mambo in the financial industry is risky business. By definition, social networks violate the very values — security, privacy, 1:1 communication — that advisors, agents, institutions and clients hold dear. In addition, because social media is so new and lacks the structure, rules and foundation of traditional communication vehicles, public information is often biased or anecdotal.
Fifty years ago, Al Granum’s research produced the predictable relationship of 10-3-1 (10 qualified suspects will generate 3 prospects, which will lead to 1 new client). At that time, marketing relied upon phone calls, snail mail and face-to-face interactions.
Today, there’s a new vehicle on the information superhighway. Ninety percent of financial institutions are using social media and 77 percent had social media marketing initiatives in 20121. But what about at the advisor level? Can social media build referrals? Do clients shop for advisors in the social media marketplace? Should it be a top marketing strategy? If so, where should you start?
Social media 411
Consumers are on social media, advisors not so much
When it comes to social media, advisors trail consumers considerably. Only 11 percent have truly incorporated a comprehensive social media strategy into their business. And many don’t use social media at all. However, both audiences find common ground on LinkedIn, which boasts more than 225 million members (77 million in the U.S.) and adds more than two members per second1.
Advisors need to catch up
It’s no surprise that as age goes down, participation goes up. To accommodate changing consumer preferences and expectations,, advisors, at a minimum, need to establish a website, create a LinkedIn profile and get comfortable online. It’s your first impression and it counts.
Read part two of the series here.