Social media insights (based on real data!) for the financial professional, Pt. 2

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. You can read part one here. Stay tuned for part three in the next week, which will include a complimentary link to the full report.

Let's talk privacy

Proceed with caution

Keeping mum about money

Fewer than one in eight consumers are open to communicating with advisors via social media and a significant number of advisors prefer more direct communication (or know that their clients do). It’s not prudent to contact clients directly through social media about their retirement nest egg — or anything else.

Social media not right for 1:1

The financial services business is about building relationships, one client at a time, via a private conversation. Social media is about building community, via group posting, in a public forum. Social networks don’t replace traditional relationship-building. But that doesn’t mean they can’t enhance trust, sharpen education and fortify an existing relationship. If you use social media correctly, privacy doesn’t have to be a problem.

The way social media works best

Most consumers not seeking financial professionals online...

Fifty-one percent of consumers are seeking the perfect handyman or realtor, while only 32 percent are seeking a financial professional. Of those who met their financial advisor through a referral from a friend, relative or co-worker, only 1 percent were introduced via a social networking site.

...But they want free advice...

Consumers are open to relevant, free content. No appointment required. But they don’t want it from just anyone. They want it from you -- their trusted advisor.
Furthermore, 57% specifically say they would like getting financial news via LinkedIn. The most popular topics?
  • Saving and investing tips (how much should I put in my 401K?)
  • Term and concept definition (what’s an IRA?)
  • Market commentary (where should I put all my eggs?)

...As long as no strings are attached

Be careful. Seventy-five percent of consumers don’t want to be redirected to a blog and 76% don’t want to be sold a product. Remember: Your focus is to add value and enrich the relationships so that when needs arise, you’re the one they trust.

Be sure to read part three here.