Financial advisers ready to embrace social media, say LinkedIn and FTI Consulting

Seven out of 10 financial advisers use social networks for business purposes, according to joint research by LinkedIn and FTI Consulting.

The adoption rate is set to grow exponentially, as more than half of advisers expect social media to play a significant role in their marketing efforts in 2013. The numbers represent an 80% increase compared to last year.

While most advisers report that their social media use is restricted by company compliance policies, this has not deterred the overall adoption of social media. Policies are more restrictive for wirehouse advisors than for either broker-dealers or registered investment adviser.

More than half of surveyed advisers expect socia media to play a role in their marketing strategy one year from now, with business adoption to become mainstream among the industry.

Social media is a multi-faceted channel for the category, whose business relies on networks and referrals to win and retain clients.

“By centralizing existing client contacts, social networks offer a cost-effective way to leverage this otherwise stagnant information. Through simple actions such as conducting keyword searches or checking connections in common, advisors can grow and capitalize on their network to generate leads and referrals,” the report said.

Advisers can also demonstrate expertise in discussion forums or through membership in industry groups on social networks, in addition to sharing their credentials and differentiating their business.

“In an industry where the size and quality of relationships are crucial, and where traditional sources of information can quickly become stale, a growing number of advisers are drawn to the value of social networks,” said the report.

Among advisers who have used at least one social network for business in the past year, 91% have used LinkedIn, compared with less than a third each for Facebook, Twitter and Google+, the research found.

“With continued empowerment and education, advisers will be better equipped to contend with the leading marketing strategies of their peers and succeed in a highly competitive marketplace. Whether part of a wirehouse, brokerage firm, or working independently, advisers have expressed unequivocally that their adoption of social media is here to stay. With this firmly established, advisors will undoubtedly be looking to make the most of the opportunities ahead,” said the report.

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