Seventy-four percent of U.S. financial advisors in a new study used social media to initiate new business relationships or onboard new clients during the coronavirus pandemic, Putnam Investments reported Thursday.
The new research found that 55% of advisors who initiated new client relationships said they had increased their use of social media during the public health crisis.
“When it no longer became feasible for advisors to hold in-person meetings due to stay-at-home and social distancing orders, many professionals turned to social media to help clients and prospects weather the financial and emotional impact of the crisis,” Mark McKenna, head of global marketing at Putnam Investments, said in a statement.
“Advisors’ active use of social media during the pandemic has been critical to their success, not only in communicating with prospects and referrals, but also in advancing their ongoing relationships with clients.”
The survey was conducted online from June 9 to June 23 in conjunction with NMG Consulting among 252 financial advisors across the U.S. who have advised retail clients for more than two years and have used social media for business.
Advisors Adapt to Environment
According to the study, advisors have proven adept at managing their practices through the pandemic by finding additional ways to engage their clients, including greater use of social media.
Some four in five respondents said they expected to keep the changes they had made to their communications methods largely intact in the future.
“It is encouraging that some of the changes advisors made to how they use social media in their practices during the pandemic will become foundational for their communications with clients on a go-forward basis,” McKenna said.
The study found that nearly three-quarters of advisors relied on direct messaging through key social network platforms to communicate with clients and prospects. Of those, 94% reported that they had gained new assets.
The results showed that half of respondents used direct messaging on LinkedIn, with 92% gaining assets, and 38% used Facebook for direct messaging, with 98% gaining assets.
Thirty-three percent used Twitter for direct messaging and 26% Instagram, with 98% in each group gaining assets.
Social Platforms of Choice
All the social network platforms Putnam tracks showed increased use since the firm’s earlier study in 2013, and more advisors use multiple platforms. LinkedIn remains the clear leader, cited by 85% of advisors surveyed.
These are the other social network platforms advisors use most for business, according to the study:
- Facebook – 65%
- Twitter – 57%
- YouTube – 53%
- Instagram – 46%
- Snapchat – 31%
In their use of LinkedIn during the first few months of the pandemic, 48% of advisors said they had initiated new relationships reported using the platform’s InMail feature to contact out-of-network prospects, and 36% have hosted or participated in a LinkedIn Live session.
In addition, 80% of advisors who initiated new relationships since late February used one of LinkedIn’s premium memberships.
Home Office Support
Nine in 10 survey participants reported that support from their home offices facilitated their working remotely by enabling and supporting their use of social media.
Fifty-five percent said their home offices had laid the groundwork for their social media efforts by providing timely content to post, and 48% said home offices had expanded the number of social networks approved for business use.
Other positive actions by advisors’ home offices: providing access to support resources, cited by 45%; and offering training from partner firms, 40%, home office, 37%, and third parties, 27%.
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