An undeniable truth… you'll certainly agree – Part 1

05 September 2019 Myra Knoesen

There is no doubt that social media is an effective tool in promoting businesses and as such, marketing experts often recommend using social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to reach consumers.

Simply a box to tick

The fifth edition of Putnam’s Social Advisor Survey finds the distinctions between social media and traditional communication effectively blurred.

Almost universally, advisers report that social media has disrupted how they approach prospects, convert leads, and conduct business, all while sharply reducing the amount of face-to-face time previously required. The survey reported advisers are becoming more critical in their views of the role various platforms can play in connecting with and converting prospects. But there still appears to be a “try anything” approach as well as some uncertainty as to whether social media creates unique opportunity — or is simply a box to check.

Social media use by advisers

As social media use matures, advisers report they are spending somewhat less time simply connecting and posting, but remain highly positive on the focused use of social media to attract and develop new business:

  • Six in ten say social media is a great deal more efficient than traditional networking, up from 56% in 2016;
  • More than eight in ten advisers (83%) say that social media has helped shorten the time required to convert a prospect into a client;
  • Almost all advisers (88%) agree that social media has changed their relationship with their clients; most cite the ease of sharing information and the frequency of contact as the biggest changes;
  • More than one third (34%) say social media plays a very significant role in their marketing efforts (up from 29% in 2016), and even more expect social media to play such a role in the year ahead (38%);
  • At 84%, social media use by advisers for business is plateauing year over year, but use among younger advisers is universal and the majority of non-users are nearing retirement; and
  • Of advisers using social media for business, 86% report gaining business from social media activity. This is up from 80% in 2016 and was only 49% when we began the survey in 2013.

Tremendous ongoing opportunity

“Advisers today are increasingly using social media as a tool not only to communicate with their clients and prospects, but also to deepen and evolve their ongoing relationships with clients,” said Mark McKenna, Head of Global Marketing, Putnam Investments. “These professionals are also finding that leveraging both the business and personal sides of social media enables them to more easily connect with current clients and attract and develop new business.” 

McKenna emphasised that the benchmark for successful use of social media as a business tool has clearly gone up in recent years. “It is imperative for advisers to employ a highly active, evolving strategy when it comes to utilising social media in various aspects of their business. There is a tremendous, ongoing opportunity for financial intermediaries to build and strengthen long term relationships with clients through this critically important communications channel.”

In part two of the article, we take a look at how advisers are using multiple social media platforms for different functions and how to position yourself.

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