The number of financial advisers signing up to social media platforms has gone up from 8,136 in 2012 to 31,898 as of today, according to data from Financial Social Media (UK).
The number of users calling themselves financial planners currently stands at 20,558 compared with 6,264 in 2012.
With social media slowly penetrating the financial world, a large number of advisers are taking to various platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google Plus, to gain clients and also to build a rapport with their customers, the cover story of Money Management’s August issue reveals.
However, the Association of Professional Advisers (Apfa) has estimated that half of advisers still do not use any social media at all.
Its survey of 225 financial advisers conducted earlier this year by NMG Consulting, found that of the 46 per cent of advisers who use social media professionally, 48 per cent use it as a tool for keeping up with general industry news, 40 per cent use it to communicate with existing clients and 36 per cent use it to target new clients.
“It has certainly been a big deal for me in terms of spreading my profile inside the industry, says Pete Matthew, a director for Penzance-based Jacksons Wealth Management. “You get to meet nice people and it certainly helps in growing the business because you know people through Twitter.”
While there are a number of platforms to sign up to, social media experts warn it is important to put a strategy in place before creating a profile. But putting together a strategy can be stressful initially, especially as you try to choose the right platform when starting out. With a wide range of choices available, choosing the right platform can be tough but experts suggest asking yourself – what do I want from this?
It is also important to know which platform meets your need.
According to a survey of wealth managers and private banks conducted by London-based data-provider Pam Insights, LinkedIn was the most favoured platform with 84 per cent saying they had signed up.
About 77 per cent said they engaged using their own website, 52 per cent used a company Twitter account and 25 per cent used Facebook and YouTube.
Only about 21 per cent used a company blog.
However, the most important part of the strategy is to comply with the regulators.
The FCA launched an initial set of guidelines in August last year but a new version published in March this year set out updated rules such as the requirement that investment product promotions are clearly labelled and not misleading.
But with so many guidelines, regulations and compliances, could new advisers grow reluctant to sign up?
“I certainly won’t let the regulator’s guidelines be prohibitive and I don’t think that is the spirit in which they were given. They are really talking about how financial promotion rules fit into social media,” Mr Matthew says.