UK advisers are finding social media channels increasingly useful for attracting new clients and keeping up with the competition, but the majority are yet to have formal written policies in place for employees, according to research by software provider Intelliflo.
Its second annual survey, conducted among 223 users of its adviser software Intelligent Office, found that the number of advisers getting involved with social media increased to 61 per cent from 58 per cent in 2014.
Since the first survey by Intelliflo was carried out in June 2014, the Financial Conduct Authority published its social media and customer communications guidance, following a consultation period with the industry.
Intelliflo stated that this does seem to have made an impact, with more awareness among advisers as to whether or not their firm has a formal social media policy. In 2014, 52 per cent said they did not know if there was a policy in place, dropping to just 6 per cent in 2015.
However, 52 per cent said their firm does not have a formal policy for employees to use, something that potentially increases their risk of doing something that falls foul of the regulator, the research suggested.
Nick Eatock, Intelliflo’s executive chairman, said: “Although having a policy doesn’t guarantee that things will go smoothly when engaging with social media, defining what is and what is not acceptable for all employees can certainly help to mitigate situations that might attract negative feedback from the FCA.”
LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform, with 53 per cent of those surveyed using it (up by 5 per cent on 2014), while both Facebook and Twitter were less popular than last year, with the former seeing a 7 per cent drop to 25 per cent and Twitter seeing a 6 per cent fall to 35 per cent.
When asked why their firm gets involved in social media, 69 per cent of advisers said it was to be seen to be keeping up with modern communications systems - up 16 per cent on 2014 - followed by 59 per cent wanting to attract new clients - up 4 per cent.
Some 20 per cent said that they used social media channels to see what competitors are doing, up 16 per cent on last year, while 37 per cent said to communicate with existing clients, down 1 per cent.
Fear about how engaging with social media could negatively affect business is something that concerns almost of quarter (23 per cent) of firms who choose not to get involved, a rise of 9 per cent compared to 2014.