How to use social media in financial planning

This article is part of
Guide to adviser soft skills

How to use social media in financial planning

Most people have a social media presence of some kind now and that goes for financial advisers as well.

Plenty of advisers have profiles across many of the most popular social platforms and use these to interact with their peers, existing clients and potential clients and, in some cases, the media.

Samuel Leach, director of Samuel and Co Trading, acknowledges: "Social media has transformed businesses' relationships with stakeholders and existing and potential customers.

"It empowers you to interact with them through a platform they are familiar with, and demonstrate a human side of the business, which ultimately leads to a greater sense of connection."

But finding your professional voice on platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram can be tricky, particularly with the level of regulatory scrutiny in the industry.

The evidence is this is not putting advisers off and that more are joining social networks to get their voice and their business heard.

A survey of US-based financial advisers by Putnam Investments reveals social media use is growing, with LinkedIn the site most used by this profession.

The 2016 research was conducted among 1,018 financial advisers from across the US who had been advising retail clients for two years or more.

While the findings are based on social media use by advisers in the US, it seems reasonable to assume a similar trend is occurring among UK advisers.

According to Putnam, 85 per cent of advisers are using social media for business, with LinkedIn the primary network for advisers, but used less frequently every month than Facebook and Twitter (see charts below).

LinkedIn is the primary network used for business and monthly frequency using social networks

Source: Putnam Investments, 'Advisers are social'

Darren Smith, head of the Financial Adviser School, explains: “Social media can be a useful tool for advisers as it provides another method of communication which works especially well with certain client segments. 

“It also allows advisers the opportunity to raise their profile, have a professional identity online, build relationships, and be visible as an expert.

“Indeed, research has shown that clients lean towards those who are like-minded to them. The savers and investors of tomorrow are very adept and in tune to social media and may look for that capability from their advisers,” he notes. 

How important is social media in helping to humanise the financial adviser?

Tom Hegarty, managing director at New Model Business Academy, thinks advisers should be using social media and not just because younger, potential clients are more likely to see them on there.

“When speaking to advisers about social media, I would say don’t be under any illusion that it’s only younger clients that use social media, it will also be older clients that are using social media,” he says. “And if they’re not currently using it, they will start using it because their children and grandchildren will be using it to communicate with them.”