Advisers not using social media are missing out on clients: survey

Run the risk of being labeled as “behind the times”

Aug 16, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

By Lavonne Kuykendall

Financial advisers who aren't social networking are losing potential customers, especially among the affluent, according to a survey of wealthy investors.

These investors may consider an adviser or provider to be “behind the times” if they do not use social media to some extent, and 9% said they would check out potential providers to see what they are doing on social-media sites.

Research and consulting firm Spectrem Group surveyed around 2,500 affluent or wealthy investors in May and June, either online or by telephone. In its survey, it identified mass-affluent investors are those with $100,000 to $1 million in net worth excluding their primary residence, millionaires as those with more than $1 million but less than $5 million, and the ultrahigh-net-worth as those with more than $5 million. The group also conducted focus groups and one-on-one interviews.

Wealthier investors have been slower than the overall population to sign up for Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, but they are making up for lost time, according to Spectrem. Around half of the group said they used Facebook, nearly double the percentage who used it when the survey was taken in 2010. Twitter use has held steady at around 5% and LinkedIn use has grown at different rates in each of the wealth groups, to 22% from 10% last year for the mass affluent, up 2 percentage points from last year to 19% for millionaires and up from 18 to 26% for ultrahigh-net-worth investors.

Overall, 12% of wealthy investors said they read financial blogs, and 22% said they either read or were interested in reading a blog from a trusted financial adviser. Spectrem's report suggested that financial advisers should blog, post to Facebook and Twitter and encourage clients to post responses to their posts.

In focus groups, wealthy investors mentioned a preference for educational blog posts, especially posts related to the latest market news, said George Walper, a principal with Spectrem. They also expressed a liking for videos, and some said they stayed away from anonymous blog postings, he said. "They are interested in posts that help them understand" what is going on, Mr. Walper said.


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