Financial services using LinkedIn for content more than jobs

Cogent study finds mass affluent wants info on products, services, markets via social media

May 1, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

By Liz Skinner

Financial service providers that have embraced social media increasingly are posting content on LinkedIn to communicate with clients and attract new customers.

LinkedIn originally was viewed as a way to establish connections and check out résumés, but today, the blog posts, articles and other information that companies post to the site are six times more predominant than job-related activity, according to Jennifer Grazel, head of category development for financial services at LinkedIn.

About 44% of the mass affluent use social media to engage with financial services companies, according to a Cogent Research LLC survey. The type of information that the mass-affluent public wants most from brokerages through social media is information about new products or services, market and economic commentary, and product performance updates, the survey found.

Other items that consumers want their financial services providers to deliver through social media are updates on plans or accounts and general company information, the survey said.

“We're seeing that social media is becoming an increasingly large role in the personal-finance discovery and decision-making journey,” Ms. Grazel said.

BlackRock Inc. is redeploying some of the money and time spent using Facebook last year to concentrate on building video and other content for dissemination through LinkedIn.

“We found the majority of those coming to our Facebook page and interacting with us through it were our competitors that were looking at what we were doing on Facebook,” said Eileen Loustau, director of global social-media marketing for BlackRock and iShares.

At the same time, the company saw an increasing number of engaged investors using LinkedIn to find market commentary, information about the firm and even financial advice, she said. The company now has a dedicated person focused on LinkedIn activities, including jumping into conversations in different LinkedIn groups.

Through participation in a beta test that directed its content to a group that LinkedIn categorized as entrepreneurs, BlackRock gained 650 new followers. BlackRock is going to continue with paid programs to direct its content toward certain audiences through LinkedIn, Ms. Loustau said.

Financial adviser Cathy Curtis said that in addition to using LinkedIn as a giant Rolodex, she posts regular updates about financial topics, including economic reviews by different sources and blog posts with financial guidance such as retirement plans for working moms. She also posts news and event information about her personal hobbies.

“I hope that people see me as a whole person, not just as an adviser,” said Ms. Curtis, founder of Curtis Financial Planning.

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