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How 3 Firms Are Using Social Media Education Programs to Grow Business

shutterstock_130643495One of our goals at Hearsay Social is to arm financial professionals with the tools necessary to succeed in an always-connected world. This includes educating advisors and agents on how to use social media to build their credibility, engage with customers and prospects, and grow their business.
A recent article in Ignites, Financial Times publication, entitled “Anti-Social Shops Failing to Connect with Advisors” states “fund companies that fail to help advisors navigate social media are likely blowing a big opportunity to connect with client assets.” 
The article highlights three leading financial services firms – including Pacific Life, Putnam and Vanguard – who have successfully implemented programs to train and encourage its sales teams to use social media for business. 
In a Practical Perspectives study conducted in December 2015, nearly 90 percent of advisors rely on some type of social media guidance to build their practices’ online presence, but few lean on their home office for education and support. Instead, most (72 percent) do their own research, ask colleagues (37 percent), or rely on broker-dealers and custodians (36 percent).
But, according to the article, there’s a real opportunity for firms to build awareness and differentiate themselves at the advisor level on social media. It describes Pacific Life’s successful social media training initiative:

“The firm made sure its external wholesalers had LinkedIn presences in 2014 and knew how to use the network to connect with advisors. After launching the website in 2015, Pacific Life began holding presentations in branch offices, says Christine Tucker, VP of marketing at the company.

‘We do see it as a growth opportunity for helping advisors and helping our wholesalers differentiate themselves,’ she says.

Advisors have particularly gravitated toward more sophisticated training materials, Tucker says. The site includes pieces on how to prospect for clients by age or limit the visibility of connections on LinkedIn.

The social media education effort started because Pacific Life sought to create a unique value-add offering, one that would help advisors attract more business, Tucker says. The future buyers of mutual funds have been raised on technology, so the medium struck the firm as an ideal way for advisors to connect with them, she says.

‘We wanted to be able to have a different story to tell [in advisor offices],’ she says.”

The article also describes how Putnam Investments provides a multitude of ongoing social media training resources for its sales team:

At Putnam, everyone across the retail sales team is well versed in how to use social media to build business, says Jayme Lacour, director of social media at the Boston-based firm. That includes internals giving presentations over the Web and externals presenting ideas to advisors at the branch level and one-on-one, as well as the firm’s sales and marketing leaders speaking on panels. ‘It’s an expectation of our sales team from the top to the bottom,’ he says.

The firm offers a full range of presentations that cater to social media neophytes and experts alike. Putnam reps cover everything from creating a profile to using Boolean search terms to find potential clients on LinkedIn, Lacour says. …

A few years ago, Putnam rolled out a dedicated website, called Advisor Tech Tips, that includes social media pointers.

Building relationships with advisors through social media has been a major focus at Putnam, says Mark McKenna, head of global marketing. ‘This is really what we do hands-on with advisors,’ he says. For instance, the firm recently brought about 30 advisors into its offices for a full day of training, which also included professional head shots taken in Putnam’s studio, he says.”

Vanguard also is included in the story as a leader in providing social media education and support for its field force; the article says the firm recently added a section to its website offering tips for how advisors should use social media.
Log in to read the full Ignites article.
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Putnam Survey Shows Nearly 80% of Advisors Gained New Clients Using Social Media

For the third year in a row, Putnam Investments released the results of its latest Social Advisor survey, which looks at the social media usage habits of over 800 financial advisors, comprising all business models, geographies, ages and gender. The survey, performed by BrightWork Partners on Putnam’s behalf, revealed some interesting data around four key areas: social media usage, demographics, social networks, and business goals.
According to the 2015 Putnam Investments Social Advisor survey, 79% of advisors who use social media gained new clients through social networks and of those, 29% gained over $1 million in new assets. That’s up from 66% in 2014 and just 49% in 2013. These numbers clearly show that social media use among advisors and ROI  are on the rise.
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And just who is the “social advisor”? According to the study, the typical financial advisor who uses social media and has acquired clients as a result of it possesses the following characteristics: 

  • 44-year-old male wirehouse advisor with 10 years of experience
  • Active on five social networks
  • Runs a book of business worth $80 million (median)
  • Gained an average of $1.8 million of client assets using social media

In the survey, advisors were asked how they are leveraging their primary social networks for business. The survey revealed that LinkedIn has by far the highest advisor adoption rate (70%), followed by Facebook (47%) and Twitter (42%).
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To learn more insights about the survey, read the press release or check out the full 2015 infographic, now available for download
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Survey: 66% of advisors report social media has helped them gain new clients

The number of financial advisors who are gaining new clients through social media is growing, according to a survey released by Putnam Investments today.
In the 2013 Putnam survey, 49% of advisors using social media for business indicated that social media had helped them gain new clients. This year that number is up, with 66% of advisors reporting that social has helped them gain new clients.
Putnam Investments 2014 Social Media Survey
The size of the new clients advisors are gaining through social media is growing too. This year, 39% of respondents who reported gaining new clients through social media gained new assets of more than $1 million, with an average gain of $5.5 million. The median booking was almost $2 million in new assets, close to triple the level reported by the 2013 respondents.
It’s also interesting to note that while the business value of social media is becoming more evident for advisors, the percentage of advisors using social has not grown year-over-year, remaining steady at 75% of respondents. LinkedIn remains the top network for advisors, with 64% of advisors reporting that they use the professional social network.
The survey also shares some interesting demographics: women and advisors under 30 are the most likely to use social networks for business. Wirehouse advisors are using social media more than independent advisors or RIAs and are the most likely segment of advisors to gain new clients.
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To learn more, check out the Putnam Investments 2014 Social Advisor Study.
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