Add financial advisors to the list of people who are flocking to social media in substantial numbers, driven in part by the growth in smartphone and tablet ownership. In fact, a Q1 2012 survey of US financial professionals conducted by American Century Investments found that almost nine in 10 had an account on at least one social media service. Unsurprisingly, Facebook was the overall dominant network for financial professionals, with 73% penetration. But LinkedIn was a close second at 62%.
Financial advisors, however, are showing a distinct preference for LinkedIn over Facebook when it comes to conducting business on social media—more than half of those polled said they had used LinkedIn for business purposes, while only one in five said the same of Facebook. Financial professionals are drawn to LinkedIn as a result of its focus on business networking, and are leveraging social media for a variety of purposes.
The survey found that of those using social media with business in mind, the highest percentage of respondents (21%) used the networks to find expert commentary and insights. Dialogue also emerged as an important social media business activity for respondents; 13% said their most frequent business-related action was to post commentary. That was trailed by monitoring industry or market news (12%); researching people, such as clients or contacts (11%); promoting a business or brand building (11%); and sharing relevant content with clients (11%).
Still, advisors had some substantial concerns about potential problems associated with social media use. Chief among them was adherence to regulatory or compliance issues, which was named the single biggest concern by 42% of respondents in 2012. But privacy issues were also on the minds of financial professionals, with 19% singling privacy out as their biggest worry.