Facebook increases in popularity but LinkedIn still top social platform for advisers, finds Intelliflo’s annual survey

By Miles Reucroft
Sep 5, 2017 9:18:36 AM

Usage of social media by UK advisers continues to increase, according to Intelliflo’s fourth annual survey* into social media usage.

Seven out of 10 (73%) users of Intelliflo’s specialist adviser software, Intelligent Office (iO), now engage in some sort of social media activity for business purposes, up from 58% in 2014 when Intelliflo’s survey began and up from 70% in 2016.

This year’s survey also found:

  • Facebook has increased in popularity, with 41% now using this for business compared to 36% in 2016.
  • LinkedIn remains the most popular social platform for business, with 59% actively using it in 2017. This is down slightly from 60% in 2016.
  • Twitter usage is slightly up: 43% are using it in 2017 compared to 40% in 2016.
  • Other social media platforms, such as Google+ are static at 6%, the same as when the survey first ran in 2014.

Asked why their company gets involved in social media, the top answer (60%) was ‘to attract new clients’ (down slightly from 62% in 2016). Other reasons in order of rank include:

  • Being seen to be keeping up with modern communications systems (56% compared to 54% in 2016).
  • To communicate with existing clients (46%, the same as in 2016).
  • To keep up to date with financial news and events (44%, compared to 42% in 2016).
  • To help with search engine optimisation (43% compared to 50% in 2016).
  • To see what competitors are doing (12%, compared to 14% in 2016).
  • Not sure, seems like we should be doing something (10%, compared to 16% in 2016).
  • No idea (2%, compared to 4% in 2016).

For the 27% who don’t currently engage in social media, lack of knowledge and understanding about how to engage with it to provide business benefits remains a barrier for almost a third (31%). However, lack of time and resources is becoming less of a factor, with just 38% highlighting this in 2017 compared to over half last year (51%). Relevance to the business continues to be a concern for some advisers, with 54% of those who don’t currently engage highlighting this, up from 51% in 2016.

Governance continues to be an issue with those that do engage in social media, with advisers potentially putting themselves at risk of falling foul of the regulator. Less than half (48%) have formal written policies for using social media that all employees must follow, with 42% saying they don’t. This is better than in 2014 though, when just a quarter (25%) had policies in place and over half (52%) had no idea if they had or not.

Nick Eatock, Intelliflo’s Executive Chairman comments: It’s good to see that governance is increasing for social media usage but there are still too many adviser firms who are trusting to luck and not putting in place formal social media policies. The FCA has made clear what it wants to see in terms of governance. This includes the requirement for advisers to keep a record of all social media interaction. Relying on the social media platforms to do that isn’t good enough, which is why we’ve partnered with the Hearsay social media system, which guarantees a traceable time-line for all social media activity if used across the platforms.

To help firms quickly and easily put in place a social media strategy, including a template for a formal social media policy, Intelliflo has prepared a social media strategy that is free for advisers to download.

Based on number of directly authorised financial advicwe firms registered in 2016.