Advisers are using social media as their main marketing tool, with twice as many using it compared to traditional routes, such as sponsorship of local sports teams and client events.
Seven out of 10 (70%) of the 379 users of Intelliflo’s Intelligent Office who took part in the 2018 survey engage in social media activity for business purposes, up from 58% in 2014 when Intelliflo’s annual survey began. In a new question about the other marketing tools used by advisers, ‘events where clients and prospects are invited’ was top, with just over a third (36%) using this route. Sponsorship was second (31%) and email was third (30%).
However, according to Hearsay, a specialist social media service available via Intelligent Office, many of those who use social media to promote their businesses could make it work more effectively for them.
Lucas Wilkens, EMEA Managing Director at Hearsay comments: “Understanding how consumers interact with social media is the key to gaining engagement and building a credible business brand via the different social platforms. Much of the frustration we see with social media marketing is down to the disconnect between what advisers think they should publish and what their potential audience actually wants to see. It’s about getting the balance right. Our analysis of 3.4 million posts from the 77,000 advisers who use our service worldwide shows that the most successful ratio is 70% lifestyle, 20% financial and 10% corporate yet many advisers, particularly in the UK, fall into the trap of posting few, if any, lifestyle posts.”
Intelliflo’s 2018 social media survey also found:
- Facebook has lost popularity, with 37% now using this for business compared to 41% in 2016.
- LinkedIn remains the most popular social platform for business, with 57% actively using it. This is down slightly from 59% in 2017.
- Twitter usage is also slightly down: 40% are using it in 2018 compared to 43% in 2017.
- Other social media platforms are slightly up at 7% compared to 6% in previous years, with Instagram being mentioned by 3% of the sample – more than any platform in the ‘other’ category.
Asked why their company gets involved in social media, the top answer (56%) was ‘to be seen to be keeping up with modern communications systems’, putting last year’s top answer, ‘to attract new clients’, into second place w (54% in 2018 compared to 60% in 2017).
Other reasons in order of rank include:
- To keep up to date with financial news and events (43%, down from 44% in 2017)
- To communicate with existing clients (41%, down from 46% in 2017).
- To help with search engine optimisation (39% compared to 43% in 2017).
- To see what competitors are doing (16%, up from 12% in 2017).
- Not sure, seems like we should be doing something (9%, compared to 10% in 2017).
- No idea (4%, compared to 2% in 2017).
For the 30% who don’t currently engage in social media, lack of knowledge and understanding about how to engage with it to provide business benefits appears to be less of an issue, with just 13% highlighting this in 2018 compared to nearly a third (31%) in 2017.
However, lack of time and resources is a concern for 33% (compared to 38% in 2017).
Relevance to the business is less of an issue, with 45% of those who don’t currently engage highlighting this, compared to 54% in 2017.
Governance is much improved among those that do engage with social media. In 2018 58% have formal written policies for using social media that all employees must follow, compared to 48% in 2017 and just 25% in 2014.
Knowledge of the controls in place within firms is much improved, with just 11% saying they don’t know if policies are in place in 2018, compared to 52% when the survey started in 2014.
Nick Eatock, Intelliflo’s Executive Chairman comments: “It’s good to see that governance is increasing for social media usage and it appears advisers are gaining confidence about using social media platforms to engage with existing and potential clients. However, as the data from Hearsay illustrates, advisers can make marketing via social media much more effective if they adapt their posts to appeal to those who engage with the various different social platforms, rather than focusing on mainly corporate or financial-related messages, although I appreciate this may seem counter-intuitive initially.”