This Research Just In: More Financial Advisors Gain New Clients & Enhance Customer Relationships on LinkedIn

October 3, 2013

As the Global Head of Category Development, Financial Services for LinkedIn, I’m often excited by the ways financial advisors connect on LinkedIn and share content to educate themselves and their customers. They now share market trends and commentary, company videos, financial calculators, and product updates in ways they haven’t before.

In my role, I’m uniquely positioned to see how these advisors use the platform as more than a prospecting tool or referral network. But new research from Putnam Investments affirms it: financial advisors also use LinkedIn to enhance how they manage their relationships with current clients.

Here are five reasons why:

1. It’s all business, all the time

It’s no secret that financial companies increasingly take advantage of the many benefits of social media. It’s a must as consumers become more and more brand savvy. Here’s a secret that’s now public: Putnam’s findings reveal that 75% of financial advisors use social networks for business, and 95% percent of them use LinkedIn for business purposes.

That’s more than three times the number who use Google+ (31%), Facebook (29%), and Twitter (21%).

Clearly, advisors who want to share and receive market commentary (55%) and investment manager insights (45%) via social media channels consider content on LinkedIn more relevant than that of other networks.

2. An aspirational mindset for meaningful conversations

LinkedIn is designed for professionals focused on succeeding in their careers. As we reported last spring, our users include a large share of social media enthusiasts who are affluent and mass affluent investors. Advisors, therefore, are doing everything they can to ensure their social presence on LinkedIn informs the financial decisions of their clients and prospects.

In addition, fewer companies are restrictive about employees using social media during work hours. According to Putnam, 50% of financial advisors say their companies impose no restrictions on the business use of social media. This might come as a surprise since the financial industry is so heavily regulated, but for companies that allow social media interaction, LinkedIn is the perfect point of entry — a social media platform designed for professional interaction, rather than informal sharing.

3. It's a great place to share the wealth … of information

When finance industry users share updates and insights on LinkedIn, they invite current and potential clients to engage with them. Ours is the ideal platform from which to deliver the content sought by the financial audience and launch a comprehensive, targeted content marketing strategy.

Want proof? Great examples of companies that share timely and compelling finance content on LinkedIn include BlackRock, Charles Schwab, and Bank of America.

I also suggest this video: 5 Ways Financial Services Can Become a Social Media Force.

4. Trusted content is part of the experience

Financial services clients expect to receive advice and insights from advisors on LinkedIn. It's table stakes, really. As we shared last March in a white paper titled Influencing the Mass Affluent, LinkedIn is the most trusted social source for financial information.

But sharing a timely article or a retirement savings calculator is only the beginning. Whether advisors build on buzz by responding to comments about what they’ve shared, or start a group discussion based on feedback, engaging on a personal level is critical.

Sixty-five (65%) percent of Putnam respondents said they belong to groups on LinkedIn, and for good reason: groups (and private) discussions are paramount to influencing people and developing loyalty and trust. Engaging in relevant discussion with your audience on LinkedIn is easy and effective, and can pave the way for long-term success.

5. Long-term relationships – your professional knowledge base

No matter what your business, one of LinkedIn’s chief member rewards is watching your connection numbers grow. You’ve built a lot of professional relationships on the platform, and that will never change. What will change over time are the ways you manage and nurture your relationships. As we evolve, so will you.

Financial advisors have always used LinkedIn to open new doors and find leads and referrals, but now they’re using the platform for more. According to Putnam, advisors also:

?      Cultivate current clients (67%)
?      Build brand identity (43%)
?      Follow companies relevant to their business (54%)
?      Communicate directly with clients (53%)
?      Connect with industry thought leaders (69%)
?      Read content posted by their connections (68%)

As a financial advisor, what are you doing to connect with thought leaders and expand your professional knowledge base on LinkedIn?

For more insights on how financial advisors are using social media, access the research here.