Thursday, December 22, 2011

Financial Advisors Think Social Media Doesn't Work

Financial advisers in the United States are seeing fewer benefits from their use of social media, a survey by Aite Group suggests.

Out of the 437 advisers surveyed, only 19 percent said social media was useful for reaching new prospective clients, roughly half the number from two years ago, when it was considered a leading benefit.

"Social media has been over-hyped and the benefits just aren't there for a lot of advisers," said Aite senior analyst Ron Shevlin. Fewer leads?

In fact, there seem to be no benefits ranked more highly in 2011 than in 2010 by the surveyed respondents. 

The most frequently cited objective for using social media was to build brand awareness and differentiation. But the percentage of advisers who credit social media with helping them differentiate their practice from competitors dropped to nine percent this year, from 21 percent in 2009.

Are business social media users really becoming “fatigued,” have they simply reaped most of the rewards, or is there some other explanation for why “results” seem to be slipping, at least in this one survey?

One can think of all sorts of reasons why social media doesn't always "work."  Poor execution, inadequate resources, lack of executive support and fuzzy business objectives can cause issues, no doubt.

There also are lots of reasons why it would be difficult to measure success, even if social media did “work.” All the metrics measured by Aite Group are subjective. Also unknown is whether the same executives were interviewed in both years. It is conceivable that a new sample population held different views than the former sample. 

The one social media tool that saw an increase in advisers' professional use was LinkedIn, up 10 percent since 2009. Comparatively, professional use of Facebook fell 10 percent, Twitter dropped eight  percent and personal blogging declined nine percent.

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