BOSTON, October 8, 2020 – During the COVID-19 pandemic, 74% of U.S. financial advisors who used social media for business initiated new relationships or onboarded new clients, according to the Putnam Investments Social Advisor 2020 Study (Pulse Edition) released today. The new research found that 55% of advisors who initiated new client relationships say they had increased their use of social media during the pandemic.
Commenting on the increasing importance of social media in recent months, Mark McKenna, Head of Global Marketing at Putnam Investments, said “When it no longer became feasible for advisors to hold in-person meetings due to stay-at-home and social distancing orders, many professionals turned to social media to help clients and prospects weather the financial and emotional impact of the crisis.
“Advisors’ active use of social media during the pandemic has been critical to their success, not only in communicating with prospects and referrals, but also in advancing their ongoing relationships with clients,” added McKenna.
Advisors Adapt to Environment
One of the crucial findings of the study is that advisors have proven adept at managing their practices through the public health crisis by finding additional ways of engaging their clients, including greater use of social media. Notably, 84% of respondents expect that the changes made to their communications methods will largely be kept intact moving forward.
“It is encouraging that some of the changes advisors made to how they use social media in their practices during the pandemic will become foundational for their communications with clients on a go-forward basis,” explained McKenna.
The study found that nearly three-quarters of advisors (74%) relied on direct messaging through key social network platforms to communicate with clients and prospects; of those, 94% reported gaining new assets. Of particular note:
- 50% use direct messaging on LinkedIn, with 92% gaining assets
- 38% use Facebook for direct messaging, with 98% reported gaining assets
- 33% use Twitter for direct messaging, with 98% gaining assets
- 26% use direct messaging on Instagram, with 98% gaining assets
Social Platforms of Choice
While all of the social network platforms tracked showed increased use since the first Putnam Social Advisor Study in 2013, and more advisors use multiple platforms, LinkedIn remains the clear leader. The lineup of the social network platforms that advisors use most for business are:
- LinkedIn (85%)
- Facebook (65%)
- Twitter: (57%)
- YouTube (53%)
- Instagram (46%)
- Snapchat (31%)
In their use of LinkedIn during the first few months of the pandemic, nearly half of advisors (48%) who initiated new relationships report using the platform’s InMail feature to contact out-of-network prospects and 36% say they have hosted or participated in a LinkedIn Live session. Additionally, 80% of advisors who initiated new relationships since late February used one of LinkedIn’s premium memberships.
Social Media Support from Home Offices
Nearly 90% of advisors reported that support from their home offices made a positive difference as they worked remotely by enabling and supporting their use of social media. Importantly, advisors pointed toward specific areas where their home offices have laid the groundwork for their social media efforts, including providing timely content to post (55% of advisors); expanding the number of social networks approved for business use (48%); providing access to support resources (45%); and offering training from partner firms (40%), home office (37%) and third parties (27%).
The pulse survey was conducted online from June 9 to June 23, 2020, in conjunction with NMG Consulting, and included 252 financial advisors across the United States who have advised retail clients for more than two years and have used social media for business. The 2020 edition of the research builds upon seven previous editions of the Putnam Social Advisor Study.
About Putnam Investments
Founded in 1937, Putnam Investments is a global asset management firm with over 80 years of investment experience. At the end of August 2020, Putnam had $182 billion in assets under management. For more information, visit putnam.com.