Advisers lead the way

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Advisers’ use of social media has rapidly accelerated over the past year, with a 123% growth in the use of Twitter since December 2011. This is compared to a 20.4% growth for the rest of the community.

The increase is related to a growth in the usage of mobile devices and tablets, says Zurich retail life and investments GM Philip Kewin. “Our own research from late 2012 estimated that over one third of advisers were already actively using tablets as a client engagement tool.

“Historically there have been many barriers to uptake of social media, including the amount of time needed to monitor and create content, but the widespread adoption of tablets, especially the iPad, has made it quicker and easier to access social platforms”, said Kewin.

However, advisers need to be aware of bombarding their clients and potential clients with social media spam. Research from customer communication technology provider Pitney Bowes, shows that clients aren’t likely to respond positively towards marketing messages from people they don’t know. Forty percent of respondents said they would be annoyed to receive marketing from people they don’t follow, and 54% rated ‘spam’ and pop-up adverts as their worst experiences of social media marketing.

A common complaint among advisers is that people are not using the platforms to generate discussion, but instead to bombard connections with “unoriginal” posts.

Lawyer Sean Graham shared his thoughts on the topic in a LinkedIn discussion. He shared five points from a consumer perspective:

  1. Promotion should not be the principal reason for posts or comments – provide education, information, entertainment and assist or generate debate or discussion.
  2. If you have nothing to say, then don’t say anything. Irrelevant, disrespectful and unnecessary responses or tweets are a big problem.
  3. There’s often too little debate or real engagement. “If someone has taken the effort to start a conversation or share their views on LinkedIn (or respond to ours) don’t we at least owe them the courtesy of a considered response or comment?”
  4. If you're posting an article for people to consider, take the time to explain why you've done so and explain why you think it's important for people to read.
  5. Provide some variety – “I appreciate that posters want to build their brand but getting the same person writing about the same issue in the same way multiple times is the equivalent of a soporific”.