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WHAT INVESTORS REALLY WANT: FIND THEIR ADVISORS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Think about it. Suppose an investor decided the time had come to begin working with a financial advisor. It's natural to start such a search on the Web. Would the investor be able to find your business on the Web? And if so, would he find the information on your site that he really wants to know?

It turns out this may be harder for the investor than you would think. In late 2013, a survey with investors uncovered some surprising findings (Figure 1.2). Nearly half of those surveyed want to connect with their financial advisors through social media, but they either cannot find advisors or they conclude the advisors don't operate through this online channel.

Investors' Preferences for Financial Advisors on Social Media

FIGURE 1.2 Investors' Preferences for Financial Advisors on Social Media

Source: Finect Inc.

The survey also found that those investors who do connect with their advisors through social media are generally satisfied with their interaction. Among the key findings:

■ Investors age 44 or younger are more likely to connect with their advisors on social media than those over 45.

■ Emerging affluent investors (more than $100,000 to under $1 million in assets) use social media more than mainstream and high net-worth investors do.

■ Investors who connect with their advisors on social media tend to be satisfied with the level of access to their advisors.

■ Female investors are 11.5 percent more likely than male investors to connect with their advisors on social media.

■ Investors do not care about the details of their advisors' personal lives on social media – which is not to be confused with being personable.

■ The most important social media interaction with advisors, according to investors, is sharing trending investments or personal finance news.

■ The number of social media followers an advisor has is the least important feature for investors when choosing advisors through social media.

■ An advisor's availability to answer questions is the most important feature for investors when choosing advisors through social media.

The message is clear. Successful American industries have adapted when consumer preferences and behaviors change. Automobiles are safer to drive, restaurants serve healthier food, and home computers operate more quickly and with more sophisticated software. The financial industry now faces new demands from investors who are more empowered via social channels. As the survey underscores, younger investors already expect their advisors to interact with them in this medium. Clearly those advisors who do so will be the ones who thrive as the future inevitably closes in. The financial industry has adapted to paradigm shifts of this sort in the past, and will continue to do so. Advisors and other professionals who adapt to the trend will have a leg up on their competitors. What are you waiting for?

 
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