Social media has become a ubiquitous communications platform for most Americans, including wealthy investors, according to Spectrem Group's newest research study, Using Social Media and Mobile Technology in Financial Decisions.
The new study examines the social media habits of affluent investors and how those habits intersect with their need for regular access to information about their investments, as well as their desire for greater engagement with advisors using online and digital platforms.
The report examines the amount of time affluent investors are spending on social media sites, whether they go to those sites for financial purposes, and whether they are doing so using smartphones or tablets. The report also reveals the strong appeal of financial videos, where investors find them, and their desire to communicate with their advisors through non-traditional channels such as text and Skype.
According to the report half of Millennial and Gen X Mass Affluent investors (with a net worth between USD100,000 and USD1 million) want to be able to text their advisor. Despite compliance guidelines, many advisors have already implemented texting as a means of communication with their clients.
In addition, despite the fact that three-quarters of Mass Affluent investors utilise a smartphone that allows Internet access and the ability to download apps, more than half worry about keeping their online financial information secure from potential hackers.
Almost 80 per cent of Baby Boomers and more than 60 per cent of World War II-era investors also now own tablets, providing an opportunity for advisors to video-chat with clients. More than 40 per cent of Ultra High Net Worth investors of all ages (with a net worth between USD5 million and USD25 million) indicate that this is a service they would utilise.
One-third of Millionaires (with a net worth between USD1 million and USD5 million) watch financial videos to gain insights they can apply to their portfolios. Advisors who provide easy access to these videos on their websites, or produce them in-house, will have a competitive advantage.
America's oldest investors are also increasing their adoption of smartphones and social media. In fact, 75 per cent of Mass Affluent investors, regardless of age, use smartphones, nearly matching the number who use personal computers (81 percent). Social media will become an increasingly important tool for advisors in attracting and retaining older, as well as younger clients.
"This study shows that leading advisors, within the confines of regulatory compliance, should embrace digital technology and social media as a means of amplifying their thought leadership and engagement with clients," says Spectrem president George H Walper Jr. "As Millennials and Gen X investors accumulate greater wealth, they will expect to be able to utilise their smartphones and tablets to access their account information 24X7, tap into educational articles, white papers, videos, and even connect with their advisors in real time using text or interactive platforms such as Skype. Those organisations that are prepared to meet these expectations will be most successful."