Usage of social media by UK advisers continues to increase, according to Intelliflo’s fourth annual survey into social media usage, with seven out of 10 (73 per cent) users of the company’s specialist adviser software, Intelligent Office (iO), now engaging in some sort of social media activity for business purposes.
That figure has increased from 58 per cent in 2014 when Intelliflo’s survey began and 70 per cent in 2016.
This year’s survey also found, that Facebook has increased in popularity, with 41 per cent now using this for business compared to 36 per cent in 2016. LinkedIn, though, remains the most popular social platform for business, with 59 per cent actively using it in 2017. This is down slightly from 60 per cent in 2016.
Twitter usage is slightly up – 43 per cent are using it in 2017 compared to 40 per cent in 2016 – while other social media platforms, such as Google+ are static at 6 per cent, the same as when the survey first ran in 2014.
Asked why their company gets involved in social media, the top answer (60 per cent) was ‘to attract new clients’ (down slightly from 62 per cent in 2016).
For the 27 per cent who don’t currently engage in social media, lack of knowledge and understanding about how to engage with it to provide business benefits remains a barrier for almost a third (31 per cent). However, lack of time and resources is becoming less of a factor, with just 38 per cent highlighting this in 2017 compared to over half last year (51 per cent). Relevance to the business continues to be a concern for some advisers, with 54 per cent of those who don’t currently engage highlighting this, up from 51 per cent in 2016.
Governance continues to be an issue with those that do engage in social media, with advisers potentially putting themselves at risk of falling foul of the regulator. Less than half (48 per cent) have formal written policies for using social media that all employees must follow, with 42 per cent saying they don’t. This is better than in 2014 though, when just a quarter (25 per cent) had policies in place and over half (52 per cent) had no idea if they had or not.
Nick Eatock, Intelliflo’s Executive Chairman, says: “It’s good to see that governance is increasing for social media usage but there are still too many adviser firms who are trusting to luck and not putting in place formal social media policies. The FCA has made clear what it wants to see in terms of governance. This includes the requirement for advisers to keep a record of all social media interaction. Relying on the social media platforms to do that isn’t good enough, which is why we’ve partnered with the Hearsay social media system, which guarantees a traceable time-line for all social media activity if used across the platforms.”
To help firms quickly and easily put in place a social media strategy, including a template for a formal social media policy, Intelliflo has prepared a social media tool that is free for advisers to download.