Nearly two-thirds of the financial advisors polled in our recent “Social Media Use by Financial Advisors” survey are using social media for business every day. And 57% of them are using mobile devices to access social networks.
The survey turned up many interesting trends that have particular ramifications for financial services companies. For example, 38% of respondents agreed that there were significant hurdles to adopting social media for business purposes, including the inability to archive data and time constraints. But this figure is down from 50% in our 2010 survey, which suggests a greater understanding of social media and more ability to use it effectively and efficiently.
The figures I’m citing make sense when you think about the overall pervasion of social media into our lives. But as you probably know they also raise complex compliance issues for financial services firms.
The State of Social Business, Straight from the Source
You can find more information in this vein by reading the Social Media Use survey. (Socialware customers have access to the complete report, but anyone can access the Executive Summary via the link.) We also continue to gather first-hand information on these issues in our user group meetings with Socialware customers.
Many knotty questions of access versus compliance in social media surfaced last week during our closed-door session here in Austin with compliance officers from across the industry. For instance, one firm represented has not yet allowed Twitter use for its advisors because any reply an advisor would make on Twitter — even something as simple as “@user Thanks for following” — would link to the outside user’s account, raising questions of whether that link could be construed as an endorsement. The compliance officers in the group are well aware that “@” replies are a basic piece of Twitter’s plumbing, yet still have concerns about exposing their firms and their advisors to compliance risk.
As a long-time business analyst and social media pro who’s new to Socialware and the financial services industry, I find it fascinating to dig down into the realities of social media compliance and risk. In some cases, these realities put a huge STOP sign in the path of social media practices that companies in non-regulated industries regard as fundamental. In other cases it’s a matter of getting the regulations and standard practices within the financial industry to catch up with the technology of the social networks.
Later this week, we’ll continue our research as we hold a similar meeting in Boston for marketing officers. We’ll be sharing some of the key findings from these meetings in future posts.
Join Us to Learn More at the Boston Social Media Breakfast
If you’re in the Boston area, you’ll have a chance to hear experts on these topics in a panel discussion at the Boston Social Media Breakfast this Friday, November 11, from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. I’ll be helping moderate the panel, which includes social media experts from both large financial firms and specialized consultancies.
Financial firms and financial advisors need a steady flow of good information on current and emerging best practices for social business in the financial services industry. That’s what we’re here for, so join us in Boston this Friday if you can, and stay tuned to this blog for much more on these topics.