American Century Investments Research Shows Significant Increase in Twitter Use by Financial Advisors

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American Century Investments' fourth annual Financial Professionals Social Media Adoption Study examined advisor usage and attitudes toward social media.

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"Our study found that more financial professionals are using social media to share news relevant to their clients," said Jamie Needham, digital marketing strategist for American Century.

Twitter usage by financial advisors clearly is a trending topic, according to American Century Investments’ fourth annual Financial Professionals Social Media Adoption Study. The research study examined advisor usage and attitudes toward social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Twitter usage increased significantly, with 34% having an account, compared to only 27% in last year’s study. Also, nine out of 10 financial professionals listed themselves as having a social media account.

“The increase in Twitter use is expected, given the fact that advisors’ usage of social media is changing,” said Jamie Needham, digital marketing strategist for American Century. “Our study found that more financial professionals are using social media to share news relevant to their clients. Twitter can be a very efficient way to share nuggets of information that add value.” The study also found that while reading expert commentary/news (28%) remains the top business use, more financial professionals are using social media to research people (14%) and share news/content relevant to clients (13%). Additionally, a number of advisors (11%) surveyed stated they plan to use social media for business promotion and brand building.

General Findings

A total of 61% of financial professionals report using social media each week, up slightly from 58% in 2012. Four out of 10 financial professionals use social media for business purposes several times a week, a jump from 31% of advisors last year. However, the number of advisors using social media multiple times per day dropped to 10% from 16% last year.

When asked which two social media sites, blogs or communities were used or monitored most, LinkedIn continued to be the most popular choice for business use (75%), followed by Facebook (34%), then Twitter (16%). However, for personal use, Facebook led (81%), followed by Twitter (26%), then LinkedIn (20%). New to this year’s study was online photo-sharing site Instagram, which is used by 11% of advisors on a personal basis.

As laptops and PCs have declined slightly as vehicles to access social media, smartphone and mobile device usage has increased. “These particular statistics make sense, given the commonplace use of the newer devices,” Needham said. “It’s precisely why firms like American Century continue to invest in mobile capabilities.”

Attitudes and Overall Value

Financial professionals participating in the 2013 study expressed attitudes regarding social media’s value similar to advisors surveyed the past two years. Again this year, 57% felt social media is an “emerging trend with significant future potential” for businesses like theirs, up significantly from only 44% in 2010.

Not only are financial professionals increasingly recognizing the value of social media, but so are their companies: 69% reported working for a firm with a formal social media policy or guideline, a significant increase from 60% in 2012, and from 53% in 2011.

Asset Manager Use of Social Media

As before, advisors continue to see the value in asset managers’ use of social media. Attitudes regarding firms’ use of social media are similar to last year’s: again in 2013, just over one-third (34%) of respondents believe that social media is a “wise use” of asset managers’ time and resources; just over half (53%) feel that asset management firms are “smart to explore” social media. One out of three believe asset management firms are “not yet seeing the value” of social media.

LinkedIn groups remained the “most important” social media offering an asset manager can provide, according to 19% respondents, followed closely by “providing an advisor community” for 18%, and a blog for slightly fewer (13%) respondents.

In terms of content they want to receive from asset managers via social media, commentary and market insight again ranked number one with 59% of advisors who are social media users. Second-most important to advisors was market news (58%), followed by educational content to share with clients at 58%, a reversal from 2012, when educational content to share with clients was a higher priority than receiving market news via social media.

Survey Background

The results of American Century Investments’ fourth annual Financial Professionals Social Media Adoption Study were drawn from an online survey of 301 financial professionals who are employed as financial advisors, brokers or registered investment advisors. Survey participants were members of Research Now (formerly e-Rewards), the largest “by-invitation-only” online research panel provider. Meridian Marketing handled data collection and data weighting functions. Study participants averaged 15 years in the financial industry; roughly two-thirds were male, and the average age was 47.

About American Century Investments

American Century Investments is a leading privately-held investment management firm, committed to delivering superior investment performance and building long-term client relationships since 1958. Serving investment professionals, institutions, corporations and individual investors, American Century Investments offers a variety of actively managed investment disciplines through an array of products including mutual funds, institutional separate accounts, commingled trusts and sub-advisory accounts. The company's 1,300 employees serve clients from offices in New York; London; Hong Kong; Mountain View, Calif. and Kansas City, Mo. James E. Stowers Jr. is founder of the company, Jonathan S. Thomas is president and chief executive officer. Through its ownership structure, more than 40 percent of American Century Investments' profits support research to help find cures for genetically-based diseases including cancer, diabetes and dementia.

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American Century Investment Services, Inc., Distributor
©2013 American Century Proprietary Holdings, Inc.

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Laura Kouri

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