And the winner is. . . | Social media in the fund industry

So much is changing in social media. Even though it’s only been 8 months since we last did a survey of social media by NICSA members, we thought it was time for an update. Here’s our assessment of which channels are leading and which lagging:

Most active channel. . . . . . Twitter
If firms in the fund industry are going to establish a social media presence, it’s most likely to be on Twitter. Close to 6 of every 10 NICSA members have an active Twitter account – and a few more, while not actively tweeting, appear to have reserved Twitter handles.

The penchant for Twitter makes intuitive sense. The channel is a great way to disseminate news and promote existing content – without requiring the production of much new content. (There’s not much you can do in 140 characters!) At the same time, Twitter’s limited interactivity raises fewer regulatory issues. In short, Twitter is more like a traditional PR news wire than a social forum, as we discussed in a recent post.

Highest potential channel. . . . . . LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the accidental social media channel for firms in the fund industry. Here’s how I think it has played out at most companies: Employees set up LinkedIn profiles for themselves, naming their firm in their current profile. Someone at the company notices and decides to set up an official company page.

The end result of this organic process: over 80% of NICSA members have a LinkedIn company page. For most companies, these pages are bare bones – containing a logo and a brief description only.

But that’s changing. More and more companies are using LinkedIn as a job board, by posting openings under the “Careers” tab on their page.

And a few companies are using their LinkedIn page to tell their story to job seekers, by adding testimonials from current associates, examples of the firm’s thought leadership and descriptions of its products and services. For an example, take a look at Deloitte’s page – which has over a quarter of a million followers.

Will firms turn their attention to LinkedIn groups next? We noted that only a handful of NICSA members have established LinkedIn groups – whether internal groups for their associates only or open groups for communication with clients. We’ll keep monitoring to see if groups get more traction.

Up and coming channel. . . . . . YouTube

We weren’t even tracking the YouTube presence of NICSA members – until we noticed that over 1 in 5 had set up their own channel. It’s an easy way to get a broader viewership for videos that are already being produced.

Most unLiked channel. . . . . . Facebook

Only a third of NICSA members have an active Facebook presence. We believe the low representation is a result of regulatory concerns about its interactivity in general, and its “Like” button in particular. Still, usage is up from 8 months ago, when only 20% of the firms had Facebook pages – with American Funds being a notable addition to the Facebook roster since our first survey. Since Facebook is where the eyeballs are, it’s not surprising that firms want to be there.

Biggest surprise. . . . . . Blogs

What we did find surprising: the small number of blogs – fewer than 15% of our members have them. This is an information industry – so developing blog content shouldn’t be difficult. It may be that firms don’t see much value in producing a blog in addition to shareholder letters, brochures and fact sheets. I’ll also speculate that blogs are hard because they involve cross-department cooperation; they’re not something that can be produced solely by the marketing department.

I’d like to see more industry blogs – but, then, blogs are my favorite social media channel. More on that in another post. . .

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