Asset managers have been slow to adopt social media, according to new research from MHP Communications. Even when firms do have accounts, they don’t always use them actively, the consultant finds.
‘There are a significant number of asset managers that are basically not sure what to do,’ says Martin Forrest, director in the asset management practice of MHP. So, to protect their brand name, they secure an account on a given social network and then do nothing with it, he explains.
According to the analysis of 100 asset management companies around the world, only 35 per cent are active on Twitter, 11 per cent on Facebook, and 29 per cent on YouTube. The only social network common for asset managers – at 96 per cent – is LinkedIn.
MHP’s definition of ‘active’ meant different things, depending on the social network. A company had to have sent at least one tweet to count as active on Twitter. On Facebook, it needed to post on the account wall. LinkedIn required material other than the default that the service will pull from Wikipedia. And on YouTube, the asset manager had to have uploaded at least one video.
The study finds that 19 per cent of the asset managers have secured Twitter accounts under their corporate names but had not actively tweeted. ‘There’s still a certain amount of trepidation among asset managers about social media,’ Forrest says.
‘I think it’s still at an experimental stage with issues around regulation, for example.’
Asset managers must be careful to stay within regulated bounds of communication when posting on social networks or interacting with customers.
Forrest thinks that companies are securing accounts to protect their brands, but it could also mean that the firms use the accounts in a different way than working with customers. For example, they could use Twitter accounts to follow what others are saying.
The 29 per cent of asset managers with a YouTube channel have video not just about economics or investment, but also about education, employee recruitment, training and marketing events.
Asset managers also use LinkedIn for recruitment purposes, says Forrest. ‘It’s a safe area to experiment in,’ he explains.
But, even there, companies may be uncomfortable. Although 96 per cent of asset managers have LinkedIn accounts, almost a third of them are not active by MHP’s criteria.