Why Institutional Asset Managers Must Become Social Media Savvy

If your firm isn’t using social media in its marketing mix, you’re missing out on a valuable, cost-effective resource institutional investors are increasingly relying on to aid in their investment education and due diligence processes.

Four Out of Five Institutions are “Social Media Savvy”

According to a Greenwich Associates study , 79% of institutional investors use social media at work. And one third say that the information they access through social media influences their investment decisions.

What do they use it for? According to Greenwich Associates, the most common institutional investor uses for social media are for getting news and market updates (48%), researching industries (47%), and viewing manager commentaries (44%). And 38% use it to learn about investment products and services and 36% use it to research asset management firms.

Social media can deliver timely information to institutional audiences and serve as a way of making your firm a thought leader .

The quality of an asset manager’s social media presence is also becoming a due diligence “proof point” for institutional investors who are assessing a firm’s trustworthiness, transparency, and technological expertise.

A Channel that May Succeed Where Others Fail

Many institutional investors won’t open emails or direct mail or answer phone calls from firms they aren’t working with. A robust social media presence, however, provides another way for your firm to be identified by the one third of institutional investors who proactively use it to research asset managers.

Many institutional investors evaluate an asset management firm’s social media presence as part of their due diligence checklist. Firms that have a presence on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter and frequently refresh the content on these platforms are perceived as more transparent and trustworthy than firms don’t use them.

Using LinkedIn Networks Effectively

While some institutional investors find asset managers’ social media resources and online content on their own, the majority relies on recommendations from their peers who are followers of these firms.

If your firm isn’t one of the largest or most well-known asset managers, building a community of institutional followers organically can be an arduous and time-consuming process. One strategy is to leverage the many professional communities that already exist in your firm — your employees’ Linkedin networks.

According to Greenwich Associates, institutional investors use Linkedin at work more than any other social media platform, and 85% of Linkedin users visit it at least once a week. If all of your employees with institutional investors in their networks “shared” or posted a link to one commentary or article entry on your website each week, it could appear in the Linkedin newsfeeds of potentially thousands of institutional professionals.

Related: How to Be a Thought Leader in the Digital Era

Turning Followers into Leads

Ideally, those who have found your content will decide to become followers of your firm.

For truly value-added lead-generators like white papers, require them to fill out a request form first. Those who fill out the forms can be moved into your pipeline for direct contact via email and phone calls.

Qualified institutional investors should be cultivated as warm leads by your sales team, who should seek to move the conversation from online to phone calls to appointments.

Track the Results

Promoting your firm and its content through social media posts and followers is only half of your strategy—the other half is measuring the results. Use your web analytics tools (Google Analytics is free) to find out which social media platforms are generating the most views of your content and which kinds of content (insights, commentaries, videos, white papers, etc.) and subject matter (performance information, market updates, manager commentaries, research white papers, etc.) are most popular.

Overcoming Social Media Obstacles

Most boutique asset managers understand the importance of social media, but many don’t have the resources or knowhow to leverage its potential. They may also face resistance from legal and compliance departments who may be unfamiliar with the regulatory issues involved in using social media.

Fortunately, a number of firms now offer services to enable these asset managers to overcome these obstacles. Smarsh, for example, provides comprehensive social media compliance solutions and best practices for asset managers. And many financial marketing firms take on the role of “outsourced social media partner” to develop social media strategies, execute and distribute posts, and measure results.

A Tool You Can’t Afford to Ignore

In today’s competitive institutional marketplace, every positive online impression counts. Firms that use social media effectively may find that it paves the way for more serious consideration of their investment management capabilities.