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More financial services companies implement social media training.

Byline: LIMRA

New LIMRA research has revealed that six in 10 financial services companies have programs in place to assist their financial advisors and representatives with social media.

"We already know that almost all financial services companies are using social media," said Norah Denley, senior research analyst, Distribution and Technology Research, LIMRA, and the report's author. "That's been the case for some time. But this study reveals the extent to which companies are helping their advisors and representatives capitalize on their social media presence and engage in best practices."

As the industry widens its outreach to consumers, supportive efforts to advisors are coming in a variety of shapes and sizes, with companies providing examples, guidelines, content and training, according to the LIMRA study Supporting Social Media, which surveyed 36 financial services companies to find out more about their efforts.

Denley also noted the level of support required varies, depending largely on how sophisticated employees are with their knowledge of social media in a business context.

Beyond training and content for financial professionals, three factors are critical to social media success, according to the report: executive buy-in, internal training, and awareness.

"First, executives need to support the financial and staffing resources needed to be effective," said Denley. "Compliance and sales teams should be users of social media in addition to knowing how it works. Finally, home office staff must be made aware of their company's social media programs to better understand their potential."

The efforts are not without unique challenges. In addition to lack of knowledge, the most common impediments are a shortage of content and slow review processes of the content, the study found.

"In some cases, the content that is created can pass through a lot of hands, meaning the process is resource intensive and the content, less timely," added Denley. "Unfortunately, that's the current reality of communicating via a lightning-fast medium in a highly-regulated industry."

Financial services companies are also getting a clearer understanding of what the optimal results could be.

"Companies and financial professionals successful with social media know it is not a magic bullet," said Denley. "They realize it's a powerful tool to establish and nurture relationships, part of their broader marketing efforts, and that over time it can help contribute to success."

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Publication:National Underwriter Life & Health Breaking News
Date:Apr 7, 2015
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