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Europeans with significant investable assets expect to engage with finance brands through social media – both to improve their customer experience and to guide future decisions on products and …

Europeans with significant investable assets expect to engage with finance brands through social media – both to improve their customer experience and to guide future decisions on products and investments.

Mass Affluents, those with investable assets of between £65,000 and £650,000, are amongst the most active and engaged social media users – and see social platforms as an essential element in their relationships with financial institutions. In a groundbreaking study by LinkedIn and Cogent covering France, The Netherlands and the UK, more than 84% of the mass affluent audience in each country were active on social platforms; at least 40% engaged with financial companies, and at least 30% read content shared by those companies.

In each country, mass affluent audiences opted for LinkedIn as their most trusted social media source for financial information, and the platform they are most likely to turn to for the content that matters to them. Information on new products and services, market commentary, service updates and general company information figured prominently amongst the most sought-after content from banks, credit card companies, insurance brands and brokers. When asked what they hoped to gain from engaging with such companies through social media, mass affluents pointed to improved customer service, greater transparency and timely, relevant content.

Across all three countries, and all types of financial sectors, the information discovered and considered through social media is a key driver of immediate action amongst the mass affluent audience. Of those using social media for both discovery and consideration, 63% were driven to take action such as purchasing a product or opening an account. And the comments that Mass Affluents share have a vital role to play in amplifying awareness and engagement amongst their peers. Almost a quarter of those in the UK and over a third of those in France and The Netherlands read others comments on the content shared by financial companies.

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  • 1. UNITED KINGDOMINFLUENCINGTHE MASS AFFLUENTBuilding relationships on social media
  • 2. Executive SummarySocial media is becoming a central part of how consumers discoverand evaluate information. When Mass Affluents engage with financialinstitutions, on a trusted social media platform, the outcomes aremore than just education and validation. This highly sought-afteraudience is driven to action.With a very large percentage of Mass Affluents using social media, it’s notsurprising that their expectations for financial institutions on social havemoved beyond having a presence. Their usage of social is becoming moresophisticated and financial services companies’ need to address this bysurfacing relevant content and services on those channels.Yet across the board, financial institutions are falling short in meeting theexpectations of this segment. In doing so, they risk missing a valuableopportunity to attract and retain customers. By providing a more robustunderstanding of Mass Affluents’ needs and preferences across all life stages,this research uncovers key insights to help financial institutions maximise theimpact of social on trust, relationships, and ultimately, influence.ObjectivesIn order to better understand these social trends, LinkedIn teamed up withCogent Research to study the value Mass Affluents derive from social mediause, particularly as it relates to financial education and decision-making.The research also explores how financial institutions engage with thisaudience relative to expectations, and looks to see if there are opportunitiesto better leverage social media to build trust, relationships and influence.1
  • 3. 2Key FindingsWith widespread adoption of social media (84%), the Mass Affluentsuse a range of social networks and tools: for professional purposes,they most likely turn to LinkedIn.Two-in-five of the 84% of UK based Mass Affluent social users areengaging with financial institutions on social media. A third of themengage with content shared by financial institutions on social media (32%).Nearly two-in-five (36%) of all Mass Affluents globally use social mediafor discovery or consideration of financial companies, products,policies, or accounts. Among Mass Affluents who use social for bothpurposes, nearly two-in-three (63%) take action as a result of what theylearn.There are big gaps between what Mass Affluents expect and what theyactually receive from financial companies on social, particularly inregard to new product/service information and thought leadership.Among social platforms, LinkedIn is the most trusted social source toprovide Mass Affluents with financial content & information.
  • 4. “Over 8 in 10 MassAffluents have usedsocial media in thepast year”A Highly-Valued SegmentMass Affluents are current investors with £65,000 to £650,000 in assets,excluding the value of their homes.Seeking content, support and decision-making tools in a trusted context–Mass Affluents’ desired experience with financial institutions has movedbeyond the transaction. They are looking for relationships that are deliveredthrough multiple channels, dictated by them - the customer.Overall Social Media AdoptionWith widespread adoption of social media, Mass Affluents use arange of networks and tools for varying purposes, both personal andprofessional in nature.Over eight-in-ten (84%) of Mass Affluents have used social media in the pastyear. As to be expected, this usage is higher among those in earlier life stageswho are still accumulating wealth, but remains consistently high across allasset ranges.Overall, close to half of Mass Affluents use LinkedIn (44%), while 61% useFacebook and 31% use Twitter. Of the Mass Affleunts that use social there is ahigh level of trust in LinkedIn and its content, over and above other socialplatforms. With a variety of platforms and tools at their disposal, MassAffluents aren’t just using social media for personal purposes; they’re using itfor professional purposes as well. When on LinkedIn Mass Affluents areinvesting their time in three ways1 in 2 use social to CONNECT with professionals.1 in 4 use social to CONSUME professional content.1 in 5 use social to CREATE professional content.As far as time spent on Facebook, Mass Affluents primarily use the platform tokeep up with friends, family and former (or current classmates) and to postpersonal updates.3
  • 5. 440%26%of Mass Affluent social media users engage withfinancial companiesReview multi-mediacontentfrom financial companies onsocial media31%Read contentfrom financial companies onsocial media26%Follow or likefinancial companies onsocial mediaSocial Engagement With Financial InstitutionsWhen it comes to using social media for professional purposes,Mass Affluents aren’t just making connections with otherprofessionals – they are often engaging with companies as well.Forty percent engage with financial institutions on social media. Thisengagement remains consistently high across asset ranges.Mass Affluents aren’t passively consuming content from financialcompanies, they’re actively engaging with it. One-in-four read commentson content from financial services companies on social media (24%) and/ or like and share content (15%).
  • 6. Financial Research and Education on SocialMass Affluents use social media as an educational resource forfinancial information and are greatly influenced by, and act on,what they learn.Nearly two-in-five of all Mass Affluents turn to social media for financialeducation or research (36%), whether learning about financial trends,companies, products, or accounts (discovery), or seeking advice or furtherinformation to evaluate what they’ve learned (consideration).Importantly nearly two in three (63%) who use social for both discovery andconsideration take action as a result of what they learn, be it opening orclosing an account, or purchasing a new product or policy.Financial companies are a key source of information on social media – in fact,information learned on social about a company, product, policy, or accountmost likely comes from company advertisements, sponsored content orupdates.5Among Mass Affluent who use social for BOTH discovery andconsideration, nearly two in three are driven to action.21% 32%63%DRIVEN TO ACTIONOpen/close account or purchase productConsiderationDiscoveryUse social to stayup-to-date onfinancial trends orcompaniesUse social to seekadvice or gather infoto make a financialdecisionBothGlobal dataInfo about financial product or accountInfo about financial company50%38%29%43%68%25%32%33%An advertisementCompany sponsored content/updatesA member of my social networkAn industry expert/executive7% 10%A social "group" Im a member of
  • 7. “Approximately one infive Mass Affluentsocial media usersconsider relevantcontent the mostvaluable result froma financial company’ssocial presence.”61. Improved customer service2. Relevant content3. Timely updatesTop 3 most valuable results Mass Affluent receive from financialinstitutions presence on social media:Expectations and OutcomesFinancial institutions can impact relationships with Mass Affluentsthrough social media, but in order to do so, they must firstunderstand what content is most valuable to their audience.To build relationships with the Mass Affluents, a social presence is mostimportant for banks and credit card companies. Nearly one-in-fourexpect banks to have a current social presence, while one-in-five expectscredit card companies to do so. While the role is different, social media isalso very important for brokerages— close to one-in-five social mediausers expect these organisations to have a presence on social media.As to be expected, the type of valued content varies between banks,credit card companies and brokerages. Mass Affluents considerimproved customer service the most valuable outcome of a bank orcredit card company’s presence on social media, whereas timely updatesare the most valued outcome of brokerages’ presence on social media.Across all institution types the desire for relevant content is consistent:approximately one-in-five Mass Affluent social media users considerrelevant content the most valuable result from a financial company’ssocial presence:
  • 8. Expectations Differ By Life StageThe current life stage of Mass Affluent consumers – whether they areaccumulating wealth, within 10 years of retirement, or retired –presents a critical distinction for financial institutions to consider.Those in the wealth accumulation stage are the most likely to expectfinancial institutions – brokerages, banks, and credit card companies –to have a presence on social media. Moreover, these consumersgenerally have more diverse perceptions of what is considered themost valuable outcome of a social media presence.On the other hand, those with 10 years of retirement are most likelyto value the relevancy of the content companies are distributing,while retirees tend to place more importance on customer service.Accumulating wealth:More likely than those in any other life stage to value relevant content fromfinancial institutions, particularly brokerages, on social media.Most likely to expect credit card companies to have a presence, and thisexpectation decreases through retirement.Within 10 years of retirement:Especially likely to value timely updates from financial companies on socialmedia, due not only to proximity to retirement, but also the impact from thefinancial crisis and concern that they will not have enough income forretirement.More likely than those in any other life stage to expect brokerages to have apresence on social.Retired:Most likely to consider improved customer service the most valuableoutcome of a bank’s or brokerage’s social media presence. For credit cardcompanies, a consistently high number of Mass Affluent in each life stagecite improved customer service as the most valuable outcome for creditcard companies using social.7% who consider relevant content the most valuableresult of a company’s social presence (by Life Stage):% who consider improved service the most valuableresult of a company’s social presence (by Life Stage):23%21%23%19%26%22%26%Accumulating wealth Soon to retire (10 yrs) Retired16%17%13%15%17%29%26%35%20%25%27%Accumulating wealth Soon to retire (10 yrs) RetiredBank Credit Card Brokerage Bank Credit Card BrokerageBase: Social Media Users United Kingdom Base: Social Media Users United Kingdom
  • 9. 8Top 3 information wanted vs. received via financial companieson social media.Opportunities To Build Relationships and DriveInfluenceBy understanding the needs of Mass Affluents, financialinstitutions can lay the foundation for relationships throughrelevant content and service in a trusted context – but in order todrive influence, they must go beyond static engagement.What content is most relevant to Mass Affluents on social? Frombrokerages, banks, and credit cards, Mass Affluent audiences are lookingfor new information on products and services. Expectations forbrokerages are slightly higher as they should also provide productperformance updates, market commentary and general companyinformation. In contrast, banks and credit card companies must look toalso deliver updates on account changes. That being said, across theboard, there are considerable gaps between the information consumersexpect and what they actually receive, representing a significantopportunity for marketers.Engagement and Expectations of the advisedInterestingly, advised Mass Affluents have a much greater desire forinteraction with content from brokerages on social media compared tounadvised, perhaps indicative of a desire to interact with their advisors onsocial as well.Advised Mass Affluents are considerably more likely to expectbrokerages to be on social and more likely to perceive a brokerage as"innovative," "a leader in the industry," or "on the cutting edge" if theywere active on social media. Additionally, advised investors desire awider range of contact from brokerages when on social.Brokerage Bank Credit CardWanted Wanted WantedNew product or services informationBase: Social Media Users United KingdomGap toreceivedGap toreceivedGap toreceived46% -38 53% -41 41% -28Product performance updates 41% -30Updates on plan or account changes 31% -24 46% -36 38% -29General company information 38% -29 32% -25 27% -20Market and economic commentary 36% -30 26% -21 16% -13Posts from industry expert/executive 24% -17 19% -15 12% -11Updates on Company SocialResponsibility16% -12 17% -12 14% -11Thought leadership content 11% -10 10% -7 6% -5
  • 10. Influence decision-making with group discussionsAs to be expected, the various types of social engagement have differingresults on the influence social media can have on Mass Affluents financialdecision-making. Although direct communication, group discussions andcustomer support all have similarly high levels of impact on influence, thetype of influence varies.In order to fully capitalise on the opportunity to drive influence, financialcompanies must first establish a healthy community of followers and leveragesocial media to deliver service and support. Once this foundation is set,financial institutions are most likely to drive higher influence on financialdecision-making through one-to-one communication and company-hostedgroup discussions.LinkedIn is the Most Trusted Social MediaWith a number of opportunities to reach Mass Affluents with the informationthey seek on social media, financial institutions must turn to relevant, trustedchannels to provide this information. When looking at relative trust levels offinancial information shared by companies, by experts and through articles ona variety of social and traditional channels, LinkedIn is the only social networkto over-index, making it the most trusted social source for financialinformation.9Trust Index of Channels for Financial Information:71931311050 100Traditional sources for finance infoTrust Index is comprised of the followingattributes average scores equally weightedand indexed to 100:Social platforms: Trust of financialinformation shared through an article on mynetwork, by a financial company orinstitution, by a financial professional/expertTraditional sources: Trust of financialinformation from peers, friends and familyacross non-social platforms (websites andoffline)On LinkedIn, company posts are table stakes; engaging indiscussion drives higher influenceBuild the Foundation with:Company posts or contentService or supportAccelerate influence with:Group discussions hostedby company1:1 communication
  • 11. 10MethodologyThis report is based on a study conducted in March 2013 by LinkedIn inpartnership with Cogent Research. A 15-minute online survey wasconducted among 421 individuals in the United Kingdom with between£65,000 to and £650,000 in investable assets. This includes cash, savings,mutual funds, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, and all other types ofinvestments and real estate ventures, but excludes primary andsecondary residences and holiday homes. Readable base sizes weretargeted for key financial organization types – banks, credit cardcompanies, and brokerages. These individuals did not have to be socialmedia users to participate. Thus, results are meant to represent thegreater Mass Affluent population.ConclusionFinancial services companies have an unprecedented opportunity tomove beyond static engagement and build brand equity by establishingan interactive social presence that enhances their customers andprospects’ financial decision-making. Brands that understand this, andwhose social presence reflects the context of the platform, stand to makesignificant gains with Mass Affluents in all three life stages.While this paper concentrates on the specific implications for the UnitedKingdom, the key takeaway for financial marketers is consistent acrossthe globe: Simply having a presence on social channels and providinginformation sought by Mass Affluents is only the first step towardsimpacting financial decisions. To really drive influence and engenderlong-term relationships, marketers must engage this audience withrelevant discussion and direct communication on social. Those who doso successfully will pave the way for rewarding relationships.Social Media Best Practices for MarketersAbout the AuthorsEmily Friedman is a ResearchConsultant at LinkedIn, where sheleads global primary audienceand industry research for theMarketing Solutions business. Herexperience includes extensivequalitative and quantitativeresearch and analysis covering abroad range of industries,including financial services,consumer andbusiness-to-business technology,education, and travel.A senior project director atCogent Research, ChristopherSavio has eight years ofexperience conducting marketresearch in the financial servicesfield. His experience includesquantitative and qualitativeresearch techniques, and hasspanned a broad segment of thefinancial services industry,including the advisor and investoruniverses, retirement services,and retail and institutional assetmanagement.Mindset matters - Understand the mindset of your customeron different social platforms and align your campaigns to thecontext that best fits with your marketing objectives.Relevance is key - Develop content that is relevant to MassAffluents by life stage and by sector, and deliver it in a timelyfashion—which improves the value exchange and thelikelihood that your messages are shared.Mass Affluents that are still accumulating wealth are mostlikely to expect financial companies to be on social mediaMass Affluents within 10 years of retiring most valuerelevant, transparent contentMass Affluents who have retired are would value customerservice and support on socialDiscussion drives influence - Status updates and companyposts are table stakes on social. To drive higher influence andtrust, engage the Mass Affluent through group discussionsand direct communication.Highlight new products - insights on new products or serviceis the most desired information on social media across bank,credit card, and brokerage institutions.
  • 12. Influence the Mass AffluentTo learn more about building relationships on LinkedIn, visit:emea.marketing.linkedin.comCopyright © 2013 LinkedIn Corporation. LinkedIn, the LinkedIn logo, and InMail, are registered trademarks of LinkedIn Corporation inthe United States and/or other countries. All other brands and names are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.