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Social Media Leaders in Asset Management - 2011 Excerpt


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As part of this whitepaper on Social Media in the Asset Management Industry, I researched, analyzed and wrote about which firms were best using Social Media to reach their audiences - Advisors and Customers.

This excerpt shows the overall breakdown and the segment on Blogs. In the full report, I studied, rated and quantified the relative strength of over 40 firms' activities on Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Twitter and their blogs.

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Social Media Leaders in Asset Management - 2011 Excerpt

  1. 1.   TTToooppp      555      SSSoooccciiiaaalll      MMMeeedddiiiaaa      LLLeeeaaadddeeerrrsss       iiinnn      AAAsssssseeettt      MMMaaannnaaagggeeemmmeeennnttt       222000111111      
  2. 2.   ©  2011  kasina®     1   Executive  Summary   ____________________________________________________________ Social  networking  has  evolved  from  a  social  connection  tool  for  college  kids  to  a  powerful  platform   leveraged  by  leading  companies  to  connect  with  customers  and  employees.  But  social  network   users  are  discerning  when  it  comes  to  professing  affinity  for  a  business  online,  such  as  a  “like”  on   Facebook  or  a  “follower”  on  Twitter.  On  average,  users  friend  only  5  companies  online.1  Most  users   that  engage  with  companies  on  social  platforms:      Share  information  about  the  company  with  their  networks    Feel  a  stronger  connection  to  the  company    Feel  better  served  by  the  company    Purchase  the  company’s  products  or  services.2       Asset  managers  that  are  not  actively  harnessing  social  media  to  connect  with  advisors  and  investors   lack  a  critical  tool  to  connect  with  their  most  loyal  and  vocal  customers,  build  advocacy  for  their   brands,  and  drive  business  results.     Advisors  and  Investors  Use  Social  Media   Social  media  is  well-­‐integrated  in  the  daily  lives  of  consumers  as  well  as  business  professionals  in   the  asset  management  industry.  According  to  a  report  from  Spectrem  Group,  77%  of  investors  who   read  blogs  are  likely  to  consult  them  for  information  on  new  financial  products  and  services.  More   than  two-­‐thirds  of  LinkedIn  users  are  likely  to  consult  their  LinkedIn  networks  on  investment   issues.  Nearly  half  of  users  consider  seeking  investment  information  from  YouTube  and  Facebook   networks.3     …………………………………………………………………………………   MORE  THAN  TWO-­‐THIRDS  OF  LINKEDIN  USERS  are  likely  to  CONSULT   THEIR  LINKEDIN  NETWORKS  on  INVESTMENT  ISSUES.     …………………………………………………………………………………   Findings  from  kasina’s  study  on  What  Advisors  Do  Online  reveal  that  more  than  three-­‐fourths  of   advisors  are  using  social  media,  22%  of  them  daily.  More  than  half  of  advisors  use  LinkedIn  and   YouTube.  Nearly  three-­‐fourths  of  advisors  say  that  an  asset  manager’s  online  capabilities  influence   their  use  of  a  firm’s  products.  Whether  distributing  directly  or  through  intermediaries,  firms  must   leverage  social  media  to  remain  connected  with  their  most  loyal  customers,  build  advocacy  for  their   brands  and  manage  their  reputations.                                                                                                                     1  2010  Consumer  New  Media  Study.  Nov.  2,  2010,  Cone  LLC.   2  Ibid.   3  Social  Media  and  the  Investor.  Spectrem  Group.  May  4,  2010.  
  3. 3.   ©  2011  kasina®     2   What  Asset  Managers  Are  Doing  with  Social  Media   Asset  managers  recognize  the  importance  of  social  media  in  expanding  reach  to  retain  and  increase   assets.  Last  year,  only  48%  of  firms  were  active  on  one  or  more  of  several  social  platforms  including   LinkedIn,  Facebook,  Twitter,  YouTube  or  blogs.  In  2011,  80%  of  firms  are  active  in  social  media.         Approximately  one-­‐third  of  asset  managers  have  developed  branded  pages  on  more  than  one  social   site  and  are  well  beyond  the  experimental  stages  of  using  social  media.  Their  efforts  reflect  a  solid   strategy,  understanding  of  the  opportunities  social  media  provides  and  a  level  of  partnership  with   company  stakeholders  that  allow  them  to  begin  measuring  value  and  return  on  investment.  But   nearly  half  of  firms  are  not  even  participating  on  popular  social  sites.  While  these  firms  on  the   sidelines  may  be  planning  to  evaluate  opportunities,  early  movers  are  using  the  experience  and   insights  gained  to  secure  executive  commitment  and  funding  for  integrated  digital  strategies.          
  4. 4.   ©  2011  kasina®     4     TOP  BLOGS        Firm   kasina  Score     #1   85   #2   82   #3   80   #4   80   #5   iShares   Russell  Investments   American  Century  Investments   Wells  Fargo  Funds  Management  Group   Vanguard   77     The  top  5  firms  on  Facebook  share  fun,  yet  thoughtful  posts  that  elicit  responses  and  engagement   from  their  fans.     TOP  FACEBOOK  PAGES     Firm   kasina  Score   #1     92   #2     87   #3     86   #4     82   #5     Fidelity  Investments   TIAA-­‐CREF   Vanguard   The  Hartford   MainStay  Investments   80     In  addition  to  broadcasting  news  and  information  to  their  followers,  leaders  on  Twitter  also  use   their  feeds  to  communicate  with  and  learn  from  their  followers  and  other  users.       TOP  TWITTER  FEEDS     Firm   kasina  Score   #1     94   #2     90   #3     90   #4     89   #5     TIAA-­‐CREF   Vanguard   Fidelity  Investments   The  Hartford   Putnam  Investments   85       While  firms  overall  do  not  effectively  leverage  LinkedIn,  the  top  5  attempt  to  leverage  some  of  the   capabilities  of  the  professional  networking  site  to  connect  with  customers.     TOP  LINKEDIN  PAGES     Firm   kasina  Score   #1     80   #2     77   #3     75   #4     75   #5     MFS  Investment  Management     Prudential   The  Hartford   iShares     ING     74     The  top  5  firms  on  YouTube  offer  visually  appealing,  interesting  and  varied  content  that  is  clearly   organized  and  easy  to  find.    
  5. 5.   ©  2011  kasina®     8     Why  Social  Media  is  Important  for  Asset  Managers   _____________________________________________________________   Social  networking  has  evolved  from  a  social  connection  tool  for  college  kids  to  a  powerful  platform   leveraged  by  leading  companies  to  connect  with  customers  and  employees.  But  social  network   users  are  discerning  when  it  comes  to  professing  affinity  for  a  business  online,  such  as  a  “like”  on   Facebook  or  a  “follower”  on  Twitter.  Users  friend  only  an  average  5  companies  online.4  Users  that   are  able  to  engage  with  companies  on  social  platforms  are  more  likely  to:      Share  information  about  the  company  with  their  networks    Feel  a  stronger  connection  to  the  company    Feel  better  served  by  the  company    Purchase  the  company’s  products  or  services.5       Regardless  of  whether  their  key  audience  is  institutions,  advisors  or  investors,  asset  managers  need   to  harness  social  media  to  manage  their  reputations,  forge  connections  with  coveted  customers  and   drive  business  results.     Who  Uses  Social  Media   Social  media  is  well-­‐integrated  in  the  daily  lives  of  consumers  as  well  as  business  professionals  in   the  asset  management  industry.  According  to  a  report  from  Spectrem  Group,  77%  of  investors  who   read  blogs  are  likely  to  consult  them  for  information  on  new  financial  products  and  services.  More   than  two-­‐thirds  of  LinkedIn  users  are  likely  to  consult  their  LinkedIn  networks  on  investment   issues.  Nearly  half  of  users  consider  seeking  investment  information  from  YouTube  and  Facebook   networks.6  Asset  managers  such  as  Vanguard  and  TIAA-­‐CREF  leverage  this  interest  with  key   audiences  on  branded  Facebook  and  Twitter  pages.     …………………………………………………………………………………   MORE  THAN  TWO-­‐THIRDS  OF  LINKEDIN  USERS  are  likely  to  CONSULT   THEIR  LINKEDIN  NETWORKS  on  INVESTMENT  ISSUES.     …………………………………………………………………………………     Findings  from  kasina’s  study  on  What  Advisors  Do  Online  reveal  that  more  than  three-­‐fourths  of   advisors  are  using  social  media,  22%  of  them  daily.  More  than  half  of  advisors  use  LinkedIn  and                                                                                                                   4  2010  Consumer  New  Media  Study.  Nov.  2,  2010,  Cone  LLC.     5  Ibid.   6  Social  Media  and  the  Investor.  Spectrem  Group.  May  4,  2010.  
  6. 6.   ©  2011  kasina®     36   allow  users  to  comment.  Firms  that  block  comments  severely  handicap  the  blog’s  potential  because   readers  disengage  if  they  cannot  respond  to  postings.  Positive  comments  let  readers  build  a  feeling   of  friendship  and  solidarity  with  the  blogger.  Negative  comments  allow  them  to  vent  frustrations,   rather  than  direct  them  at  firms  in  some  other  way.  And  constructive  comments  can  also  provide   valuable  insights  on  how  to  improve  content  or  serve  as  catalyst  for  creating  positive  change  within   an  organization.           Customize  the  Layout   Unlike  other  social  media,  blogs  permit  firms  to  exert  complete  control  over  the  design  and  user   interface.  Firms  should  ensure  easy  navigation  and  a  clear,  appealing  layout.  They  should  also  allow   for  a  high  level  of  interaction  including  rating  posts,  commenting  and  sharing  with  friends.  Sites  that   do  so  promote  longer  stays  and  additional  page  views.         American  Century’s  blog  (  for  advisors  and  investors  is  attractive,  easy  to   navigate  and  has  top-­‐notch  functionality.  The  firm  categorizes  posts  and  includes  a  search  tool  to   make  finding  articles  on  topics  of  interest  easy.  It  integrates  tweets  from  its  feed,  adding  another   dimension  to  the  content.  American  Century  also  enables  users  to  share  and  rate  blog  posts—one  of   the  only  asset  managers  to  do  both.  This  level  of  interaction  allows  the  firm  to  see  which  posts   appeal  to  its  audience  and  to  consider  their  preferences  when  planning  future  content.       One  of  the  key  tenets  of  blogs  is  subscription—receiving  posts  regularly  via  RSS  or  e-­‐mail.  American   Century  excels  here  as  well,  with  an  RSS  feed  prominently  displayed  on  the  top  right  of  the  page.   Less  tech-­‐savvy  readers  can  subscribe  to  the  “Weekly  Market  Update”  and  receive  the  posts  via  e-­‐ mail.  Subscription  helps  form  a  closer  relationship  between  company  and  customer.      
  7. 7.   ©  2011  kasina®     37       Tailor  Content   The  best  blogs  tailor  relevant  content  to  specific  audiences.  Firms  should  provide  links  to  archived   blog  postings  and  features  that  provide  additional  insights  into  a  given  post.       Russell  Investments  has  separate  blogs  for  investors  (  and  advisors   (,  a  great  strategy  to  reach  each  audience  with  relevant,  appropriate   content.  The  investor  blog  focuses  on  insights  on  the  economy  and  current  events.         The   American  Century’s  blog  includes  features  that  improve  the  user  experience  and  integrate  its  social  media  efforts.   Russell’s  blog  for  investors  features  investment  insights  and  research.      
  8. 8.   ©  2011  kasina®     38   advisor  blog  gives  concrete  tools  and  statistics  for  advisors  to  use  with  clients  and  articles  created   especially  for  them  such  as  “Can  Basketball  Make  You  a  Better  Advisor?”    An  advisor  blog  is  a   valuable  marketing  tool,  but,  even  more  importantly,  it  helps  firms  understand  what  data,  insights   and  tools  advisors  look  for  and  use.         Russell’s  blogs  feature  over  twenty  writers.  Readers  are  encouraged  to  rate  each  posting  and  the   rating  is  clearly  visible.  Both  sites  offers  RSS  links  in  the  header  or  readers  can  sign  up  for  e-­‐mail   delivery  of  the  postings.  The  advisor  site  has  phone  and  e-­‐mail  links  which  can  easily  be  used  to   contact  the  firm  for  additional  information.     Integrate  or  Separate?   Whether  a  firm  integrates  its  blog  on  its  Web  site  or  creates  a  separate  identity  on  a  new  domain   depends  on  the  goal  for  the  blog.  A  firm  with  limited  resources  may  find  it  easier  to  manage  the  blog   as  part  of  its  Web  site  because  content  can  more  easily  be  updated.  The  personality  of  the  blog  is   subordinated  to  the  Web  site.  If  the  blog  is  separate,  a  unique  URL  such  as  or  can  help  brand  the  new  space  and   provide  an  expanded  range  of  options  for  communicating  with  the  firm’s  audience.  Having  a   separate  site  also  allows  for  a  discussion  of  a  particular  topic  (e.g.  retirement  savings,  Roth  IRAs)   outside  of  the  context  of  an  individual  firm’s  products/marketing  messages.   Russell’s  blog  for  advisors  focuses  on  education  and  support.  
  9. 9.   ©  2011  kasina®     39   Best  Practices   Blogs  are  powerful  branding  vehicles  and  opportunities  for  in  depth,  intelligent  engagement  of   customers  and  advisors.  To  maximize  their  potential,  firms  should:      Enable  commenting,  rating,  and  sharing  on  other  social  media  and  via  e-­‐mail.  Read  user   comments,  respond  to  them,  and  learn  from  them  to  guide  content    Use  charts,  video,  podcasts,  or  images  to  illustrate  ideas.  These  are  particularly  useful  to   advisors  as  they  communicate  with  clients    Identify  bloggers  and  use  first  person  narrative  to  foster  a  personal  connection    Make  content  searchable,  organize  it  using  categories  and  use  tags  to  increase  search  results    Link  to  the  firm  Web  site  and  identify  what  topics  drive  readers  there    Encourage  subscription  via  RSS  and  e-­‐mail  
  10. 10.   ©  2011  kasina®     40     Best  in  Facebook   _______________________________________________________________ TOP  FACEBOOK  PAGES     Firm   kasina  Score   #1     92   #2     87   #3     86   #4     82   #5     Fidelity  Investments   TIAA-­‐CREF   Vanguard   The  Hartford   MainStay  Investments   80     Facebook  has  over  500  million  users—130  million  in  the  U.S.  alone.  By  2013,  over  47%  of  the  U.S.   adult  population  will  be  on  Facebook.7    Fifty  percent  of  users  log  on  every  day,  cumulatively   spending  over  700  billion  minutes  per  month  on  the  site.8    The  growth  in  usage  is  also  evident   among  investors  and  advisors.       Between  January  and  May,  2011  Vanguard  gained  approximately  3,000  Likes,  bringing  the  total   number  of  people  that  like  Vanguard  on  Facebook  to  nearly  18,000.  Dozens  of  people  comment  on   just  one  post,  which  enables  Vanguard  to  garner  feedback  from  posts  in  real  time.  These  same  fans   will  share  interesting  content  with  friends,  attracting  more  Likes  and  new  interest  to  the  firm.  The   growth  is  multiplicative.  The  more  users  a  firm  has,  the  more  new  users  it  can  attract.  While  firms   that  started  early  on  Facebook  have  a  leg  up,  new  entrants  with  a  strong  message  can  quickly  raise   their  profiles  using  interesting  campaigns  and  paid  advertising.  Although  people  use  Facebook  to   interact  with  friends,  families  and  games,  they  also  integrate  brands  and  news  into  their   conversations,  just  as  in  daily  life.  Brands  that  provide  content  to  fuel  these  conversations  can   engage  these  massive  numbers  of  users.     Facebook  is  best  used  for:      Community  Building:    Facebook  lets  companies  host  a  nationwide  consumer  engagement   event  every  day  at  little  cost.  Pages  with  large  followings  touch  hundreds  of  customers  daily.    Content  Dissemination:    Every  time  a  fan  Likes  or  comments  on  something,  it  is  noted  on   his  or  her  page.  The  fan  can  distribute  interesting  content  to  hundreds  or  thousands  of   friends.                                                                                                                     7   8