A fascinating article which highlights what's really good and truly awful in terms of the use of Social Media by financial advisers (in the US).

As a world-wide profession, financial planning and Financial Services is still very much in the dark ages when it comes to using Social Media, with excuse after excuse as to why it can't be used.  All this serves to do is show how little training there has been on Social Media best practice.  And when you understand best practice, advisers realise that Compliance never was a problem.

I just want to highlight one point in this article, and that is the comment that many advisers use Facebook personally and "...want to take it to the next level and start using it for business.”

Our rolling Social Media research at LifeTalk reveals that 63.1% of advisers in the UK have a personal Facebook page.  (Actually I believe it's higher than that, because ad hoc 'show of hands' surveys at conferences and events consistently show the figure is 75%-80%).  

70% of that 63% then tell me that they only use Facebook for personal stuff (for a variety of different reasons) - networking with friends and family etc.  Yet when I then ask them the question "Out of everyone you know in your life, who is most likely to refer potential new clients to you?"  the answer which consistently dominates is "Friends and family".

So it's clear that whilst many financial advisers think they only use Facebook for personal reasons, their posts and conduct on the site in a personal capacity clearly has the potential to influence new business prospects positively or negatively.

We set up LifeTalk (formerly IFA Life) as an online community in 2004.  We believe it was the first such online community in the world for financial advisers, and whilst I make the sweeping statement that we're still in the dark ages when it comes to using Social Media, there are some superb examples of IFAs and financial planners doing it extremely well.

And those that do it extremely well, don't just view Social Media as a marketing activity.  Many see Social as part of what they do - in other words 'the communication of high value content and engaging in conversations online' is a core part of their overall business proposition.