Advisors: Put Social Media to Work for You

It wasn't long ago that my daily ritual included visiting a series of websites I had bookmarked in my internet browser. It's how I would catch up on the news, find the weather forecast and read my favorite blogs. Now I can't tell you the last time I used the bookmarks feature. That's because I get everything I need through social media. I average far too many open tabs (I'd venture to say 50 on a normal day), and I'm constantly checking social media apps on my phone.

Using social media and staying current on digital trends is admittedly my job, but I'd bet a sizable number of my "cusper" friends—people who straddle the line between Generation X and Millennials—do the same. Consider these stats, which span all generations: According to Pew Research , five percent of U.S. adults used social media in 2005. In 2018, it's 69 percent.

Interesting? Yes. But it's more than that. It's opportunity. It's where people are today—and that makes social media an invaluable tool for advisors who cater to individual investors. If that's your target and you're not using social media in a professional capacity, you're probably missing out on opportunities. In our most recent research 46 percent of advisors reported acquiring new business through social media—23 percent with a win of more than $1 million.

Good news. We want to help put you on the right track by sharing what we know. Here at American Century Investments®, we've been tracking financial professional social media use through a national survey since 2010. We also have a team dedicated to keeping a pulse on all things digital, which includes social media. We have knowledge, and we have the desire to share it, because we live by our founder's mantra: "If we help make people successful, they will in turn make us successful."

Let's get started. Your first decision will be deciding on which networks to establish professional presence, so today we'll cover the most popular social media platforms and give a high-level view of which demographic uses each.


LinkedIn is used primarily in a professional capacity to stay up-to-date with former and current co-workers, to search for jobs and to watch industry news.


Facebook is used for a wide variety of purposes, including to stay connected to friends, follow brands, and to stay informed on news. The media often characterize it as being a network "for old people," but usage statistics do not support that assertion.


Instagram is a very visual platform. Notably, it does not allow for hyperlinks in captions.


YouTube is the biggest social media platform in the United States—likely because it's owned by Google. It's designed to help you get discovered by relevant audiences.


Twitter is known for its instantaneous dissemination of information and conversations, 280 characters at a time.


Pinterest provides a way to discover and visually "bookmark" images and webpages, which are referred to as "pins."


Percent of U.S. adults who say they use Facebook=65, YouTube=73, Pinterest=29, Instagram=35, Snapchat=27, LinkedIn=25, Twitter=24, WhatsAapp=22

Chart Source: Pew Research Center 

Of the American Century Investments' representatives who have a professional social media presence, a majority are on LinkedIn. That's what makes sense for us, but use your judgment in choosing the right channel for yourself.

As you think through which social media platforms are best suited for your clientele, keep in mind rules and regulations that you may have to follow—be it the SEC or FINRA. It's also important to ensure your activity is sanctioned by your firm's social media policy, if one exists.

In future posts in this series, we'll discuss how to optimize your presence, prepare a content strategy, and measure success.

Maria Huggins
Maria Huggins

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    The opinions expressed are those of American Century Investments (or the portfolio manager) and are no guarantee of the future performance of any American Century Investments' portfolio. This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.