Study Finds Only Half of Top 200 U.S. Institutional Asset Management Firms Are Active on Social Media

June 3, 2015

BackBay Communications research reveals significant opportunity for investment managers to utilize social media to further build their brand and their business

A new study of social media usage among the 200 largest U.S. institutional asset management firms reveals that less than half are making use of the biggest and most popular social media outlets, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

The new study, conducted by financial services marketing and public relations consulting firm BackBay Communications, finds that only 49% of the largest U.S. institutional asset managers are actively using one or more social media platforms.

The representative investment management firms, with assets under management ranging from approximately $9 billion to nearly $5 trillion, vary widely in their usage of social media. In general, adoption and strategies around social media tends to be more common among the firms with the most assets under management. Approximately 74% of the 50 largest asset management companies are active users, compared to about 56% of the next largest quartile of the top 200 managers. Only 44% of the firms in the third quartile are active on social media, and only 22% of the fourth quartile firms are engaged on social media.

LinkedIn and Twitter are the most widely used platforms. Approximately 38% of the 200 largest firms are active on LinkedIn and roughly 38% are active on Twitter. Less than a quarter, or 23%, are active on Facebook. The preponderance of firms on LinkedIn use the platform to provide a company overview or as an alternative outlet for job announcements, although a growing minority of asset managers have begun using LinkedIn to share original content. Twitter, meanwhile, is largely being used as a distribution platform to disseminate company news.

“There is a huge opportunity for asset managers and other financial services firms to combine insightful content with distribution and engagement over social media platforms,” said Bill Haynes, President & CEO of BackBay Communications, a financial services-focused integrated branding, marketing and public relations firm. “Most of the largest asset managers have learned to harness the power of social media in support of their overall marketing objectives, while addressing compliance concerns. There are a few notable holdouts among the largest companies that have historically taken a more conservative approach to brand-building, but I believe adoption across the sector will be a question of when, not if. We anticipate an increasingly broad adoption of social media among investment managers over the next year.”

Practitioners of integrated, content-driven marketing communications programs now have an array of complementary communications tools at their disposal. This toolkit, beyond traditional and digital advertising, news releases, and traditional media pitching, has grown to include videos, mobile websites, email marketing, search-engine optimization, webinars, events and bylined articles. Together, they enable greater efficiency of message dissemination and client and prospect engagement than ever before, and allow marketing and PR teams to take a tailored approach in their outreach.

Survey Methodology
BackBay Communications examined the 200 largest U.S. money managers by institutional assets under management from Pensions & Investments "The Largest Money Managers" list, published in May 2015. BackBay researched each company’s presence and activity across six social media platforms: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. BackBay designated a firm as active on social media if it had at least one post in 2015. BackBay segmented the list of top 200 largest U.S. money managers by institutional assets into four tiers of 50, and within each tier, BackBay calculated the percentage of asset managers’ presence and activity on social media.

About BackBay Communications
BackBay Communications is an integrated branding, marketing, advertising and public relations firm focused on content-driven communications for the financial services sector including asset managers, investment advisors, private equity firms, financial technology companies and banks. BackBay takes a brand-centric approach to developing messaging and building integrated communications programs, featuring content marketing and digital delivery. BackBay offers a unique combination of content and creativity. BackBay’s services include public relations, branding, marketing plans and materials, videos, digital and print advertising, website development, and social media. BackBay is highly regarded for thought leadership initiatives and relationships with the major business media. For more information, please visit www.BackBayCommunications.com.

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