Judging by the high attendance at one of the premier financial advisor conferences in the industry, advisors are starting to see the value in using this form of online communications for their practices.

Linking In

More than 300 advisors attended a social media presentation at this year's Schwab Impact conference in Chicago, with some attendees having to be turned away at the door. Jennifer Grazel, head of category development for financial services, healthcare and travel at LinkedIn, gave the presentation, which was called “Unleash the Power of Social Media to Build Your Practice via LinkedIn.”

The session discussed how LinkedIn can be used to conduct research, market to and stay in touch with clients.

LinkedIn's mission “is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful,”  Grazel said.

She also provided statistics on LinkedIn's users:
• 187 million members worldwide.
• Two new members per second.
• Over 200,000 advisors.
• Over 5 million high-net-worth individuals.
• 71% are graduates.
• The average user income is $83,000 per year.

Grazel said LinkedIn now provides tools that allow users to follow their favorite bloggers, and noted that this is one avenue through which advisors could make connections with potential clients.

“Seventy-five percent of investors with over $250,000 in investable assets use LinkedIn,” she said. Most investors, however, are not interacting with advisors online—even in cases where advisors active social media users, Grazel said.

A Tweeting Explosion
More proof that social media is gaining strength in the industry was seen in the Twitter activity for the conference.  On at least two days, #SchwabIMPACT was trending across the country.

Lindsay Tiles, director of corporate public relations at Charles Schwab, said the conference generated 3,800 tweets this year, up from about 900 last year. That is a significant jump and maybe another sign that the financial services industry is ready to jump in the social media pool and start swimming!

Still, with over, 4,500 attendees at IMPACT, that is less than one tweet per person.

Mike Byrnes is a national speaker and owner of Byrnes Consulting, LLC. His firm provides consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. Need help with business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness? Read more at ByrnesConsulting.com and follow @ByrnesConsultin.