Putnam Investments recent survey of over 400 financial advisors' use of social media highlights key characteristics of what the Boston-based firm calls "The Social Advisor." 

"The Social Advisor" is a 44-year-old male who uses social media on a daily basis. He is a fee-based independent broker-dealer rep who has 10 or more years of experience in the business. He manages a book of business that averages less than $150 million, with an average client portfolio of less than $1 million in assets. This advisor uses social media to improve his referral network, build his brand and enhance relationships.

The survey also found that 75 percent of financial advisors use at least one social network for business, with 81 percent using LinkedIn as their primary network. Of those advisors using LinkedIn, 66 percent use it to prospect for new relationships, in contrast 69 percent of advisors using Facebook use it to enhance current relationships. Putnam also found that corporate policy at 93 percent of the surveyed companies allow advisors to accept LinkedIn connections.

Forty-six percent of all advisors, not just those already using social media, expect social media to play a more significant role going forward, says Putnam. With over one-third attributing this growth to increased marketing and networking opportunities.
According to the survey, 49 percent of advisors who use social media acquired new clients through social networks and of those, 29 percent gained over $1 million in new assets.