Social media is being hailed as a must-have tool for financial advisors, but a number of advisors still aren’t feeling the magic. According to a recent report from Practical Perspectives, a Boston-based wealth management industry consultant, social media use remains dogged by concerns about compliance and operating guidelines, and doubts remain about the ultimate impact from using social media and how best to use this tool given competing priorities.

“Many users have experienced little measurable impact from social media and want more assistance and training, especially on how to use social media to develop new business,” says Howard Schneider, president of Practical Perspectives and author of “How Financial Advisors Use Social Media—Trends and Opportunities 2016.” The report is based on feedback from an online survey conducted in December of more than 600 advisors including full-service brokers, independent brokers, financial planners and registered investment advisors.

According to the report, advisors said the most important benefits from social media are connecting with other professionals or industry sources, positioning themselves as industry experts, developing new prospects or referrals, and gaining new information and insights. The report also found that many advisors haven’t fully integrated social media as a business tool into their practice.

Among the key findings, LinkedIn is the most widely used social media network and has the greatest impact on an advisor’s practice, followed by Facebook and Twitter. In addition, 31% of advisors said they’ve not yet begun using social media for business purposes, and 45% of advisors who began using social media during the past year did so to avoid being at a competitive disadvantage. 

Most advisors, the report found, perceive that social media has had little influence on key practice metrics, with the greatest impact on new sources of referrals and new prospects. Meanwhile, most advisors said they participated in some form of training or support for social media in the past year, although many rely on their own research or discussions with colleagues to build skills rather than on formal programs.