IFAs have been warned that their online visibility is decreasing at the same time as more consumers are using the internet to search for financial advice.
Speaking at IFA Life’s Social Media conference last week in Egham, IFA Life founder Philip Calvert told delegates that advisers must do more to promote themselves online.
He said: “Throughout the recession, the number of people searching for upmarket financial planning terms absolutely rocketed. At the same time, the number of IFAs appearing early on in search results is going down fast.”
Google industry manager for financial services Robert Pink said: “Eighty-six per cent of consumers who purchase life insurance offline do their research online. You need to think about ensuring you are in that space.”
Foviance senior consultant Guy Stephens said relationships between companies and customers are becoming uncontrollable as people vent frustrations on social media and independent sites such as ComplaintCommunity.com.
He said: “Companies are being forced to move from being the creators of communication to participants. These forums are out there, how do you respond to that?”
He added that “Generation Y” prefer different forms of communication and IFAs need to take that into consideration.
Essential Financial Advisers partner Ian Highton says paying attention to generational differences has improved his communication with clients. He says: “Older clients prefer telephone and written letter, whereas with 30 to 45-yearolds, email is the best way. The younger generation respond to text messages.”
At the conference, Fleming Steele director Jamie Steele was named Social Media Provider/ Supplier of the Year, Clear Financial Advice director Howard Bullock won Financial Services Twitter Personality of the Year and Jacksons Financial Services director Peter Matthew took Social Media Financial Adviser of the Year.