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News Release

CFP Board Releases Survey on Social Media Use by CFP® Professionals, New Social Media Guide

January 30, 2013

Survey shows that while many use it personally, only about half of CFP® professionals use social media professionally

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. today released the results of a comprehensive survey of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals’ use of social media along with a new guide to help CFP® professionals navigate the ever-changing world of social media.

CFP Board’s new Social Media Guide for CFP® Professionals aims to help the 67,000 CFP® professionals throughout the country promote their CFP® marks through effective use of social media. The document, which can be found here and on CFP Board’s website, provides tips and best practices for getting started with social media or enhancing a current social media strategy.

According to a survey of CFP® professionals, about 73 percent of those surveyed say they use social media, though only about 45 percent use it for professional purposes. The top reasons CFP® professionals cited for not using social media for professional purposes included:

  • Compliance prohibitions and limitations (37%);
  • Uncertainty over compliance and regulatory requirements (33%); and
  • Lack of time (20%).

"These results indicate that CFP® professionals are interested in using social media as a platform to educate the public about the value of financial planning and why they should use a CFP® professional in addition to using it as a tool to network,” said Kevin R. Keller, Chief Executive Officer of CFP Board. “More work needs to be done though to help CFP® professionals and others better understand the rules of the road when it comes to the use of these communications tools. This is why we are excited to provide a brand-new resource that will help CFP® professionals in their use of social media.”

Additional highlights of the survey include:

  • The most popular social media channel for professional use is LinkedIn (81.9%), followed by blogs (71.8%), Twitter (45.9%), Google+ (34.5%) and Facebook (19.6%)
  • CFP® professionals’ compliance departments prohibit them most often from using:
    • Facebook (33%)
    • Twitter (29.4%)
    • YouTube (28.7%)
  • Top reasons cited for using social media professionally are to:
    • Network with other financial planning professionals (44.8%)
    • Keep up with professional news and trends (43.1%)
    • Marketing and business promotion (33.1%)
  • 61.2% of CFP® professionals post to social media channels “infrequently”
  • 70% stated their firm or company has a formal social media policy in place. These policies most often address:
    • Procedures for monitoring social media usage by compliance departments (67.6%)
    • Limitations on topics that may be shared or discussed on social media channels (64.7%)
    • Requirements for prior approval of all outgoing communication on social media (63.8%)
  • 41% of respondents use “CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional” to describe themselves to clients. The terms “financial advisor” and “financial planner” were also commonly used.

About the Survey

The survey was completed in October 2012 with 3,532 CFP® professionals responding with the results used to enhance CFP Board’s engagement with CFP® professionals through social media. Results also provided guidance for the development of the new social media guide, which will help CFP® professionals effectively use social media while complying with their firms’ requirements.