Thirty-four percent of rich folks use social media professionally, according to a survey of millionaires by Fidelity Investments (assuming that millionaires still count as "rich"), including 28% who say they use LinkedIn. This is a pretty substantial number, especially considering that the average age of rich respondents was 56. Adoption rates for other kinds of communications technology were even higher, with 85% of rich respondents saying they use -- or are willing to use -- email and text messaging for professional matters.
More to the point for Fidelity Investments, two-third of rich respondents said they would like to be able to use social media, email, or texts to communicate with their financial advisors -- compared to just 43% of brokers and consultants who say they currently use these professionally. Scott Dell'Orfano, executive vice president of sales and relationship management at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, stated: "The results of this survey should serve as a wakeup call to advisers." He noted that financial advisers may be leery of using social media to talk to clients because "they don't want to remove themselves by communicating through technology," but warned that this attitude was increasingly obsolete, as efficiency and client preferences should guide communications choices.
On that note, earlier this month Morgan Stanley Smith Barney announced it would let financial advisers used LinkedIn and Twitter to communicate with clients.
While it didn't focus on social media for professional use, last year I wrote about a survey from SEI Networks which found that 70% of people with net worth of $5 million or more are on Facebook or a similar social media site. Among the 70% who used social networks, 50% (35% of the total) said they use Facebook, 37% (26% of the total) said they visit YouTube, and 35% (24.5% of the total) use LinkedIn -- just about the same proportion who said they use LinkedIn in the Fidelity survey.
Again, all this is especially noteworthy because the average age of individuals heading households worth $5 million or more is 67, according to "Affluent Market Insights," a series of annual reports from the Spectrem Group. Meanwhile the proportion of U.S. adults ages 65+, of all income brackets, who use social media was just 26% in September 2010, according to Pew. Comparing the numbers, it looks like pretty-rich older adults are more likely to use social media than their non-rich peers.