The use of social media by asset managers has grown significantly in the past two years to the point where 45% of firms today are using outlets like Twitter and Facebook in some way, according to the Corporate Insight report, “To ‘Friend Is the Trend,” which will be published in October.

Of the 41 asset management companies tracked for the report, 17 have company-sponsored pages on Facebook and 16 are on Twitter. The primary aim of these communications is to reach individual investors, but some of the messages are aimed at financial advisers.

By comparison, in 2008, only 13% of fund companies were using social media.

However, few of the companies using social media have a set strategy or goal for their efforts, said James McGovern, vice president of consulting services at Corporate Insight. To date, most asset managers and other financial firms are using social media in a general way, to direct traffic to their home sites.

“One area where asset management firms are innovating, however,” Corporate Insight said, “is in the blogosphere, with mutual fund companies in particular embracing the medium.” Putnam and Vanguard are even permitting investors to post vetted comments.

“Blogging makes a lot of sense for mutual fund firms,” McGovern said. “Many leading fund managers have clear and strongly held views on the investment prospects of specific markets, industries and companies,” and these commentaries can be particularly helpful if they are updated frequently in response to news- and market-driven events.

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