Asset managers' organic social media posts on asset allocation and ESG received a higher engagement in Q2 2020 compared to Q1 of this year, while engagement with posts related to Covid-19 decreased, according to research by Fundamental Media.
Fundamental Research analysed the social media posts of ten leading asset managers during the first six months of 2020 – over 5,200 posts in total – looking at the topics discussed as well as the sentiment and performance of the posts.
Although asset managers received the highest level of engagement per post (calculated as the average number of reactions per post) on LinkedIn during both quarters, it decreased from Q1 to Q2 for all platforms, losing 18% on LinkedIn and Twitter, and 21% on Facebook.
On the other hand, the sentiment of the posts (calculated as the difference between positive and negative words in each post) slightly improved in Q2. After a slight decrease in posts' engagement in February, March and April were the months with the highest engagement during the pandemic across the three social media platforms. After this peak, May saw the lowest levels of engagement since the beginning of the year.
The ten asset managers published more than 1,600 LinkedIn posts during the first half of the year. The graph above shows the 15 most engaging topics of the second quarter, their frequency and overall sentiment. Portfolio allocation, ESG, regular communication (e.g. monthly investment updates), crisis and Europe were the most engaging topics during Q2. On the other hand, the topics most often discussed were expert views, pandemic, economy, ESG and market. There were no noticeable changes in the average sentiment of the topics when comparing Q2 to Q1 of 2020, except an interesting increase in the sentiment of pandemic, which was 80% more positive than in the previous quarter, and ESG, for which sentiment increased by 108%.
When taking a closer look at changes in engagement and frequency of posts from Q1 to Q2, the chart above shows that there has been a slight shift in engagement and the frequency of posts regarding specific topics but that it has not changed much overall. However, a few topics stand out. It seems that in the past quarter, followers lost interest in posts on the pandemic specifically, but instead wanted to know more about how to deal with the volatility the crisis has caused and what this means for portfolio allocation. The engagement for posts related to the pandemic and fixed income in Q2 more than halved compared to Q1 despite being more present in Q2 posts. Meanwhile, posts on portfolio allocation, risk, volatility and equities received higher levels of engagement compared to Q1.
Engagement with ESG-related topics remains stable, but within the ESG theme a shift in engagement from sustainability related issues to social issues can be observed. Several social issues were discussed during these six months, for example LGBT rights and Black Lives Matter. Sustainability related posts focusing on products, climate and environment lost 40% of average engagement per post in Q2. Conversely, the engagement for posts on social issues more than doubled in the second quarter.
As the decreased frequency and increased engagement of some topics may suggest, it seems that, overall, the leading asset managers in Europe have not exploited enough the demand for updates and insights regarding topics such as risk, Europe and financial institutions.
These shifts in topics' engagement, frequency and sentiment could be attributed to the increased knowledge and familiarity regarding the Covid pandemic, where the role played by asset managers' social media was to provide updates, analysis and insights regarding the impact of the pandemic on the investment market and asset allocation. While the outlook is still uncertain, it has improved since the previous quarter.
LinkedIn data shows how the behaviour of leading asset managers and followers is adjusting to the post-COVID phase of uncertainty. More clarity around the nature and the spread of the pandemic has shifted the interest towards the financial consequences of the current situation. From fixed income to equities, followers are looking for insights in portfolio allocation and risks in order to better cope with the current volatility and market uncertainty.
So while asset managers missed an opportunity to post more on topics their followers were interested in during Q2, these findings also demonstrate the importance of keeping an eye on the engagement social media posts are receiving in relation to the topic and, if asset managers see interest waning in a specific topic, to research and think about the topics that are still of interest to their audience.
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