4 social media tips for the financial services industry
The financial industry had to overcome a lot of hardships in the past years. The banking crisis and the recession have led to increasing distrust in banks and the financial industry in general. In Cyprus, specifically after the unfortunate crisis of 2013 and the intense publicity surrounding it, financial institutions struggled with rebuilding their negative reputation among consumers.
As more customers turn to social media to inform their choice of financial products and voice their concerns there is an opportunity for financial services companies to improve their reputation and increase their client’s trust and satisfaction. Social media marketing allows banks and other financial institutions to communicate with existing and prospective consumers in a way that is personal and relative, while establishing and maintaining relationships. With improved targeting, enhanced advertising, compliance support, developments in ROI tracking and more, social media now has the potential to play a meaningful role in your financial institution’s marketing plan.
So, how can the financial services industry better leverage social media to attract new clients and solidify relationships with existing ones while engaging online in a compliant and safe manner? To answer this question we hosted a casual discussion with marketing professionals on the future of financial services and social media. We were fortunate enough to be joined by experts from the banking, insurance and analyst community as well. There were some fascinating debates and lots of practical examples of how banks, wealth management and insurance companies have made best use of social media. Here are my takeaways from the event.
By now, most advanced organisations have already integrated social media into their communications efforts. Yet others in the finance sector have held back. Executives are concerned about the security of social media accounts and making mistakes that could damage their reputation or result in negative financial consequences. With the right technology and policies in place, you can secure your social profiles, safeguard your brand and keep regulators happy. Social relationship platforms like Hootsuite have built-in compliance features to prevent your company from posting social media messages that could violate regulatory guidelines, along with security features to maintain control of your corporate social media accounts. However, technology is only part of the compliance equation. In order to avoid blunders, your FS company needs a policy that gives employees clear guidelines for business-related messages on social media.
Use data to inform decisions.
There’s no question. People are talking about your FS organisation on social media. But before you speak up, make sure you listen. Listening enables companies to understand what customers want, what they’re saying about the brand, and what they’re saying about competitors. In listening to what customers complain about or praise the organisation for, finance companies gain insights into what they can improve about their services or what drives customer decisions. Data can also be used to inform marketing campaigns. For example the ING group discovered that their marketing campaigns were losing effectiveness as by the time they went out, many of them were no longer relevant to the bank’s customers. By implementing a centralised campaign management programme, with personalised offers in real time, delivered through multiple channels, ING increased average campaign response rates and expects to reduce its direct marketing costs.
Share relevant content.
Social media is an excellent method for financial services companies to showcase their expertise and experience in different areas while still adhering to legal regulations. Research shows that investment customers and prospects are hungry for advice and tips that will help them take their next steps on the road to solid financial planning. So generate content – videos, blog entries, short white papers, case studies – that helps them solve a problem or increases their awareness on a topic in the industry. Doing so will position your company as an industry leader. The wisest customer
Build relationships that last.
on retention. Loyal customers are crucial to the long-term viability of your business, and in today’s competitive environment, building trust is key. I know that I would continue to use the advisor who understands me, who grows with me and who I believe looks out for my best interests over someone new and unproven who may claim offers of better coverage at a lower cost. How do you build and maintain trust with clients via social media? Engage, not just with content but with the audience as well. Respond to comments or participate in dialogue. Things you notice on social media might prompt you to pick up the phone or schedule a meeting. Social media, more than any other medium, provides the opportunity to establish and sustain relationships. What you choose to do with that opportunity is up to you.
With these four tips you’re better positioned to move your FS organisation’s social media programmes forward. As you take your next steps, watch what works and measure social’s impact on core business goals. If you put a strong foundation in place today – based on security, compliance and a focus on the social customer – your organisation will be able to confidently scale up its investments.