The use of social media in financial services was important even before 2020. Then the pandemic changed the way we relate to customers and customers significantly. Social media is no longer negotiable.
Social media changed the nature of customer relationships for 90% of financial advisors during the pandemic. More than half of those who brought in new business made increased use of social media this year.
However, using social media in a regulated industry can pose many challenges. Here's how to develop a social media strategy for financial services in 2021.
Bonus: Get the Free Social Selling Guide to Financial Services. Learn how social media can be used to generate and nurture leads and win business.
Using Social Media In Financial Services: 6 Key Benefits
Many industries have reduced their spending on digital advertising in the wake of COVID-19. However, financial services companies increased their spending on digital advertising by 9.7%. That brought it to $ 19.62 billion. Only the retail sector spent more.
Organic social media is becoming increasingly important for Finserv brands too. Generation Z is starting to consume more financial services. At the same time, our Digital 2020 data shows that baby boomers are using both social media and mobile payments like never before.
Financial services brands need to meet these two generations – and everyone in between – on the digital platforms they use every day.
Let's take a look at some of the key benefits of social media in financial services.
1. Strengthen relationships
Relationship building is an important use of social media for professionals in the financial industry. When it comes to money, everyone wants to deal with someone they know and trust.
Especially when you can't meet your customers in person, you can use social media to build that trust. It helps maintain customer relationships that you would normally develop in your office or branch.
69% of respondents to the Hootsuite Social Transformation Report said social media helped them weather the pandemic by maintaining customer and audience relationships.
In a survey by Putnam Investments, 74% of consultants said they use direct messages on social networks to communicate with customers and prospects. Almost all (94%) said they were buying new assets.
Promoting prospects and customers online is known as social selling. Here's a quick introduction to how it works:
Social media can help you identify key financial moments in the lives of your customers and prospects. For example, LinkedIn is a great place to find out about career changes or retirement. By following your customers' business pages, you will also get insight into their challenges.
A regional broker-dealer advisor told Putnam that he found out about a problem through a client's Facebook page. He contacted her on Messenger to solve the problem. Then she sent him several recommendations.
However, social selling is usually about building relationships that will lead to long-term sales. Whenever any of your connections get a new job or start a new business, be sure to send a message of congratulations. Keep yourself in mind. But don't jump in and try to make a sale.
It is important to focus on providing trustworthy information and resources. Especially when people are fighting. Prioritize the customer's needs before selling.
2. Highlight the brand purpose and build community trust
84% of respondents to a specific Edelman Trust Barometer report said they expected or hoped that brands would use social channels to “create a sense of community and offer social support”.
60% of those polled in Deloitte's annual Millennials and Gen Z survey said they will buy more from "big companies that have cared for their workforce and made a positive impact on society" during the pandemic.
And in Brandwatch data, more than three-quarters of consumers say it's important that brands proactively make the world a better place.
As we note in our Social Trends 2021 report, branding purpose has to come from business leaders, not just from the marketing department. Look for ways you or your company can support your community. For financial services companies, an easy win is helping small and local businesses.
Howard Bank, based in Baltimore, launched a campaign entitled "Keep It Local". The idea was to support local businesses by getting them featured on social media and other channels.
To put their money where their mouth was, the campaign also included a competition. A successful local company received a grant of $ 10,000 and the runner-up received $ 1,000.
Even after the competition, Howard Bank continues to highlight small local businesses on its social channels. You are credible as a long-term supporter of local business.
???? #SmallBusinessSpotlight: CPM Plumbing Services LLC "Chris Moskala started CPM Plumbing a few years ago …
Posted by Howard Bank on Wednesday Nov 25th, 2020
3. Humanize your brand
People want to deal with trustworthy financial experts. That doesn't mean their financial services providers should be clinical and cold. Social media gives you a great opportunity to humanize your brand.
Engaging your company's executives on social media can be a good place to start. After all, trusting a person can be easier than trusting an institution.
C-level executives don't need to stick to dry financial topics. Encourage her to show a little personality.
When the Town and Country Bank in Ravenna, Nebraska updated its digital services, more than 1,300 users had to download a new mobile app. They also had to re-subscribe to email statements and restore their digital credentials.
Putting this into a simple list of required steps can cause eyerolls, anger, or even panic among customers. Instead, the bank created a fun Facebook video with its former president and wife who are well known in the community.
Bringing a human face to the brand was key in getting people to understand the importance of the upgrade and what action to take. The digital platform was changed on July 13th. By the end of July, all but 100 customers had taken the necessary steps.
And the video reached 34,000 views well beyond the target group and triggered a positive response from the community.
Depending on your audience and the channels you use, social media in finance can be great fun: 2021 is the time to get creative.
LinkedIn is by far the most widely used social network for financial services, but less formal platforms are also growing in popularity. Keep in mind that 31% of consultants are now using Snapchat.
And the Swiss bank PostFinance uses TikTok to connect with its young audience. It is clear that employees are getting a kick out of the process.
These glorious "Staches" are the result of @movember. Good work ???????????????????? # menshealthawareness #movember #moustache #schnauz #fy #fyp #swisstiktok
♬ Original sound – PostFinance
4. Gain important industry and customer knowledge
Try using social media for research in the financial services industry. This is a great way to keep track of what's going on in your area.
Think of social media as an early warning system, whether it's the latest product offering from a competitor or an impending PR disaster.
Social media listening can help you find out what's happening to your competitors and your industry.
This is how it works:
You can also use social listening to learn more about your customers and gauge what they want from you. As outlined in our 2021 Social Trends report, it will be important for brands to “prioritize listening over speaking” in the coming year.
Through social listening, Securian Financial found that key populations were not complaining about quarantine. Instead, they shared stories about how they kept in touch.
Securian then created a user-generated content campaign. They used the hashtag #LifeBalanceRemix to encourage people to share these stories. There was also heart behind this campaign. They donated $ 10 to Feeding America for each user who posted with the hashtag or shared the campaign.
The result was more than 2.5 million impressions and an estimated ROI of $ 35,000.
Also keep an eye on your social media analytics. These tools give you insight into the effectiveness of your own social endeavors. You can learn what works best and refine your social media marketing strategy for financial services clients.
5. Reduce effort and costs
Social efforts work best when teams, departments, and individual consultants use social media in a coordinated manner. This most likely includes a common social media management platform.
In the Putnam survey, nearly 90% of consultants said helping their companies make a positive difference in their social media use. The named specific areas of support consultants include:
- Providing content for posting
- Provision of support resources
- Offer training
A content library is a valuable resource for employees and brands. Employees have access to pre-approved, compliant content that is ready to use right out of the box. Brands can have peace of mind when employees post consistent messages that support strategic goals.
And everything is in a central library, so there is no duplication of work or costs.
The American Bankers Association recently launched a campaign to raise concerns about phishing. You have created a number of resources that all banks can use. This includes social posts, videos, and GIFs with the hashtag #BanksNeverAskThat.
The banks then shared the resources through their social channels. They were able to inform their customers about this important topic without much effort or investment.
This is what it looks like on the social platforms of several banks:
"Do you like your martini shaken or stirred?" #BanksNeverAskThat. They will also never ask you to click on a suspicious link in an email. Learn how to spot fraud and determine your IQ with the # BanksNeverAsk quiz: https://t.co/YY7iMoOsIX #oxfordbank #americanbankersassociation pic.twitter.com/RGYpshdcl2
– Oxford Bank (@OxfordBank) November 25, 2020
Fishing is a sport. Phishing is a scam. To recognize it, remember #BanksNeverAskThat. See how it works here: https://banksneveraskthat.com
Posted by BancorpSouth on Friday 23rd Oct 2020
6. Offer digital customer service
Online chat is the second most preferred option for customer service. It is only surpassed by phone support. For people under the age of 25, social media is the first choice for customer care.
Gartner found, however, that financial services companies are lagging behind in offering chat support. Only 35% of retail banking companies, 31% of insurance companies, and 9% of wealth and asset management companies offer live website chat.
Online messaging through social channels can be a great alternative to setting up chat functionality on your own website.
When Citizens Bank released an update for their mobile banking app, it went wrong. The basic functionality was defective and the customers were not satisfied. They flooded Citizens Bank's social channels with complaints and requests for help.
Citizens Bank has a special Twitter account for customer service. They also enabled the messenger popup on their Facebook page. This enabled them to respond to customers on the platforms they already spend their time on.
It's great that it helped! Take care – Samantha
– Ask Citizens Bank (@AskCitizensBank) on August 6, 2020
Your ability to respond to social media has likely mitigated some of the damage from the app update bug. They would have been even more successful if they could have responded faster.
Gartner finds that retail banks get high marks for customer service response within an hour. They also have preset questions and automatic answers to handle general inquiries. (Do you remember what we said about reducing the effort?)
A tool like the Hootsuite Inbox can help you manage conversations from all channels in one place. You can also create "Saved Answers" for frequently asked questions, view all of your conversation history, and assign messages to your team members while keeping track of response times. See how it works here:
Social Media Strategy For Financial Services: Important Tips
1. Focus on compliance
FINRA, FCA, FFIEC, IIROC, SEC, PCI, AMF, GDPR – all compliance requirements can turn your head.
Many advisors and agents were working remotely before the pandemic. More finance professionals are now working from home. It is important to have compliance processes and tools that govern social media usage.
Involve your compliance team in developing your social media strategy for financial services contributions. It gives you important advice on the steps you need to take to protect your brand.
For example, they can explain the separation of personal and business use of social media for professionals in the financial sector. You should also weigh the types of links consultants share.
It's also important to have the right chain of approvals in place for all social media posts. For example, FINRA states: "A Registered Client must conduct a review prior to using a social media site that a Connected Person wishes to use for business purposes."
2. Archive everything
This is under regulatory compliance but is important enough to make your own call. According to FINRA, "Companies and their registered agents must keep records of communications related to their" business as such. "
These records must be kept for at least three years.
With the integration of Hootsuite with Actiance, all social media communications are automatically archived. It stores them in a secure and searchable database with the original context.
3. Perform a social media audit
With a social media audit, you document all of your company's social channels in one place. They also write down any important information that is relevant to everyone. At the same time, you will track down scammers or unofficial accounts so that they can be closed.
First, list all the accounts your internal team uses on a regular basis. But remember – this is just a starting point. You'll need to look for old or abandoned accounts and departmental accounts.
Meanwhile, make a note of the social platforms you don't have social accounts on. It may be time to register profiles there. Even if you're not ready to use these tools just yet, you may want to reserve your branded handles for future use.
We created a free social media exam template to help organize all of your research as you tackle this work.
4. Implement a social media policy
A social media policy controls the use of social media in your company. This includes accounts for your consultants and agents.
Your compliance, legal, IT, information security, human resources, PR, and marketing teams should all be contributing. It helps you maintain a consistent brand identity while reducing compliance challenges.
Team roles and approval structures are also defined so that everyone understands the workflow of a social post. This upfront clarity can help reduce the frustration that social media may not move as fast in financial services as it does in other industries.
The use of social media for purposes of the financial industry can also be associated with security risks. Make sure your social media policy has a section that lists security protocols for the less sexy aspects of social media. For example, specify how often passwords should be changed and how often the software should be updated.
5. Train your team
The use of social media in financial services is not for everyone. It is important to provide training and resources for your teams if you want them to use the social network effectively.
Putnam found that 40% of consultants receive social media training from partner companies. 37% are trained from their home office. And 27% receive third-party training.
If you expect your team to figure everything out for themselves, you are putting them at a disadvantage. Give them the resources and tools they need to make your brand shine.
Hootsuite makes social marketing easier for financial services providers. From a single dashboard, you can manage all of your networks, increase sales, provide customer service, minimize risk, and ensure compliance. See the platform in action.
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