When I began marketing financial services, social wasn’t on the media landscape. In those days, not that long ago, we relied on traditional media, some digital (search & email), public relations and promotions to attract the attention of the people we wanted to serve.
The marketers who succeeded in that environment did masterful jobs understanding where to find their prospective customers and crafting messages that moved them.
They weighed the merits of a growing list of media channels and allocated their budgets in ways they hoped would achieve a measurable return on investment. The addition of social media has made things more complicated. It has also made them better.
What’s cool about social media is its ability to supercharge all the great marketing you are already doing. No matter how you go about marketing your company or brand, social media can amplify and extend the impact.
Whether you are already participating in social media or making plans to start, these five steps will help make your social strategy a success, with outcomes your CEO and CFO will like just as much as you do.
- Prepare an editorial calendar: Think about your social media strategy as a narrative arc that extends through the next 12-18 months, and tell a story you believe will matter to your clients. If you are active on multiple platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, it’s critical to remember that each demands its own style and content. Your social strategy should complement and reinforce your overall marketing strategy.
- Upgrade your content: Whether you are writing and publishing your own, curating the content from other sources, or a combination of both, make sure it is consistent with your brand, your strategy and meets your highest standards for quality and integrity. If you are empowering the field – your advisors, bankers, analysts and so forth – work with them to find or create content that is suited to their business and their audience.
- Be fanatical about analytics: Watch your results (likes, shares, comments, click-throughs) closely and be prepared to make adjustments when things go well and… well… not so well.
- Invest in a social media compliance provider: Most companies who are active in social media have already contracted with a company like Socialware or Hearsay Social to help surveil, moderate, approve and archive social media content. The SEC and FINRA pay close attention to member firms’ activity in digital media. The good news is that with these tools you can manage the risk!
- Most important of all, BE SOCIAL: Too many firms in the financial services industry treat social media the same way they do more traditional media. This is not a place to hawk product. Listen to what your audience is saying, explicitly or through their behavior, and respond. Social is where you build and fortify relationships and trust. Deliver content that people value. Deliver it repeatedly and consistently, and you will earn the opportunity to ask them for something.
This is an exciting time to be in the financial services industry. By embracing digital media overall, and social media specifically, financial services companies and professionals can be visible and relevant in ways other media simply can’t match. Stick to these steps, and you’ll be on the right track, nurturing existing relationships and creating opportunities for new ones. Now…go get ‘em.
Does your broker, wealth manager or bank do a good job interacting with you on social media? What companies in any industry do an exceptional job? What kind of content would you be interested in seeing from them?