Building a great brand online requires companies to listen intently and use their most authentic voice. This was one of the main themes at this year’s SIFMA Social Media Seminar in New York. Throughout the sessions at the day-long event, financial services executives and thought leaders discussed strategies for building a credible reputation and engaging with clients on social media. Here are three lessons learned:
Lesson 1: Authenticity matters.
When it comes to authenticity, Lisa Turley (@lisa_turley), the director of advisor marketing at Raymond James, said it’s important to create your own custom brand. At Raymond James, advisors are encouraged to tailor their social media content because, as Turley points out, personalized posts get higher engagement than canned content.
#SIFMASocial word of the day: authenticity. Hasn’t been a speaker who failed to talk about it.
— David Hale (@DRHPrivacy) October 22, 2015
While Raymond James has a content team that creates engaging content every day, only their individual advisors can ‘humanize’ a post. The firm depends on advisors to take this step understanding that clients and prospects want to connect with real people.
Lesson 2: Use data to drive content strategy.
Gillian Carroll (@GillianECarroll), sales manager of Twitter’s finance vertical, shared some interesting data about how people discuss financial services on Twitter. Of Twitter’s 500 million monthly users, 30 million have investment accounts and 15 million are searching for financial information. In a 30-day period on Twitter, there are:
- 5 million tweets about investing
- 900,000 mentions of retirement (spikes on Wednesdays!)
- 800,000 mentions of commuting (for fun, and context)
Brands are using these insights to power their content strategy and inform the types of content that will resonate with clients. “Your brand is your customer experience,” Carroll said, and “no one wants to interact with a robot.”
It’s critical to use data to inform your content strategy on social media. Rebecca Silver, the manager of Brand Strategy at BuzzFeed, said the most engaging articles and posts within financial services teach the consumer something. At Buzzfeed, there’s a strong focus on creating content that millennials will want to share across platforms like Facebook and Twitter. BuzzFeed helps financial services companies like Bank of America create educational content that helps elevate the brand as both credible and relatable.
For example, in a recent sponsored post, 14 Reasons Splitting The Bill Is An Absolute Nightmare, BuzzFeed used a classic millennial problem — splitting the bill at a group dinner — to poke fun at the situation but also offer the Bank of America Mobile Banking App as a solution.
It starts with the most awkward of pleasantries.
It’s the first moment you really feel the, “Who’s paying for this?” anxiety
Lesson 3: Social media is the new 800 number.
Social media gives advisors the power to educate and provide empathy toward a client when it matters most. At Raymond James, advisors provide relevant and timely communication when there is market volatility. Here’s an example post from Turley’s Twitter feed:
The recent volatility has been scary, but not that unusual. See this chart for an interesting perspective. http://t.co/tgZ5ikPC5g
— Lisa Turley (@lisa_turley) September 14, 2015
Lastly, Sunayna Tuteja (@suynanat), director of social media & online communication at TD Ameritrade, said they have their own social media response team that provides omnichannel coverage across email, phone, social and chat. Tuteja said the group is the foundation for all social programs at the company, and views social media as the new-age “1-800” hotline number. According to Tuteja, “we’re showing up and listening in good and bad times. These are our core values.”
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