In today’s world of Snapchat Spectacles, Instagram Live and the ever-popular selfie filters migrating to Facebook, financial services firms struggle to determine which social media trends merit their investment in both content development and compliance infrastructure.
Consumers are more empowered than ever and can essentially dictate how they want to engage with firms from initial marketing to service delivery. As Michael Barnes, vice president and research director at Forrester, stated in December 2016, “Power has shifted away from companies and towards digitally savvy, technology-empowered customers who now decide winners and losers.” Given this important shift, which trends are worth chasing?
As part of Hearsay Summit last week, a group of executives from the world’s leading financial services and insurance companies had the opportunity to sit down and discuss these trends and how they impact their field forces, comprised mainly of financial advisors, insurance agents and asset managers.
What emerged from this group of leaders was clear agreement on the importance of three key trends that are crucial to driving ROI on social: video content, advisor-led paid content (e.g., on Facebook) and 1-to-1 messaging.
Video Is Content King
Video consumption on social channels is at an all-time high. Facebook videos are estimated to receive 32 billion views daily, and trend analysis indicates that this could double as early as this August. Additionally, with the rise of do-it-yourself video channels such as Snapchat and Instagram, consumers are more inclined to consume brand messages in this form than ever before.
More importantly, they look to video to provide the authenticity and transparency that they demand from brands with which they choose to engage.
Yet the challenge here is clear: How should heavily regulated firms support video content in the right way? From the discussion last week, two key ideas emerged:
1. Start small and provide guardrails for self-made videos. Empower a pilot group of trained advisors to share authentic, self-made videos with connections and leverage a post-approval approach for compliance purposes (similar to how other dynamic content is managed). Most advisors will be new to video and will welcome the training and education. In cases of compliance gaps, videos can simply be removed from social sites like Facebook.
2. Leverage your entire field force to distribute brand video content. Brand-made videos are often beautiful, engaging and inspiring in ways that self-made videos might not be. While they have the clear benefit of already having sign-off from the compliance team, they are often expensive to produce. Make your investment go as far as possible by providing your field force with easy access to these videos so that they can distribute them directly to their social connections.
Convert Leads With Paid Content
Scary as it might sound, organic reach on Facebook is dropping rapidly. In 2016, the average publishers’ organic reach on Facebook fell by 52 percent. Today’s savvy marketers and social sellers agree that paid content is a far superior way to find and convert leads versus generating vast amounts of organic content.
Through paid promotions, advisors can target key brand messages and top-performing content to the people they want to reach during their money-in-motion events, like getting married, moving, switching jobs and even retiring. Interestingly, many firms invest vast sums of money on paid content that direct viewers to corporate social pages, even though the majority of business transactions occur at the local, advisor-to-consumer level.
Recently, some firms have started to redirect some of these budgets toward their field force, as they see their advisors truly humanizing brand messages and ultimately convert social views into sales. Firms now even have the opportunity to automate this entire process with technology partners (like Hearsay), so that they can reach and then direct prime prospects to a best-fit, local advisor website or local social page.
Drive More Meaningful Touches With 1-to-1 Messaging
As Hearsay CEO and founder, Clara Shih, noted in her Summit keynote speech, loyal customers have two or more touches per month with their advisor or agent on non-investment related matters. But the days of blasting customers with email spam or snail mail are long gone. So how do you reach your customers in the way they want to be reached?
Leaders from the industry agreed that one of the best ways to connect with both customers and prospects is via 1-to-1 messaging channels, including Facebook Messenger. With Facebook Messenger, advisors can connect with both customers and prospects on their preferred channel, provide a more personal experience (given the two-way connection approval process that is not available via email alone) and also stay within compliance regulations. By opening up this channel, firms can improve their customer touch rate significantly and support advisors in their quest to protect and grow their businesses.
See how Charles Schwab is empowering their field force to grow business on social in this Summit keynote from Lisa Kidd Hunt, executive vice president and SIFMA chairman-elect:
And, learn how JPMorgan Chase uses social and digital to reinforce and amplify corporate branding campaigns, from this fireside chat with chief marketing officer Kristin Lemkau:
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