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How to Apply 2018’s Biggest Digital Trends to Your Client Engagement Strategy

February 6, 2018

We Are Social recently released their 2018 Digital Trends report. It summarizes five trends they predict will change the way business is done online and the way people interact with other users as well as directly with brands. Pay close attention to these five trends when building out your business’ digital strategy for 2018.

Re(Curation)

Believe it or not, 90 percent of the data created on the internet has only existed since 2016, meaning that the amount of content available online is growing exponentially year after year.

That’s a lot of content. And when coupled with increasingly shortened attention spans, we’re faced with an intense competition for user attention. Re-curating content on social networks is a way to ensure that you don’t miss out on relevant content, but that also means that your content could get lost in the crowd. Navigating this space successfully will be key to staying relevant on social and digital.

How does this relate to the financial services industry?

The key to a digital marketing strategy that will have a direct impact on ROI is constant change. In this case, advisors must focus on making their social media content more engaging, relevant and easy to find. Prospects are getting inundated in every direction with information so your content has to stand out and proclaim, “Hey! I’m important, too.”

Never-Ending Frictionless Communication

One millennial might prefer contacting a business via Twitter DMs while another might prefer Facebook Messenger. When making a purchase, one buyer might visit the company website while another might peruse Instagram until something catches her eye. All of these possibilities have allowed for a multitude of tastes and preferences to surface.

It is now up to businesses to accommodate these countless communication preferences.

How does this relate to the financial services industry?

While the report refers to digital channels for this trend, advisors can create a frictionless communication experience with an older, but effective, type of technology: texting.

Texting is now a mainstream means of communication for advisors and consumers alike. Wirehouses like Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have begun investing in texting and the momentum doesn’t seem to be letting up, meaning other firms are likely to fall behind if they don’t follow suit.

Check out Hearsay’s texting technology landscape report and blog post for three approaches your firm can take to implement advisor-client texting solutions in not only compliant, but also engaging, ways.

Reference Not Deference

Users are relying less on traditional cultural authority figures like the government and mainstream media to make decisions, and are instead referencing multiple peer-like sources.

Influencers are still integral to a holistic digital marketing strategy and new social feedback features such as Instagram Polls and Facebook Polling are creating new opportunities for firms and advisors to engage with followers.

How does this relate to the financial services industry?

Referrals are the bread and butter of advisors, and referrals from Centers of Influence (COIs) are “more than 20 times as profitable for financial advisors than referrals from their own wealthy investor clientele,” according to John Bower, founder of CEG Advantage. As this trend of trusting peer-like sources more than anything else continues, relying on referrals from current clients and COIs alike will become even more essential.

Utility to Empathy

Despite what critics might say about how technology is keeping people apart, this shift actually enables empathy to flourish. Technology such as telepresence tech (like Elli-Q’s AI-driven social robot) and virtual reality (like Facebook Spaces) presents an opportunity for enabling empathy through digital means.

How does this relate to the financial services industry?

While several of these features may still be a few years away, it is essential to recognize the importance of empathy in digital communication and make it a priority in your social efforts.

Do a quick Google search for “financial services trust” and a multitude of results will appear. A key part of rebuilding trust in the financial services industry requires advisors to be able to empathize with their prospects and clients, and vice versa. The best advisors already know how to be empathetic when working one-to-one with clients. Firms just now have to figure out how to scale that experience through social media and other channels.

The Importance of Ephemeral Experiences

This year will provide the opportunity – and challenge – to create engaging content that is impactful for their ephemeral qualities. Not only does its short life make the experience more valuable, but it also comes across as more authentic as well.

An exciting app leading the way in this field is HQ Trivia. The live trivia show app recently hit a milestone of 1 million users in January 2018 (and inspiring a certain controversial billionaire to invest $15 million into the app), proving that users are hungry for this kind of experience.

How does this relate to the financial services industry?

While investing in ephemeral channels like Snapchat might be difficult for both implementation and compliance reasons, there are other ways financial services professionals can leverage this trend.

  • Host or take part in a live Twitter chat
  • Post a photo of yourself or of an event while you’re at the event
  • Live-tweet any conferences or events you’re attending

The Internet in 2018

The Internet is becoming increasingly democratized, personalized and streamlined. As users demand that these experiences and tools change to accommodate shifting wants and needs, it’s up to brands and businesses to take this challenge as an opportunity to meet their customers where they are. And to do that, they must take their digital strategies to the next level.

Are you a current Hearsay customer? If so, join our “2018 Digital Trends” webinar and learn from our very own Customer Education team about how you can leverage these digital trends in your social media strategy!

  • Wednesday, February 7, at 11am PST / 2pm EST / 7pm GMT
  • Tuesday, February 20, at 8am PST/ 11am EST / 4pm GMT

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Linh Le

Customer Education Manager

Linh Le creates training resources and educational content to help Hearsay’s customers succeed. You can follow her on Twitter at @HSSLinh where she tweets about the financial services industry and the state of social media.

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