The changing status of social media content in financial services
Relationships are the cornerstone of financial services, and in today’s world, social media is what facilitates most relationships.
Just as the impact of content marketing has increased exponentially, social media in financial services has gone from being a digital shop window to an essential strategic pillar of marketing activity.
69% of respondents to the Hootsuite Social Transformation Report said social helped get their business through the pandemic by allowing them to maintain their relationships with customers, clients and prospects.
But in 2021, with organic reach dwindling and pressure to deliver concrete returns higher than ever before, it is vital that financial services marketers learn how to create more impactful social media content.
Here are 5 ways you can do just that…
1. Add value with informative content
As is true of all content, you should look to provide value to your audience in all that you share.
In the ever-changing landscape of the financial services industry, there are always fresh conversations to be hashed out and new questions to be answered via social media.
Therefore, there are always potential customers looking for answers.
49% of respondents in a NY Times study claimed they share content on social media to keep those around them informed.
So think about the most common questions you receive, the challenges you and your customers face, and how you resolve them.
Then, seize the opportunity to answer those questions for the people in your network with some insightful social media content.
If you can demonstrate your knowledge on the subject at hand and break it down in a way that is digestible and resonates with your audience—whether that’s in a well-written post, or a video recorded on your phone—your extra effort will show in your engagement metrics.
And remember, the more niche your content, the more likely you are to be heard above the ambient noise of your competitors.
2. Build community with emotive content
Some may refer to brand-building content as “soft content”, but it is not to be underestimated.
As far as social media in the financial services sector goes, this kind of content can be an incredibly powerful tool for building your reach, brand awareness, and over the long term, your bottom line.
The key to this kind of content is to not force it. Be human, and be authentic.
Showcase your company culture. Celebrate those big wins, tag the people who made them happen.
Is there a social cause which your business is collectively engaged in supporting? Talk about it, and make it more relevant to your audience by explaining specifically how it affects people in your field.
This comes with the added benefit of increased advocacy from your employees, who are far more likely to share content from their employers on social media if it aligns with their beliefs and values.
According to Hootsuite, one employee sharing six pieces of content will earn their employer:
- 6 job views
- 3 company page views
- 1 company page follower
- 6 profile views, and
- 2 new connections.
Just ensure anything in the “social justice” realm of things is authentic, and that the actions of your organization back it up.
You don’t want to be seen to be piggybacking off a worthy cause for your own gain.
3. Timing is everything
Timing is another powerful method of making your social media content more successful.
And we don’t just mean the time of day you post.
As well as producing content that shares insight and builds your brand presence, look to produce targeted content that speaks to your audience based on where they are in your customer journey.
Recent data from the Content Marketing Institute shows that less than half of marketers are creating content for different stages of the buyer journey. But of the most successful marketing teams, 74% of them craft journey-specific content.
There are lots of different theories on how best to map a customer journey, but generally speaking they all revolve around three stages: awareness, consideration and the decision to purchase.
So how can you adapt the social media content in your financial services team’s content strategy to target customers at these different stages?
For prospects who need to learn more about your service offering and the benefits it has to offer them, you could arrange a LinkedIn Live session with an interactive Q&A.
For a lead that is yet to be sales-qualified, why not share a customer success story, with some persuasive data proving just how much ROI your service delivered?
4. Engage in ‘community management’
While content output is the core of any social media strategy, as time goes on, we are seeing more and more that smaller-scale actions (and interactions) can have a huge impact on social.
Little things like engaging with the comments of your posts or resolving queries in your DMs all have a ripple effect.
Collectively, this can help build your brand reputation, expand your reach, and make your audience feel more comfortable engaging with your content.
Most importantly, establishing a better brand reputation and a sense of ‘community’ among your followers will build trust.
According to a report released by Raconteur in 2019, trust is the biggest driving factor for customers when choosing a financial services provider.
Plus, once you have a community of people that regularly interact with your social media content, you have your very own sounding board.
Let their feedback guide you and help refine your content and strategic approach.
5. Rinse, refine and repeat!
Pressing that publish button can be scary at first, but even in financial services, social media is too fast-moving for hesitation.
It’s a game of progress over perfection. So don’t overthink things.
Execute an idea, fail fast, learn how you can improve, and then try again.
Having a data-driven approach is key to doing this properly.
So either invest in the right marketing tools to properly interpret your data, or partner with an agency that can do that for you.
Study the performance metrics of your content. Is there anything that your highest performing posts have in common? The way they are worded? The imagery you used? The time you posted them?
Try to figure out if certain variables lead to poor or rich engagement, then look to replicate those same successes again. And if it doesn’t work, simply rinse, refine, and repeat.
With digital marketing competency rapidly increasing in the financial services sector, social media is becoming another vital channel for differentiating yourself from your competition, reaching the right audience, and building meaningful relationships with prospects and customers.
Achieving social media success takes time, but once you get there, the returns are well worth it.
Remember, look to share content that provides valuable insight and emotional resonance. And get to know your audience so you can ensure the right people receive the right message, at the right time.
From there, it’s a case of supporting your efforts with those small-scale activities, and consistently refining your output throughout the process.