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by Harry Gardiner on 21st August 2014
In a perfect world, social media should be the best investment your business has ever made, but the reality is that many brands are still unsure as to how to properly manage their social profiles. A good example is the financial sector; but whilst there are some brands struggling, there are others leading the way – let’s take a look at these and learn the lessons as to why they’re doing so well.
Admittedly, some industries lend themselves better to social than others. The financial industry, for example, could be considered relatively dry. However, where there’s a will there’s a way, and whilst the jargon related to finances may not be the hottest topic, people definitely care about their money – so many businesses have an instant jumping on point right there.
In order to help you get your creative juices flowing and give you a better idea of how you can take control of your social media campaigns, let’s take a closer look at four financial companies who are leaving their competitors in the dust when it comes to social media.
Quick Disclaimer: I understand there are many rules and regulations dictating what financial and investment companies can and cannot do and say online. Whilst I have not included them here, it’s worth reading up on your company’s social guidelines before putting together a new campaign.
The Dutch bank branch of the ING group discovered that their marketing campaigns were losing effectiveness as by the time they went out, many of them were no longer relevant to the bank’s customers.
As a multichannel bank, the heavy reliance on direct marketing was not successful. However, by centralising their content management systems they were able to launch a real time social media campaign delivered over multiple platforms.
ING employed reactive marketing – by launching personalised real time offers, they showed that they take notice and care about their fans and followers, and demonstrated relevancy in an ever-changing market.
Through this technique, the bank increased their average campaign response rate, and currently predicts that its direct marketing costs will be reduced by 35% per year. (Source: bobsguide.com)
Social media allows for instantaneous responses, meaning your brand can react to the latest news and trends directly.
It also gives you a previously unattainable insight into exactly who is interacting with your business – offering a clearer picture of your target audience than ever before.
Whereas direct marketing is usually restricted to being seasonal; you can use social platforms to tailor offers especially for your customers based around any and every current event.
Don’t be intrusive though, not every instance or news story will be relevant to your brand, and no one likes spammy posts. Issue updates only when truly relevant, and remember to be respectful of people’s privacy.
Africa is fast becoming a market leader for innovation within the banking industry. GTBank, Nigeria’s most profitable banking institution, is at the forefront of this charge. Beginning with basic customer service and engagement via Facebook back in 2009, GTBank have quickly evolved their social strategy into a way of making banking as easy as possible for their customers.
With this in mind, the brand formed a 24 hour social media customer care team, and has recently created a Facebook banking application that allows their followers to open bank accounts through Facebook, with future plans to allow secure transfers and balance checks.
The company went back to basics and asked the fundamental question, ‘what do people really want from a bank?’ They then used social media to both gather and implement the answers they received.
But did it work? Well, it’s now Africa’s most ‘Liked’ bank on social media, is one of the country’s most ‘liked’ brands on Facebook, and has an impressive footprint across all the major social platforms. So I’d say yes, it definitely worked. (Source: KPMG)
You don’t have to go as far as developing an entirely new app to help your followers, but it does help to be there for them whenever possible. Don’t just respond to what they write, actually listen, add a personal touch to your replies and take their feedback into account when creating your content strategy.
People like playing games, especially on social media. I’m sure we’ve all been bothered by those invites from friends to help them populate their virtual farm, or give them an extra life for some cheap Bejewelled clone; so how can you apply elements of gamification to your business?
Online brokerage company ICICI Securities utilised a social game-based strategy when communicating with 20-30 year olds, understanding that this kind of content resonated particularly well with those who grew up playing video games.
They launched a social extension called Hangout over Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This came with two animated characters, each representing a type of investor, who offered advice and tips to visitors. These characters also gave users the chance to play a series of challenges on Facebook and YouTube.
The personas helped humanise what appears at first to be an incredibly difficult process, and made stock brokering much more accessible to general users. They were also a great way for the brand to educate its audience, and validate its authority.
The ICICIdirect site is now one of the most viewed in the Indian financial space; and their YouTube videos has over 600,000 collective views, all because they took a different approach.
Use social media to better understand your audience, and target them with relevant content which you know they will enjoy. Content with gamification elements such as online quizzes and flash games engage users in entirely different ways, so don’t be afraid to branch out with your social strategy and try different techniques.
U.S. based financial advisors Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MSSB) quickly identified that the growth in popularity of social media gives anyone and everyone the opportunity to voice their opinion, and perhaps most importantly, their knowledge.
Recognising that they may face competition from those utilising social platforms, they developed an internal network for their company called Advisor Insights. This paired Senior Advisors with those who needed their help the most.
MSSB recognised that they had the expertise people wanted, and that a connected business works better. By combining these to ideas and implementing them within their social strategy, they found a new way to engage users, and earned a top spot on U.S. News’s Most Connected Companies list.
Simply put, let your business knowledge and expertise work for you. You don’t need to give everything away at once, but feeding customers and follower’s expert knowledge through your social profiles is a great way to increase positive brand perception and strengthen your place as a legitimate business.
Use social groups and communities to identify opportunities with influencers and begin conversations with key customer segments.
Remember that social can be utilised throughout the entire sales funnel, and it’s not just for customer support. From education and building interest to acquisition and aftercare; with a solid social media strategy in place your brand can be present every step of the way.
Still unsure of whether your brand is the ‘right fit’ for social? Need some more advice on how to put together an outstanding social campaign plan? Get in touch with Koozai and discover what a savvy social media agency can do for your business.
Our team offer complete social media management packages that can help secure your brand’s place in the social landscape and enhance your company’s online presence.
Take a look at our own social profiles on Facebook and Twitter to get a feel for what we mean, and contact us today for more information.
Social Media Buttons via BigStock
Harry works as a Content Marketing Executive for Koozai. After studying Advertising at University, Harry picked up a wide range of skills including copywriting, creative thinking and problem solving. With a keen eye on new technologies, he developed a passion for Direct and Digital Marketing. Combined with his strong background in retail, Harry brings his forward-thinking sales knowledge to the Koozai Team.