The corporate world has begun to pay attention to the power of social media and its trickle-down effects on defining businesses. One industry in particular that has taken notice of this over the last few years is financial services, which is heavily susceptible to overall consumer sentiment and a rapidly changing target audience. We explore two ways in which these platforms can prove to be invaluable to the industry before briefly examining some challenges to implementation.
1. Brand Awareness
A way of reaching more people than traditional advertising platforms, the social media world has become an indispensable medium for (almost all) businesses to communicate with their customers. Financial institutions have already begun engaging with their communities to strengthen their brand identity.
This might involve posting product or finance related information, sharing content from industry partners, liking pages the institution supports or commenting back to consumers (essentially starting conversations). These tactics increase their overall visibility and help point a spotlight on their brand. It’s all about representing a consistent image at all times to cement their identity.
There is also a necessity for these institutions to constantly pivot their approaches through watching for trends, continuing to experiment with different social media tactics, and re-evaluating their strategies periodically. Twitter might have done wonders for the U.S. presidential elections but Facebook may be where a bank’s audience turns to first.
2. Building Trust for a Changing Audience
The future of banking is reliant on the younger generation, and Millennials make up a big part of that population. They are known as a demographic that thrives on interaction as well as instantaneous responses – two elements that social media delivers. When it comes to banks and the financial industry in general, this particular audience needs advice on traditional products such as savings accounts and credit cards, but they are not the most trusting by nature. Financial institutions that are aware of this are trying their best through various channels to get into the Millennials’ good books.
Social media is a great tool to do this, with the medium very often defining the message as Millennials consume digital content to make informed decisions. An example of this is in digital banking, where financial institutions have a unique opportunity to present content in areas such as investing, managing finances, and savings plans every time a customer uses their platforms. They can also leverage YouTube, stream webinars over Facebook, and plan their content strategies around infographics and blog posts.
According to a white paper by Hootsuite and Telsyte, “Investing in Social: Advocacy, Innovation and Cultural Transformation in Financial Services”, large institutions with many layers of middle management find that motivating change and innovation presents a costly challenge. This, however, can be rectified by implementing proper social media management across the company and ensuring that education on the topic is disseminated appropriately.
And there we have it, a few points that financial institutions need to be cognisant of as they enter the digital age. What they should keep in mind is that there is no one-stop solution or technique to engagement – it’s all about speaking to one’s audience on their level in a cohesive and fluid manner. On the other hand, organisations should also continue working internally to ensure that change and social media become more accepted.