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 Chuck Schaeffer Social Marketing Strategies For Financial Services

 

How Financial Services Leaders Are Making Social Business Profitable Business

A social business is simply a business that leverages social media for communication and collaboration. But even with such a simple description, becoming social is often quite hard and prone to error for financial services firms.

For example, many financial services institutions view social media as just another communication channel to broadcast unfocused marketing messages to customers that find them annoying. Distributing unwanted content is spam, and pretty much the opposite of being social. Remember, social media is about evolving from push-based monologue broadcasts to two way dialogues and conversations. If your social strategy is not designed to generate feedback, engagement and conversation, it's not going to work. For most FSIs, becoming social is a cultural shift to engage customers in an open, transparent and public environment.

Social Marketing Campaigns

Social campaigns tend to be less about selling financial services products and services and more about selling the brand and growing customer relationships. Goals should be directed to personalize or humanize the brand so that customers engage and relationships evolve. Social media is not the place to post your four color glossy brochure but instead to publish behind the scenes casual moments, real life customer encounters or just things that real people relate to.

The best social campaigns facilitate user generated content, thereby, getting customers to create and distribute the message. When consumers post pictures of themselves in your bank, hashtag your financial product or call out a teller in your organization, they are delivering the single best form of advertising – word of mouth – that money can't buy. But unlike physical word of mouth promotion, this digital advocacy scales across social spheres, geographies and time zones and has a much greater durability than spoken words.

Because consumers readily spread non-social content over social channels, social media can also be used to track the effectiveness, reach and engagement of traditional marketing campaigns. Measuring marketing and advertising reach via social posts, tweets, Likes, +1s and blog comments delivers a window to view how consumers engage and respond in real-time and over time. This immediate measurement can be used to adjust campaigns based on live responses and while such course corrections may still impact performance results.

Friends do not approach friends to pitch products and this is why most product-oriented social marketing campaigns perform poorly. The typical social media spray and pray approach is a proven money loser. Standalone ads on social networks deliver disappointing results — generally achieving conversions of .05-1% as compared to 2-3% for search and 3.5-4.5% for email. However, when social ads are targeted to known or anonymous visitors that have previously visited your website, deliver relevant offers as part of a broader nurture marketing campaign and take a soft sell brand approach, the conversion rates increase exponentially.

A good example of this is the Facebook Exchange (FBX) Custom Audiences program which enables marketers to deliver contextual social ads to existing customers. Financial services firms can export customer lists from their CRM systems to the FBX so that FSI customers see their branding or offers in their social networks.

FSIs can also target anonymous visitors with social ads that reflect the financial services brand, products or services that were reviewed on the FSIs website. By capturing website visitor digital footprints using your marketing automation system or by placing a pixel on any given webpage the FSI can then use the FBX to link more relevant offers to the anonymous visitors' social network accounts. The result is that the anonymous visitors will see your brand, or content related to the particular products they checked out on your website, in their news feed or right column ad display. This social marketing technique is not the same as search engine retargeting which is dependent upon search results pages and Google Ads.

When a customer goes to your website to check you out, but doesn’t register or engage, each additional relevant display of your company and offer increases CTRs (click through rates) and the likelihood the customer will ultimately engage. I've used these techniques many times and they have consistently acquired high value leads for a low cost per lead.

Influencer marketing is another social marketing technique.

Influencers, key opinion leaders (KOLs) and thought leaders are social by nature. Social marketing strategies which apply social tools to identify social influencers and then engage these opinion leaders for relationship building can achieve a multiplier effect in terms of audience reach and a credibility upshot from the influencers implied or expressed endorsements. Based on good relationships and shared content, these influential people can comment on your message or extend your content through their high volume channels to dramatically increase reach.

Make no mistake, your customers are social and engaged in social networks. This trend shows no signs of abating. So if you wish to engage new prospects and existing customers, you will need to meet them where they communicate. Waiting for them to come to your communication channels is an open invitation for one of your more forward thinking competitors to engage your customers while you sit on the sidelines oblivious to the customer churn taking place around you.

Next: Social Service for Financial Services Institutions >>

Financial Services Social StrategyFinancial Services Social SellingFinancial Services Social MarketingFinancial Services Social SellingFinancial Services Social ProductsFinancial Services Reputation Management

 

 

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Your customers are social. If you wish to engage new prospects and existing customers, you will need to meet them where they communicate.

 

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