No sector of the economy has more to gain from social media than financial services. Globally, about a third of people are unbanked. Bringing more people into the financial system starts with community outreach.
Though initially shy to adopt social strategies due to regulatory concerns, banks and non-traditional financial institutions are realizing these platforms’ value. Here’s how they’re leveraging social media to build relationships, add value, and bring in new customers:
Giving Expert Advice
Not long ago, getting professional financial advice meant booking an appointment with a financial counselor. These days, it’s as simple as logging onto Facebook or Twitter.
Financial advice can be shared in many forms. Brokerages like Vanguard regularly post long-form market analyses, while startup financial services often tend toward bite-sized savings tips. Life insurer Penn Mutual often shares interviews with company leaders to make financial experts more accessible.
The good news is, there’s no “wrong” answer when it comes to deciding what advice to share. Start with a few quotes from a leader in your company designed to build trust with customers. From there, develop a content strategy that seeks to add value with market insights. Once that trust is built, expect customers to reach out asking for more personalized advice.
Hosting Q&A Sessions
If you’re a bank or online lender, how do you decide who gets a loan? If you’re in the investment space, what’s the right investing strategy for a new college grad? And just how much sense does it make to sink your savings into precious metals?
Finance is one area where many people want to learn more. By opening yourself up to users’ questions, you humanize your brand while helping to educate your customers. And the more customers know about financial services, the more likely they are to use them.
One example is CoinMetro, a cryptocurrency exchange company. On its LinkedIn account, CoinMetro hosts regular AMAs (Ask Me Anything) in which users ask about everything from how Bitcoins are mined to which cryptocurrency will be the next big winner.
Once you’ve identified topics to cover, find experts within your company who can speak to each and turn over your account to them. Twitter is often the best place for these chats, as conversations can be grouped under specific hashtags. This allows customers who may not have followed the chat live still read content that may be valuable to them.
Offering Exclusive Deals
You want to entice your customers to follow you on social media. One way to do that is to offer deals that they won’t be able to find anywhere else.
The good news is, you don’t have to break the bank to do this. Something as small as a fee waiver can go a long way toward getting people to click. You could also go the route of American Express, which allows customers to securely link their cards to their social media accounts. Then, those customers can receive discounts based on their activity online.
Another good option is to leverage partnerships. Say your company has invested in a new restaurant chain. Perhaps every user who “likes” the restaurant’s Facebook page is eligible for a free ice cream.
Making it Fun
Fairly or not, financial services companies aren’t known as the most exciting businesses on the block. Why not show your company’s fun side on social media?
For this approach, turn to your member base and host a contest that encourages interaction. Take, for example, Chime’s #MyChimeCard challenge. Members were encouraged to customize their debit card and share a photo on Instagram. Winners were chosen based on originality, creativity, composition and quality.
Here, guest-contributed content also plays the biggest role. Give shout outs to members by sharing funny and interesting submissions. Although you should certainly be active on your own social media pages, nobody wants to listen to a brand talk about itself all of the time.
With this strategy, it’s important to be positive and inclusive. Make sure shared content represents a group of diverse backgrounds, races, and genders. Use lighthearted, G-rated humor that everyone can appreciate.
Conducting Customer Service
Nearly half of consumers say that social media is one of the first places they look for customer support. Whether you solicit them or not, expect customers to reach out with questions and service requests.
Ask customers to use direct messages, rather than public posts, when making inquiries to avoid disclosing sensitive financial data. Point them toward your FAQ page for commonly asked questions, such as your business hours or types of available accounts. Promptly post notifications about things like website maintenance to cool customers’ frustrations.
To ensure speedy service, dedicate a portion of your customer service staff to your social media channels. Pair service personnel up, with one person playing the customer and the other person conducting customer service, to train them on appropriate communication.
These days, social media isn’t just for cat memes and political rants. Financial services companies are finding new ways to connect with their customers, from sharing heartfelt stories to giving expert advice. What better way to build trust with current and future customers than by getting to know them online?