social media marketing for financial services Photo by David Marcu

Social Media Marketing for Financial Services

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Financial companies, which may have gotten into social media a little slowly because of their conservative nature, have learned that they can see great results with social media marketing.

We love using social media marketing for B2B brands in every industry and we’re not the only ones who believe it’s an effective way to promote B2B financial products and services. “Social media is one of the more efficient channels that builds brand affinity, because it puts information where people want to find it,” says Hunter Ricks from Lincoln Financial.

Here’s a short guide to using social media marketing for financial services.

Know the Rules

Some financial companies avoid social media entirely because there’s so much confusion around compliance regulations, says Jay Berkman of the JLC Group, a marketing and PR company that works with financial clients. To play it safe, some firms use social media only to talk about other initiatives at their organizations — philanthropy and goodwill initiatives, research and so on.

Show Your Value

As with all content marketing, social media marketing is about the value you offer to your audience. That doesn’t mean regurgitating your sales brochure point by point on Twitter. Instead, share articles that help people make important financial decisions they may be facing or tips on saving.

“We don’t talk about products,” Ricks says, adding that that’s his company’s most important point when it comes to social media marketing. Instead, Lincoln Financial aims to educate B2B clients, such as brokers or advisers, about planning for retirement, what happens to investments and taxes when people get married, and other financial concerns that affect the consumers they’re selling the company’s products to.

Make Connections

Amanda Morten is the marketing coordinator at Missouri Bank. Its customers include what she says is an “amazing community of entrepreneurs, artists, innovators, movers, shakers, makers, dreamers and doers.” The bank uses social media to tell its customers stories and keep the small business community informed about opportunities as well, Morten says, building and supporting relationships. “We like to foster conversations about what they’re doing and topics they’re interested in.”

Engage, Don’t Sell

Rather than trying to inspire people to buy products, Ricks says Lincoln Financial targets audiences with social media content who are likely to share it. “We’ve seen that people are more likely to trust financial information from friends and families rather than an adviser,” he says.
Morten agrees. “Social media is about interacting with your audience, not talking at them,” she says, adding that customers often engage with the company on social media to talk about good customer service experiences they’ve had.

Separate B2B and B2C

Financial organizations that serve both B2B and B2C audiences should keep their content streams separate, Ricks says. While Lincoln Financial uses the same statistics and research to generate content for all of its channels, it does target the different audiences through different Twitter and Facebook feeds. Lincoln Financial Distributors, for example, is director more about wholesalers of Lincoln Financial products.

Have Some Fun

Because social media is a little more casual, some financial organizations use it to make their content more human and interesting. Morten says Missouri Bank uses social media to share some of the funny things that go on around the bank, such pictures from its zombie prom-themed employee party. “We like to keep it light, fun and fresh.”

Watch Your Metrics

Monitoring your metrics is key for success, Berkman says. Companies that pay attention to who’s visiting their sites, where those visitors come from and whether they open accounts or call a financial adviser are the ones that are using social media strategically.

Mary Ellen Slayter is CEO of Rep Cap. Before creating her own content marketing firm, she served as director of content development and a senior general business and finance editor at SmartBrief, a leading publisher of e-mail newsletters. Before joining SmartBrief, she spent 8 years at The Washington Post, where she authored the Career Track column and worked as an editor in the business news department. You can find Mary Ellen on Twitter @MESlayter.

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