Financial Services social media campaigns are rare…
The US may be leading the charge but here in the UK, there’s still a great reluctance to step foot into this world for a variety of reasons: ‘viral’ scare stories, lack of understanding, the slow-moving beast that is ‘compliance’, the worry that promotional social activity will actually reflect badly on the institution if equities/funds/bonds were to fail in the future and of course, that traditional hard-to-quantify concept: how does PR – social media or otherwise – actually generate revenue?
However, one area of activity that does allow fund managers and financial institutions to dip their toes in the waters of social media is around the well-trodden path of sponsorship.
Here is a marketing route that has always allowed financial institutions to put their head over the parapet in the real world and expose their brand to millions of eyeballs through association with the non-controversial world of arts, sports and events sponsorship.
While we assume events espouse the brand values of a financial institution in some way (answers on a postcard please!), what is handy is that events and social media have historically sat very well together: events can be promoted online, the real-world activity helps drive traffic and most importantly, it facilitates and generates content, both ‘branded’ and naturally generated by real users attending the events.
And content in the digital world keeps things moving by interaction and excitement – just think how a sporting event has the potential to mobilise people.
But what’s so vital for a financial services business is that events allow them to facilitate conversation without opening the door to all those tricky issues mentioned above.
Any longterm social media advisor worth their salt will always advise clients that the worst thing you can do in this space – except for a very few lucky passion subjects and even then it’s questionable – is to ‘sell’.
The idea is to create a space users will enjoy and engage in so much so that they’ll eventually feel so great about you that they’ll visit your website because they’re hot for your boring old message. It’s about building trust and connecting with people, well… socially.
In theory, that’s a big old box ticked but even so, there are still things to think about:
- Financial companies should associate with events that reflect their brand values and ethos not ‘just because’.
- How to ensure sponsorship isn’t just a ‘naming’ exercise, ie, how to make your brand presence known without being totally overshadowed by the event?
- Not all events run across a year but social media does, so the challenge is to extend the engagement 24/7.
- Content should be strategized and planned to ensure financial services get maximum coverage and indeed value out of associations.
- This approach requires editorial skills commissioning, editing, distributing, managing and moderating content.
- And of course, those all important kpi’s: what does success look like?
The original piece was written for This Is Embrace.