Despite the industry’s old school tendencies, the use of social media in financial services organizations is no longer an option. According to research from Medium, at least 98% of all Fortune 500 companies use at least one form of social media.
At the advisor level, Putnam Retail Management found 84% use social media for the finance industry business. Ninety-two percent of them said social media has helped them gain new clients.
The average asset gain for financial advisors using social media was $1.4 million in the 12 months before the Putnam survey. The most effective advisors using social media in financial services increased assets under management by 10% in just a year.
Is your financial services organization using social media effectively? If not, you’re losing business to your competitors.
Of course, finding new clients is not the only benefit of social media. And at the same time, there can be plenty of challenges to using social media in a regulated industry. Here’s everything you need to know about developing a social media strategy for financial services in 2020.
1. Focus on compliance
FINRA, FCA, FFIEC, IIROC, SEC, PCI, AMF, GDPR—all the compliance requirements can make your head spin. Many advisors and agents now work remotely. It’s critical to have compliance processes and tools to guide their use of social media.
Get your compliance team involved as you develop your social media strategy. They’ll have important guidance on the steps you need to take to protect your brand.
For example, they can explain separating personal and business use of social media. They should also weigh in on what kinds of links advisors share.
It’s also important to have the right chain of approvals in place for all social media posts. For example, FINRA states: “A registered principal must review prior to use any social media site that an associated person intends to use for business.”
2. Archive everything
This falls under compliance, but it’s important enough that it’s worth calling out on its own. According to FINRA, “firms and their registered representatives must retain records of communications related to their “‘business as such.’” Those records must be kept for at least three years.
3. Conduct a social media audit
In a social media audit, you document all your company’s social channels in one place. You also note any key information relevant to each. At the same time, you will hunt down any impostor or unofficial accounts so you can have those shut down.
Start by listing all the accounts your internal team uses regularly. But remember—this is just a starting point. You’ll need to look for old or abandoned accounts and department-specific accounts.
While you’re at it, make note of the social platforms where you don’t have any social accounts. It might be time to register profiles there. Even if you’re not ready to use those tools yet, you might want to reserve your brand handles for future use.
SIX is a Swiss finance company. When they conducted a social media audit, they discovered 80 unofficial social media accounts. Among them were dozens of fake accounts on Facebook. Fake accounts create a significant risk for financial companies and can erode public trust.
4. Implement a social media policy
A social media policy is a living document. It guides social media use within your organization. That includes accounts for your advisors and agents.
Your compliance, legal, IT, information security, human resources, public relations, and marketing teams should all have input into this document. It will help you maintain a consistent brand identity while reducing compliance challenges.
It will also define team roles and approval structures so everyone understands the workflow of a social post. This clarity upfront can help reduce frustrations that social media in financial services might not move as quickly as it does in other industries.
Using social media for finance industry purposes can also come with security risks. Be sure to include a section in your social media policy that outlines security protocols for the less-sexy aspects of social media. For example, prescribe how often to change passwords and how often software should be updated.
5. Commit to doing it right
The Putnam survey found that an active presence is a critical component of a social media marketing strategy for financial service accounts. Simply creating a social profile is not enough. Zero percent of the advisors who have only a passive presence on social media gained new assets through social channels.
Compare that to the highest achievers. They brought in average new assets under management of $15.3 million. Eighty percent of those high achievers pay for a premium level of service on a social network, rather than sticking only to free tools.
Training is also an important factor. The high-achieving advisors were much more likely to have received training. They learned from colleagues or a consultant, rather than figuring out how to use social tools by themselves.
Don’t you think you need training? Consider that 61% of those Putnam surveyed identified themselves as social media experts. However, Putnam found only 15% of them really were.
And when you’re ready to take your social strategy to the next level, we have the tools to help!