It’s hard to underestimate the impact that social media has had on the world of business. From curry houses to house painters, it seems like everyone and their dog now has a social media presence of some kind. That could be an active Facebook profile with hundreds of ‘fans’ interacting each day, or it could be a near-devoid Twitter account with just one or two tweets a month. In any case, it’s clear that social media is here to stay. But while it may come naturally for a clothes designer or skateboard manufacturer, judging the value of social media can be tricky for those in more established areas like financial services. So the question then has to be, for companies who are in the financial industry – what’s the point of social media?
If you’ve been trying to weigh the pros and cons of getting social, there’s a good chance that one or more of your clients has asked you the question already. Beyond the more obvious uses for social media (as a customer service channel, for example), why should they be investing their time into sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and even Instagram? There are some answers which may jump instantly to mind: increased customer engagement, boosted brand recognition, and so on. All of these factors are important and can, cumulatively, lead to an increase in your financial service company’s core metrics – but can social media offer any measurable benefit? The answer to this one, it seems, may be completely subjective.
Getting Going - Try a Trial
The catch-22 faced by financial service institutions is this: in order to know the value of social media, they must first try it out. But not having tried it out, they can’t be sure it’ll be worth their time. Quite the dilemma! The answer, then, is simply that in order to know whether or not social media is right for you, you need to run trials. Perhaps start with a small presence, choose a number of metrics to track (new customers, returning customers, etc.) and judge whether or not there has been a positive uplift in these metrics over your chosen period. In this way, financial services companies will be able to get their feet wet without having to dive head-first into the murky waters of the social explosion.
Your Network Can Work For You
There are plenty of inevitable business benefits from conducting social media activities. But a stumbling block to getting started for some maybe resourcing. Given the right steps, your social networks can actually perform some of your business functions for you. Connecting with influencers in your space by first identifying them and then figuring out what content they want (via a survey, for example) can lead to them selling your content and your services well beyond your own reach.
Get Specialized Help
While it’s important to get the steps right before starting there’s also a real element of learning on the job when it comes to social. With the constant threat of falling foul of the inevitable regulation in financial services there are always specialist financial PR companies to help you dig you out!
Tim Aldiss writes on behalf of Broadgate Mainland, financial services PR experts