Social media platforms are used in virtually every sector and the financial services sector is no different. Whilst many of the general principles of social media marketing hold true, with professional services, there are other considerations. Whilst knowing what to post and when to post is the predicament facing most businesses on social media, for financial services, there are other legislative bodies governing what is actually allowed to be said.
This is all very important to be aware of, especially if you or your firm are branching out into social media marketing.
Social media for financial services
The techniques used by the financial sector to generate sales and leads are similar to those of any business. Depending exactly on the types of finance business you are and who your typical client is, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all likely to be important. If you tend to deal with people with a certain job title within a business, for example, searching these terms on LinkedIn and Twitter will help you identify them. Similarly, if you specialise in certain industries or work with individuals with certain interests, again, both platforms will be useful.
From a brand reputation and awareness point of view, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter will all provide useful channels through which to distribute content tailored to each platform. Utilising Facebook promoted posts and Twitter advertising, creating awareness of your brand, its services, and its ethos will occur quickly.
Staying abreast of news and developments in the financial sector and sharing this with your audience will help show you expertise and interest int he field. Ensuring that your content is value-adding is crucial in building a loyal and engaged audience. You can also compound this by creating your own content through high-quality blogging.
FCA Legislation on social media
The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority, formerly known as FSA) published guidance on social media use by companies as far back as 2010. The FSA were classed as media neutral, meaning that the way you used social media was viewed in the same way you would use a newspaper advertisement. Since then, The FCA has published new guidance on how financial companies should use social media, especially in regards to financial promotions.
If you’re in the financial services sector, we strongly advise you read this document if you’re active on social media.
The FCA have ‘the ability to ban financial products, publish details of misleading financial promotions, and let people know when [they] are taking disciplinary action against a firm.’ This means that your social media marketing must be meticulous in ensuring that descriptions are clear and accurate while compliance teams should ensure that they have vigorous approval procedures in place. There are examples in the guide that provide a good idea of what is and isn’t acceptable.
If you’re familiar with the financial promotions regulations then the guidance will come as no surprise; “be clear and do not mislead consumers” are the main points as well as making consumers aware of potential risks to their capital.
LinkedIn for financial services
LinkedIn is a fantastic lead-generation platform for all businesses and financial services are no different. Regardless of your specific target audience, there are valuable techniques to be used on LinkedIn to find them. If your business typically provides financial services to micro businesses, for example, you’ll tend to deal with the managing director. Finding the MD of micro business on LinkedIn is easy. In fact, if you know the typical job role of the people who are most useful to you as leads, LinkedIn in the place to get them.
Not sure where to start on LinkedIn? Check out our training.
There’s no reason why financial services businesses should not be thriving on social media. The tools are out there to grow a significant network and develop your brand. A number of professional services businesses are wary of social media marketing but this is simply down to a lack of understanding of how useful it can be and how easy it is to make sure everything you post is within the rules.
At the end of the day, the FCA’s main aim is to protect consumers, so, as long as everything you do is in your clients’ best interest you should have no cause for concern.
Make guidelines for employees. This is both from a marketing point of view and from a security and legislative point of view. Get some expert social media training, if necessary.
Make sure you have a company LinkedIn page, Facebook page and Twitter account and make sure they’re optimised in terms of branding and company information.