Posted by : Amanda Stein Friday, December 21, 2012
Arguments that it is a Waste of Time
1. Financial services often does not possess the glitz and glamour that draws the common social media reader to invest their time in visiting a site. The world of financial institutions features too many dull topics and is up against too many entertainment sites.
2. Most internet users have a number of social media outlets and web sites they subscribe to daily. If the tech-savvy financial services customer has a few minutes to spare, it’s likely to check their financial holdings, not your social media site.
3. Maintaining an effective social media presence takes time and an overall investment in creating a voice. This dedication oftentimes starts strong, but wanes quickly. Social media requires participation, which oftentimes is waylaid by the necessity to do actual “work”
4. Because the employees in a financial institution may not have time to commit to a social media initiative, the company might be tempted to hire a social media expert or someone with a background in social marketing. This expenditure may not seem worth the bottom line investment for financially-minded companies because a direct return is not guaranteed.
5. Social media sites are usually blocked in the office atmosphere, therefore blocking the potential of any casual social marketing.
Arguments that it is Worth The Effort
1. Social media is part of an evolving technology that is based on the voice of the customer; the social media channels are less about what the company already provides and should be more about finding out what the customer needs.
2. An identity is a direct link to the events in a person’s life that may be a trigger for the need of financial services. Finding out through a social media connection that there is an engagement or child entering college is information that a financial institution can view as an opportunity to gain a new client.
3. Social media is not restricted to class, race, age or any other perceived social boundary and therefore opens the financial services customer base to clients that may have been potentially looked over.
4. Building a social media presence can be a team building exercise within a financial institution. All the departments have insight on the field to contribute, as well as have a personal and professional social media following. By encouraging everyone to participate in a company blog, for example, the post will reach an exponential number of readers.
5. Social media shifted the control of financial services from the company to customer. Companies are forced to be more open and honest; the customer now expects their financial institution to have an online presence based on actual information from people they can identify with.
I’m more apt to side that a social media strategy for financial services providers is worth the effort. By encouraging the use of social media as a tool for marketing, financial institutions are in the unique position of not necessarily having to be heard, but to engage their ability to listen; they can gain first hand customer information and understand how to gear their services more effectively. By building trust within these online communities, the financial institution is able to find out more about their customers. It takes investment on behalf of the financial institution, but long term investments often pay off bigger.
About the Author: David Wolfskehl is an author, speaker, and consultant for professional service providers and entrepreneurs. He has written and often speaks on the topics of niche business development andbusiness development for accountants and financial services.