Social media is becoming an important part of many people’s lives. It helps us stay connected to friends, keep updated with news and interact with brands. And although some of us hate to admit it, financial services are also a key aspect of our lives; used every day for one reason or another. So why are the two not widely perceived as compatible? Why are financial service brands not using social media to its full potential, and does it really matter that they’re not?
In short, it does matter. According to Ian Morgan, Google UK’s Head of Financial Services, almost half the adult population used the internet to research or purchase financial services last year. With such a high proportion of adults using the internet for this purpose, financial service brands may be missing a trick if they’re not engaging through social media. As a channel for multidimensional, real-time communication, social media can engage consumers and answer their specific queries about products and services. It also allows companies to understand their customers on more personal levels, and deliver more relevant products to them.
How can financial services use social media?
Financial services is a highly regulated industry, and although social media is such a transparent platform, the FSA wants to monitor what financial brands are saying on social platforms, and how they’re using them.
Customer service and product promotions are two key ways for any brand to use social media, but believe it or not, financial service brands can go beyond this. Capital One is a great example; having used online game, FarmVille, to market the brand, and having over 2.5 million “Likes” on Facebook, they’re arguably one of the best financial brands using social media. In addition to customer service and product promotion, Capital One’s Facebook page allows customers to generate their own content and reviews, and encourages a ‘community’ to develop by allowing customers to comment on each other’s stories.
In contrast, their Twitter feed, managed by trained customer service representatives, seems to be where they encourage customers to go for customer service:
Although starting each day with the same message may seem repetitive and irritate some followers, it acts as a great reminder to customers that they can use Twitter to engage with the brand and have their customer service queries answered, while simultaneously assuring them that it’s safe and secure to do so. Furthermore, it addresses the FSA’s requirement to place disclaimers and risk warnings on communications. If that wasn’t reassuring enough, within the Twitter bio, Capital One leads customers to their social media policy, rather than their own website. Opting to reassure customers about their rules for social media engagement, rather directly linking to their company website may for some brands seem a missed marketing opportunity. However, for financial services where customers are cautious about engaging on social media through risk of sensitive data being divulged, it’s a good move.
Would you engage with your financial service provider on social media, or do you think it’s insecure, or an inappropriate platform for financial services?