The report, which analyzes social media use for lead generation, customer retention, and corporate and personal branding, found that although suggested content published by advisors and field agents fell slightly, engagement rates increased steadily.
This would suggest that advisors and agents are focusing on specific content that is more targeted to the nature of their clientele, according to the report.
The study found that the types of content published by sales professionals closely mirrored recommendations from marketing, a noticeable shift from last year’s report.
It cited as an example the life and property and casualty insurance industries, where high customer retention rates are essential to sustained premium growth. The gap between suggested and published content narrowed to less than 3%, compared with gaps ranging from 8.4% to 18.2% in the 2018 study.
Hearsay noted that close alignment between marketing and sales professionals has led to more cohesive, balanced social media programs with better results overall.
The study also found that not only did the amount of total published content increase, but customer engagement also drew closer to nearly half of all published posts. The average engagement rate across the financial services industry was 44.7%, compared with 37.8% last year.
This suggests that teams are becoming savvier and leveraging quality, well-rounded content that appeals to target audiences while working in concert with overall corporate objectives, according to Hearsay.
The study showed that lifestyle posts yielded an 85.5% rate of engagement, nearly twice the rate recorded in the 2018 study. This year, engagement shot up even as the percentage of suggested and published lifestyle content went down.
Lifestyle posts represented only 12.3% of the total content published, but received high engagement rates, suggesting, Hearsay said, that consumers appreciate authentic, less overt content. It noted that although sales representatives seem not to want to rely too heavily on lifestyle content, it is a highly strategic tool for cultivating new leads and customer relationships.
While lifestyle content boasted the highest level of engagement overall, corporate-related content dominated in terms of sheer quantity of suggested and published posts, according to the study. This category accounted for 34.6% of suggested content and 29.2% of published content.
Hearsay attributed higher rates of recommended and published corporate and industry content to the personal and name brand trust that is an essential part of the financial services industry.
For the first time this year, Hearsay tracked hybrid content, and found that it showed great potential because it allows teams to take a soft-sell approach. Twenty-one percent of suggested content and 29.1% of published content fell into the corporate-industry hybrid category.