Social media activity, which has become a critical component of financial professionals’ repertoire, has taken on a new level of importance amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Hearsay Systems’ third annual Financial Services Social Media Content Study, released Tuesday.
Representatives of financial services firms seek to communicate important information to clients and prospects, and to share knowledge, opportunities and recognition of people doing extraordinary things within their communities.
“This year’s report clearly shows the impact of social media across the financial services landscape,” Clara Shih, founder and chief executive of Hearsay Systems, said in a statement. “Social is no longer an experiment, or a nice to have, but a critical component of customer acquisition and retention.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, social media use has become even more compelling as advisors and agents seek to reassure clients and offer assistance amid market turmoil, potential job losses and a global health crisis.”
For its study, Hearsay aggregated data from 54 leading U.S. ﬁnancial services ﬁrms — in the wealth management, property and casualty insurance, life insurance and mortgage industries — and their cumulative 173,000 advisors and agents who used the Hearsay Social platform during 2019.
In all, researchers analyzed some 18 million published social media posts, which garnered more than 23 million engagements across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
Authentic and Personal Content
The study found that authentic and personal content written by local advisors and agents showed 10 times more engagement than content suggested by corporate marketing, underscoring, it said, the power of advisors’ personal connection to their community.
In wealth management, for example, advisor posts about general lifestyle topics, such as holidays or health, performed exceptionally well. Life insurance experienced engagement spikes with corporate branded content posts, such as a local corporate charity event.
However, not all financial organizations allow customization because of regulatory requirements. As a workaround and to reap benefits of increased engagement, firms have adopted compliance solutions that enable supervisors to approve or revise individuals’ posts in a matter of seconds.
“What we found is that program administrators should be encouraging agents and advisors to create original content by sharing the engagement data in training and coaching sessions, collecting and sharing great examples from colleagues, and having advisors follow one another for inspiration,” Shih said.
By way of example, Shih said administrators of Hearsay Social use its “mad-libs” feature, which allows corporate marketers to provide templates that give a starting idea, a sample of the content, and then require customization. Marketers might, say, provide a Happy Father’s Day message and ask advisors to add their own father’s name and upload a photo to personalize the post.
“Users have found this is an easy, highly effective way to encourage original content,” she said.
According to Hearsay, automated campaigns have become a staple of successful programs because they blend consistency in message and cadence with minimal effort from the field.