As someone who has worked in the UK financial services industry for some time, I’ve often wondered how social media is utilised by UK financial advisory firms and how ‘social’ users actually are.
I often see financial firms’ Twitter profiles and I’m surprised by how little social activity a firm has engaged in. So, what are the motivations for these firms to use social media? At a base level you could break the main reasons down as follows:
- To have additional online channels – the more the merrier
- Communicate to potential and existing clients
- To increase the firm's brand and develop an online presence
- To learn from other IFA firms' successes and failures
- To improve the firm's SEO (search engine optimisation – Google ranking)
- It’s free, so why wouldn’t you?
Should all financial firms jump in and start using social media? It’s easy right? Well, you also have to take into consideration the possible pitfalls:
- Compliance – the FCA produced a document which is a good place to start with regards to do’s and don’ts on financial promotions (read the blog here)
- Potential brand damage from a bad posts, or complaints being in the public eye
- Does your company have a digital strategy and social media guidelines?
Interestingly, Intelliflo produced the findings of their social media surveys where they found an increase in social media use from 58% (2014) to 61% (2015) to 70% (2016). So why do financial advisory firms get involved with social media? The top three answers were:
- Being seen to be keeping up with modern communications systems - 54% (compared to 69% in 2015)
- To attract new clients 62% (up from 59% in 2015)
- To help with SEO - 50% (up from 41% in 2015)
To read the full 2016 social media Intelliflo survey, click here.
It’s important when using social media not to just jump in without having your digital strategy and social media guidelines drawn up first. For firms where there are multiple employees or associates it is important that all parties understand the policy of the company in terms of social media interaction. Setting the policy is something that should be done by the senior executive with overall responsibility for external communications within the firm.
To download your free social media policy tool for advisers, click here.
There are too many pros and cons to cover off in a blog but if done correctly, social media can be a powerful resource.