Archive for the ‘James Lubbock’ Category.

The challenges of using social media in the financial services industry

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Challenges for financial services in social mediaThere are unique challenges when working with financial brands when developing their social media strategy and implementing it. Concerns over falling foul of industry regulations, lack of experience in social and existing company culture all combine to present a number of hurdles at the outset. However, once these are overcome, there is also a huge opportunity to stand out from the crowd, by taking advantage of the industry’s generally slow take up of social media.

In order to successfully guide a financial services company through this journey, a number of activities need to be put in place first. Here are four things every financial business needs to do in order to become a successful digital leader in the industry:

  1. Lay solid foundations in social media internally
    It is important to educate staff on all aspects of social media – the business value it can deliver, why it is so important for the industry, how to engage in it, the risks associated with it, setting up a governance structure to manage the activity and how to act in a crisis situation. In a nutshell, it’s about enabling staff to confidently become involved while at the same time doing it in a way that protects the brand.

  2. Define an effective social media channel strategy
    How the business engages with its audience is one of the key factors in the success of its social media activity. Among other things, all social channels should contribute to business strategy and objectives, there should be a clear, coherent content plan for each channel and every channel should have a clear primary marketing objective.

  3. Implement a change management programme
    Attitudes towards social media amongst staff are understandably often focussed on the risks and dangers of becoming involved. While these are valid concerns, it is important to educate staff these risks can be managed and controlled, while the benefits are significant and can deliver the business real value if done in the right way. A programme dedicated to changing attitudes and educating on what’s possible is another crucial piece of the jigsaw.

  4. Be clear on how FSA regulations affect social media activity
    While FSA rules are media neutral, thought and consideration still needs to be applied to how this affects the business’ social media policy. Clear guidelines on what staff can and can’t do needs to be accurately defined and then communicated effectively across the organisation, in order to mitigate this risk to the business.

If you’re a financial services company and are considering increasing your social media activity, make sure you consider all the factors above. At first it may feel a bit scary, but I assure you it’s well worth the initial effort!

Photo credit: morebyless on Flickr

Developing a great social media channel strategy

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Which social channel to use in your strategy?When working with a brand to help define its social media strategy, a crucial area to get right is how it should engage with its online audience.

I’d define a social media channel strategy as a process that outlines what social media channels the business should use, and the purpose for each channel based on predefined business objectives.

What should your social channel strategy include?

From my experience, the top five things that make a great social media channel strategy are:

  1. All social channels contribute to the business strategy and objectives
  2. The strategy considers the available resources to effectively manage these channels
  3. It confirms that there is sufficient audience demand for each channel to make it a success
  4. There’s a clear, coherent content plan for each channel
  5. Every channel has a clear primary marketing objective

Why is it so important?

Getting the social media channel strategy right for a brand is crucial as it will help them support their key marketing objectives. As there are so many potential channels and ways in which they can be used, an in depth analysis of what we want to talk about and why is also key, so that the most effective channels can be chosen.

It also offers an opportunity to have a two way dialogue with your audience, which provides insight, stronger relationships and brand advocacy. At the same time, brands can be faced with real risk if a channel strategy is not implemented correctly or with a properly thought out direction. If a PR event occurs (either positive or negative), social media will often magnify this sentiment accordingly in a very short space of time, so it’s also important to get in place a social media policy that sets guidelines around a reaction and response strategy and a crisis escalation plan.
If you’re a brand and want to expand your social media activity, make sure you have a clear, coherent channel strategy – it might just be the missing piece in your marketing jigsaw that will help you achieve real results.
Image credit: HarcoRutgers on Flickr