Financial firms often feel conflicted about social media marketing.
On the one hand, they instinctively see the power of social media to reach new prospects and generate new business opportunities. On the other, however, social media seems like a lot of effort with no guarantee of results.
This is why a social media strategy is needed. This helps determine whether social media is appropriate for your marketing, which channel(s) might be best suited for your audience and what kind (and volume) of content is needed to achieve your goals.
In this post, our team offers some ideas on how financial firms can craft an effective social media strategy – one which makes effective use of great content. We hope this is useful and invite you to browse our content library if you’d like resources for your own marketing.
Choose viable goals
What are you looking to achieve with your social media marketing? Many people have great, (frankly) unrealistic dreams of building a huge following and becoming an “influencer”.
Reaching this lofty goal, however, involves great deal of time and effort – along with a great deal of creativity and discipline. Most financial firms will not be able to devote themselves to this, and need to bring their goals in line with what they can achieve.
Remember to use the acronym “SMART” to set your social media goals. For instance, perhaps you could aim to grow your social media followers to 2,000 in the next 12 months. Another goal might be to generate a 2% private message rate from your followers.
Plan & audit your content
Each social media platform lends itself to a particular type of content. Instagram, of course, is more suitable to images, photos, infographics and short videos. LinkedIn and Facebook, however, offer publishers the chance to post longer-form, text-based content for their followers. As such, posting lots of PDF guides on your Instagram or Pinterest accounts may not be the most effective strategy.
An important step here is to audit the content already on your social media platforms. Does anything appear on there which is inconsistent with your brand, or which might hurt it (e.g. due to people misinterpreting a post). It will also be useful to unearth posts which performed well. What defined these particular posts? Was it the length or the format of the content? Was it the subject matter?
A useful tool to consider for this process is Sprout Social. Its “Report Builder” function allows you to create a high-level view of your social media content, how it performed and gain insights about what content might be suitable going forwards.
There is often a disconnect between the posts that financial firms expect to do well, and those which actually do perform. In which case, be sure to examine the tone of voice and language you use in these posts. It may be that you have wandered away from your brand’s true voice in these cases, and need to bring things back into focus.
Craft a content calendar
With a clearer picture now in your mind about what works with your target audience, it’s time to start planning your content going forwards. Here, a content calendar can be useful. This plans out the content you intend to publish over the coming weeks and months.
The frequency on your intended publishing will depend partly on the social media platform in question. Some – like LinkedIn and Facebook – are less labour-intensive and so may only require a post once or twice per week. Others like Twitter require multiple posts per day in order to build momentum and gain results.
Here, be careful not to assume that you need to create content for each post. Indeed, there may be old content on your accounts that you can re-purpose (e.g. converting some old articles into an infographic or PDF guide). Keep best practice in mind when deciding on the time of day to publish, which will vary depending on your audience and the platform in question.
Plan your promotion
Gone are the days when you could simply publish content on your social media profiles and expect lots of followers to find it naturally. In 2021, you need to “pay to play” on the vast majority of these platforms – such as spending money to “boost a post” or promote it using the platform’s in-build ad system (E.g. Facebook Ads).
You can help your efforts here by including social media buttons on your email signatures, newsletters and website posts (blogs). This will help encourage people to follow your page and see more of your content when they are “killing time” on social media. Ideally, you want to try and aim for users on the platform(s) to share the content you post. This is because these “shares” are likely to appear prominently in the timelines/newsfeeds of these users’ online friends (or followers).
Measurement is key
To give your social media content marketing the best chance of success, financial firms need to apply their aptitude for measurement. This means tracking key metrics on a regular basis to make sure things are moving in the right direction – such as followers, likes and mentions. Here, it will help immensely to have a dedicated “dashboard tool” to help bring all of this information together clearly.
You might also want to set “alerts” for when key metrics are achieved – or when performance slides noticeably. This gives you the chance to evaluate, set new goals and steer things in a more optimal direction.