Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Financial Services Connect To Their Audiences With Social Media

Financial services firms face specific challenges when it comes to social media. Between being heavily regulated and meeting client confidentiality objectives, they may seem unlikely users of tools designed to broadcast information and invite dialog. However, financial services firms are embracing social media tools to their great advantage. If you are in financial services and have considered yourself out of the running for expanding your web presence through social media, perhaps the following example will inspire you. It may make you re-think your approach.
I first learned about OpenView VenturePartners from Social Media Examiner which highlighted the Boston venture capital firm in one of their blog posts about creative social media marketing. I watched their video of “OpenView in 60 Seconds” and I was impressed! I mentioned it in a previous blog post about adding YouTube videos to the social media mix. In the OpenView video, Managing Partner, Scott Maxwell, sums up his firm’s focus and gives his personalized view of his involvement in less than 2 minutes. The video lives in a library of other OpenView topical videos on YouTube. They obviously understand the impact of personalizing their business, delivering a crisp, creative message and catching viewers’ attention with insightful, low-commitment video productions.

OpenView’s lively website offers links to a number of social media tools (Google Currents, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and an RSS Feed). Take a look at their Facebook Page to understand how a financial services firm can present a creative social presence without violating any regulations or client confidentiality. Their topics are ones any financial services firm can use to personalize their business -- attracting an audience and keeping them there with upbeat updates. The topics they cover include:
  • internal happenings such as rites of Spring and employee promotions
  • sharing links to other creative marketing ideas
  • offering thanks for media coverage they received
  • reporting on events in which they recently participated
  • updating an album called “Faces of OpenView” with pictures of employees at work and play
  • tips on how they keep their own creative juices flowing
  • fun things they discover along their own business journey

Announcing new clients and showcasing events they sponsor are about the only ways they directly report their business operations. The rest of the time, their Facebook Page focuses on providing a deeper understanding of the people who make the company hum. They allow their public to get to know their employees’ interests outside of OpenView, attaching a very human quality to a business.
Last month, Financial Times reported that financial services firms are embracing social media, a trend in line with the industry’s tendency to be on the cutting edge of technology (Financial Times, April 15, 2012: Financial Services Firms Embrace Social Media). FT references a study prepared by Corporate Insight who surveyed 90 financial services firms about their Facebook and Twitter use. Corporate Insight confirms the importance of connecting with targeted audiences on a personal level, through social media (For the whole article, click here to register with FT for free).

The use of social media by financial services companies has increased substantially over the past few years, with great results for firms who have incorporated it thoughtfully into their marketing strategy. Revisit social media’s role in your financial services firm, especially if it is not already part of your marketing strategy. With some creativity, you could be cultivating a community of followers which could grow your business!

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