We know. Consolidating your company’s message into 140 characters 3x per day isn’t what you signed up for. But it’s 2017, and resistance is futile. Time to figure out how it’s done.
By now, most companies have realized that, for better or worse, social media is here to stay. Yes, that includes even the most traditional finserv providers (Estate Planning, we’re looking at you).
But many clients are unclear as to where to start. Literally. Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? Instagram? Plus, they have no idea what to say, when to say it, and how often to say it. And don’t even get us started on #hashtags.
To help you out, here’s our quick guide to the social media universe, written with the financial services professional in mind.
Depending on the demographic of your audience, Facebook can be a very effective tool to help define your brand voice and bring warmth and personality to your brand, especially if you are targeting families (rather than B2B).
Use it for:
- Office updates — new office, new staff, change of hours, holiday notices, office closures, etc.
- Friendly/humorous updates that reflect your brand’s personality: happy holidays, industry jokes, office dog pictures (be sparing!) etc.
- General interest news articles relating to any of your areas of your industry. Save the political statements for your personal feed. Instead, think of yourself as an expert being asked to “weigh in” to a news story. If you can bring it back to why this shows the importance of your industry/company/product/services — even better
- Notices of professional involvement or awards — conferences, talks you’re going to or giving, etc
- Philanthropic causes you or your team supports
- Any promotions
- Links to blog postings
- Hiring ads
LinkedIn is geared to professional updates and industry news. Post accordingly or risk annoying your followers.
In general, use LinkedIn for:
- Major office updates (new location, addition of new team members)
- Specific news articles relating to your company’s area of expertise or major industry changes (e.g. regulatory rules)
- Commentary (you can publish short articles on LinkedIn if your website does not have a blog)
- Notices of professional accolades, conferences, trade shows
- Links to blog posting
- Hiring ads
On the whole, Twitter is more “newsy” — someone once described it as people yelling at each other about the news. In terms of your marketing strategy, however, we like to think of it as your daily, curated commentary on your industry.
Use Twitter for everything you would post on Facebook or LinkedIn, but remember that you have to be clever with your wording to say what you need to in 140 characters.
When posting news articles, think of the pithiest insight you can offer. Avoid posting articles or retweeting without any commentary and always include something visual (photo, video, GIF, etc.).
The key thing to remember about Twitter is that it is the most ephemeral of the three — Twitter feeds are long, and it’s unlikely every tweet will be read. For that reason, you can always reuse tweets (within reason) — and you can be a little more experimental.
Hashtags help users find the content that is relevant to them and ensures your posting will be read by an audience larger than your follower count. So it makes sense to incorporate hashtags for broad subjects (#fiduciaryrule), business concepts (#productivity) and industries (#wealthmanagement). Try to incorporate hashtags as seamlessly as possible. #But #don’t #hashtag #your #entire #post! #becausethatsannoying
Unless you are marketing to a very particular demographic (especially millennials), Instagram, SnapChat, etc. may not be worth your while. Find out where your audience lives online and focus your efforts there.
Final Words of Advice
The nice thing about social media? In spite of all those horror stories about tweets gone wrong, it’s actually pretty low-risk. In fact, we’d argue that it’s hard to cause lasting damage, unless you have a troubling 3am habit and a personality disorder. Think about how many times you have to proof an IR prospectus before you get 1000 copies printed, because once that ink hits the paper, there is no delete button. Well, on social media there is a delete button. Of course, someone can screencap your mistake, but unless you’ve posted something offensive, there’s a very low probability your inadvertent mistake will go noticed. So keep calm and post on.
Use a social media management platform to hook all your channels into one place and automatically shorten your links. (We love Buffer). Then it’s super easy to post on all platforms at once, or choose 1 or 2 depending on the subject. You can also schedule posts, which is great for things that are not news-related, and the built-in analytics tools help you track your progress.
When is the best time to post? What topics will interest people? Which hashtags get noticed? There are tools to help answer these questions, but the best way to find out is to experiment. Try posting at different times of day. Post on several different topics on a range of subject matters of interest to your audience. Search hashtagify.me to find new hashtags to try. Soon you will learn the tone, time and topics that appeal to your audience, and you can narrow cast from there.
- Have Fun
Don’t think of any of the platforms as exclusively “marketing” platforms. Users tune out straight-up marketing messages on social media. Of course they are important marketing tools, but you need to always think like your user — what information, insight, opinion can you offer that will be useful to them?
- Talk back
Social Media channels have morphed into direct lines to customer support. So don’t tweet into a void! Monitor your accounts and embrace the opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. it’s a chance to show — often publicly — how great your customer service is.
Did the lightbulb go on? We give our clients tips like these every time we chat.