by Tony Vidler
I continually see reports and articles suggesting that despite personal use of social media the market penetration of various social media networks by businesses generally is not that great. For financial services it seems to be lower than average, and that is certainly reflected in what I personally witness in adviser use of social media marketing. It seems fair to conclude then that social media:
1. Is still relatively under-utilised by consumers and businesses alike for financial services.
2. Social media needs to be a core part of a future-orientated engagement strategy for such firms given its reach and use amongst consumers
In relative terms I believe that this is still “blue sky” territory for financial services marketing.
For example, as a relatively active user of Twitter for business I can attest that my analytics verify one level of the participation rate. Only about 9% of my Twitter followers are actually New Zealand based (where I am also). The average number of followers a Twitter user has is apparently 204 (globally)….the majority of the NZ followers I see have less than that… And the majority of the NZ Twitter users in the financial services space are largely silent as far as I can see….or should I say dormant?
The limited analytics and data that is available on who is using social media, and to what extent, does support the view that there is vast scope for increased use and levels of engagement with customers. The empirical view is that engagement levels (outside of Facebook) are still remarkably low.
Anybody wanting to increase their business exposure to savvy customers needs to be seriously looking at the social networks and assessing them on the basis of where their ideal clients are likely to be engaging or seeking information in the next few years. The smart financial services business owner will be working out how to master those channels and be continually working on building a trusted and credible presence on them.
This is where all the customers your business could want are watching, listening and interacting. Those businesses with a strong and trusted brand presence on those social networks are up to 3 times more likely to be purchased than businesses who are not there according to one report from McKinsey.
The logic seems remarkably clear and compelling: Social networks is where consumers go to interact with each other, increasingly via mobile by the way. It is still nowhere near a saturated market, and there is relatively little competition for savvy professional services marketers to create a strong credible presence at next to no cost.
It presents one of the best opportunities today to engage multitudes of potential customers with minimal effort or cost, on a largely personalized basis. For those who do make the effort, there is a disproportionate chance of getting a good business return by becoming the trusted advice brand of choice for customers.
Yet, despite the numbers….the obvious trend…..the latent opportunity….social networks remain the secret marketing opportunity that few advisers take advantage of.
It is still blue sky territory really.