While anecdotal claims are made about the worth of social media for advice businesses, a recently released study provides both quantitative and qualitative evidence of what types of content and strategies are most likely to succeed.
The Social Selling Content study, by digital communications provider Hearsay Systems, aggregated data from 173,000 financial advisers and agents from 54 leading US financial services firms. This is the third annual study the group has undertaken.
Hearsay says three key findings emerged from this study:
1. customised personal content achieves much higher engagement than corporate marketing;
2. automated campaigns can be particularly valuable for smaller firms; and
3. there is an increasing trend toward lifestyle-oriented content such as health and holidays.
“Using social media to engage and delight current and potential financial services clients is table stakes in today’s digitally-connected world,” Hearsay said. “Consumers continue to want to do business with people they like and trust; the key for advisers and agents is to meet clients where they are and have a presence on digital channels that they prefer.”
The study analysed more than 18 million published social media posts generating more than 23 million engagements across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. The data was extracted from the Hearsay Systems platform to examine the behaviours of social media program administrators, advisor and agent publishers, and consumers.
The posts were categorised into five broad areas — general lifestyle, financial education, corporate branding, product promotion and corporate lifestyle.
Customised content rules
While not all organisations allow their advisers to offer customised content due to compliance challenges, the survey suggest this is a winning strategy, with adviser-created content generating ten times the engagement as the content supplied by the corporate HQ.
“The massive lift in engagement illustrates the power of the adviser’s human connection to their community,” the survey’s authors said. “We found overwhelmingly that authenticity prevails.”
Automated messaging still works
While smaller planning firms with limited marketing capacity can be intimidated by the idea of social media, there was encouraging news in the survey on the value of automation in blending consistency of message and cadence with minimal effort. Engagement rates for posts from automated campaigns were still high across the industry.
Of the content categories, general lifestyle — perhaps surprisingly — had the highest engagement rate of all the subject areas at 67%, well above corporate product promotion at 30%.
“Program administrators have an opportunity to drive higher engagement rates and more consistent interaction by adjusting the balance of content toward more lifestyle,” the survey found, noting this content can create a ‘halo effect’ for the brand.
You might find these related articles helpful:
Social media marketing: what you need to know
Seven keys to successful social marketing
Good advisers are needed on social media
Social media is becoming the biggest source of new business
Marketing: how do financial planners get it right?
Why financial advisers need content marketing
Would you like advice on your social media strategy? Or would you like Regis Media to manage your social media activities for you? We have many years of specialist experience in this field, and Sam Willet will be happy to help you if you drop him a line.
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