Social networks continue to form an ever greater and increasingly important chunk of the communications sphere. Although businesses in financial services tend to take a more conservative approach to social media compared to our consumer-facing counterparts, it’s a communication channel that can no longer be ignored.
Honner recently attended an informative social media marketing course at Sydney University, hosted by Laurel Papworth – one of the world’s leading social media bloggers. Here are a few key take outs to consider:
1. Rethink terminology
Not into being ‘social’? Think social media is for selfie-obsessed teenagers? Don’t be fooled by poor terminology. The concept of ‘social media’ is better thought of as ‘stakeholder communication’ or ‘engagement channels’. In other words, social media is an important way of connecting with your key stakeholders, not just a forum for frivolity.
2. Know your audience
Don’t say anything to an untested audience. If you’re thinking of getting involved in social media, get to know the community you want to engage with well so you don’t come bounding into the conversation ill-informed of what’s been said before you. Timing is also of the essence, so being in tune with ‘hot spots’ and the news-cycle is imperative.
3. Know your brand voice/organisational personality
Don’t be afraid to speak to your target market to the exclusion of others. If you try to be too broadly appealing on social media you won’t engage anyone. Deliver insights that your audience will find valuable – and build a community of followers who connect with you.
4. Be generous with content
Make your social pages read like a magazine – offer an engaging experience rather than product push. Sure, you can use social media to communicate key business updates, but you also need to share insights that your stakeholders will find useful, pertinent and salient.
5. Create rituals
A great way to generate anticipation and ongoing engagement is through regular posts (e.g. Q&A every Friday) or online community activities (e.g. #spitbucket). A weekly/monthly calendar can be an easy way to manage regular rituals.
6. Think of hashtags as a community
Hashtags should be thought of as a community of people interested in a topic, rather than as buzzwords or clickbait. They can be extremely effective in broadening the reach of posts.
7. It’s about the customer, not the company
The ‘About’ section on a company social page should focus on the benefits for the customer, not the company’s history.
8. Consider the cost of inaction
Prefer to abstain from social media? It’s an individual business decision but be very conscious that by not participating, you will be allowing competitors to fill the void. It’s a risk/return decision that should be reached through a thorough, conscious decision making process.
At Honner, we build multi-stakeholder communications programs for our clients that aim to leverage each available channel, including social media, to achieve your business goals.