Tight regulations, high risks, and slow adoption rates have kept most financial services companies in a pickle when it comes to figuring out what to do about social media. Rules around what can be said to whom, when an employee is the voice of the company or the voice of themselves, and other considerations lack clarity.
Last year, the SEC announced a 'risk alert' on the use of social media by financial advisors, which emphasized the importance of compliance policies including record-keeping and third-party content. All this creates many obstacles for financial service providers who are caught between the risks and rewards of using social media channels effectively.
So who's adopting?
According to Brandwatch, digitally forward-thinking corporations like American Express and Mastercard are successfully harnessing the power of social for their business. And the 2012 Social Brands 100 reveals four financial service companies as among the best in the world at embracing digital.
But this social leap isn't limited to industry behemoth with loads of lawyers on standby. Securian Financial Group, a Minnesota-based insurance and financial services company forged ahead with a social media pilot program that generated some compelling results.
"We knew that if we waited for ideal conditions to launch a social media campaign we'd fall behind the curve," said Angela Schema, manager, Communications. "So we picked a topic, 'Long-term goals need a long-term partner,' that was both representative of our brand and comfortable for our compliance department. We hired a small crew, walked to a local park and conducted spontaneous interviews."
The interviews became a series of four videos that supported that company's brand proposition of financial security for the long run. Each of the videos, posted on Securian's YouTube channel, featured people (and pets) from all walks of life sharing their views on personal goals, financial strategies, debt, retirement savings and more. In November, Securian posted one video per week and promoted the series on the corporate Facebook and Twitter pages.
The company kept track of the number of followers, subscribers, likes and views on each medium.
The campaign objectives were:
- Increase Facebook "Likes" by 25 percent
- Increase Twitter followers by 15 percent
- Build brand recognition for Securian
- Promote Securian's commitment to helping people reach their long-term financial goals
The measurable goals were exceeded. The company's Facebook page likes rose 27 percent to 571 and Twitter followers increased by 19 percent to 191. While these numbers are not large, Schema says the experiment was a success on several levels.
"Finding a way to be both creative and compliant with social media was a win," says Schema. "Even better, our results show that our long-term value proposition is resonating and we can build a social media community around our brand."