Build customer trust on social channels

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social-media-financial-servicesBy Emilie Totten

While many financial services firms were reluctant to use social media in the past, more companies are realizing that embracing social is the first step to increasing brand trust and loyalty. While the regulatory environment was previously prohibitive, the doors are opening for asset managers to get on social networks.

As this environment gets more sophisticated, asset managers may even start creating their own virtual communities rather than pushing content through LinkedIn and Twitter.

Earning investor trust

Investors no longer wait for you to come to them. They do a significant amount of research first, and they often start by finding you on social media. According to data from Cogent Research cited by MarketWatch, nearly 70 percent of wealthy investors have reallocated investments or started new relationships with investment providers based on information they found through social media.

Asset managers have often relied on content to gain consumer trust. By building a following on social channels, they can connect with their audience on a more consistent basis, sending content, news and insights that are relevant to investors.

There are other overlooked elements to social media that could be useful for asset managers as well, such as review platforms and forums. Consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from each other than brand-created materials.

A Nielsen survey found that 90 percent of consumers have some degree of trust in people they know, while 70 percent trust the opinions of strangers posted online. These two categories by far beat out anything brand-created. Customers don’t necessarily want branded messaging unless its from someone they have developed a real relationship with. This is where social media becomes enormously beneficial for asset managers.

The next wave of social media for financial services

Since customers do value the opinions of peers, providing venues for them to share information may be a way to earn their trust. As more financial services marketers jump on social channels, the environment is going to become crowded, and it will be harder for individual firms to distinguish themselves. Once this happens, it will be time to evolve. Rather than pushing branded content through traditional streams, some financial services firms are setting up their own forums to encourage customer dialogue.

In an interview with eMarketer, Misha Logvinov, chief customer officer at Lithium, said his clients set up platforms that are socially enabled digital environments where peers can connect. Because the investors connect with others that have similar profiles, they trust each other’s point of view more than they necessarily would from a specific company or analyst.

“A big question for us right now – and I would say it’s an experiment for the industry – is to see whether some stock predictions and performance for some of these companies crowdsourced through the community will actually be more accurate than what analysts do,” Logvinov said.

Since customers are already utilizing message boards and similar resources, financial services firms can integrate these functionalities on their own sites where investment managers can engage with them directly.

Whatever approach financial services marketers take, it’s important to embrace social to earn trust from investors and engage with them in a way that meets their expectations.

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Emilie is Chief Marketing Officer at Synthesis. She brings over 15 years of integrated sales and marketing experience working with financial services, SaaS, and health and wellness companies. Her passion is architecting holistic marketing strategies that align with each business function to achieve client experience, employee advocacy, and revenue goals. When she isn't marketing, you can find her rehabbing her home in the Chicago suburbs, practicing yoga, or spending time with her family.

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