How Social Media Can Impact the Future of Financial Services Communications

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Last Thursday I attended Business Development Institute’s The Future of Financial Services Communications Summit where my colleagues, President Greg Matusky and Vice President Kim Harmsen, presented: “The New Communications Paradigm in Financial Services: The Penn Mutual Case Study.”

Greg and Kim shared how client Penn Mutual, as a 167 year-old insurance institution partnering with Gregory FCA, established an integrated communications program that leverages media relations, social media, content marketing, and advisor communications to deploy Penn Mutual’s strategic narrative.

In addition to Gregory FCA’s case study, the conference also examined how both established and up-and-coming financial industry players are earning trust, differentiating themselves from their competition, and strategically using technology to connect with customers, employees, sales channels, the media, and government.

Here are my most important takeaways:

Bitcoin is not just a currency.

To open the conference, Nikos Bentenitis of the Bitcoin Foundation challenged the audience to view Bitcoin as an open source, decentralized computer program for use with transactions, digital asset sharing, derivatives, identity reputation, and data storage, and to consider bit coin as a model for your business.

Respect compliance – both external and internal.

Actiance’s Social Media and Compliance Specialist, Joanna Belbey, interviewed client Al Raymond, Head of U.S. Privacy and Social Media Compliance for TD Bank, regarding operationalizing compliance in social business. “Social media compliance is the ugly stepsister to compliance,” said Raymond, emphasizing that firms need to be concerned with both external and internal social media compliance. When compiling policies on the corporate use of social media, Raymond’s team evaluated precedent, brand risk, reputation risk, and reasonable approaches. TD Bank’s biggest challenge in implementing these policies? Ensuring employees are aware of the toolset and onboarding them to corporate use vs. personal use. For those firms at the starting point of creating their own policies, Raymond recommends reading guidelines issued by the FICC.

Harness the power of data mining to target your communications.

Melissa King, Social Analytics Consultant with Brandwatch social listening tool, illustrated the power of Brandwatch in identifying and profiling four target audience groups specific to financial firms: millennials, new movers, the overbanked, and women.  By using this data, financial firms can more specifically tailor their messaging to both prospective customers and market to existing customers. This data will help firms mitigate risk, understand what drives consumer decisions, and determine what motivates them to choose particular services.

Investor communication is constantly evolving.

Leigh Drogen, Founder and CEO of Estimize, explained that investor communication has already evolved greatly, using the shining example of StockTwits, the Twitter-like feed for stock analysts that is now the biggest feed in the industry. Aiding this rapidly evolving information flow between investors, companies, and the sell side is Estimize, a sell side crowd sourcing platform providing comprehensive earnings forecasts. 4,500 hedge fund, brokerage, and independent analysts contribute in this environment of pseudonymity that allows sharing within the financial markets.

The digital financial wellness space is heating up.

A Fitbit for personal finance, Moven is an app that is transforming the field of vanilla retail banking into a digital tool that instantly tracks consumer spending behaviors and provides visual outputs to track you vs. your financial goals (not your budget). Mohammed (Mo) Khalil, Head of Product, Data and Marketing at Moven, explained that in doing so, this app answers the two most important questions of the consumer: How fast am I spending? And where am I spending it?