Resourcing Social Media in Financial Services

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Guest Post by: Jo Stratmann

While niche communities, customer driven markets and transparency are all areas in need of exploration, when it comes to social media for financial services the main concerns highlighted during our financial services round table event were risk and regulation and resourcing.

The current situation

From our round table discussion it became apparent that some financial services brands don’t see a place for social media within their organisation, therefore they don’t see the need to resource it.

One of the discussion points raised at the event was that internal staff, from the top level down, often see social media as something they use to interact with people outside of work in their private life – it has no place in the office. This makes it difficult to get both resource and budget to implement an effective social media strategy as often senior level staff do not see the value for their business.

However, on the flip side, several budget holders in the room argued that it is possible to get both money and resource for social media – you just have to prove it has value. Take Aviva’s “you are the big picture” campaign, or one of our clients, LV= and their online community.  These companies both allocated funding and resource to social media.

Delegates at our round table event felt that the best approach to getting sign-off for social media is to pick out a single key business aim– perhaps the lowest hanging fruit- and test how well social media can achieve this goal. Prove one basic goal and then move on from there.

If social media is really here to stay then going slow now won’t make a difference in the long run, and it will prove to seniors and budget holders that time and resource is needed to achieve real success from social media.

To a lot of key decision makers social media is still the unknown. By breaking it down into bite size pieces you can prove its value.

The future direction

An interesting thing to note about our roundtable discussion is that the conversation focused largely around social media tools – namely Twitter and Facebook.

Perhaps it’s time for financial services brands need to think outside of these tools and to look at resourcing a more long-term sustainable social media strategy that engages the business at all levels. Organisations need to learn not to rely on the current, most popular or commonly used social media tools; they may not be around in five years time.

In order for social media to succeed it must be driven from the top down, not from a single resource within the business. Rather than using social media just as part of marketing, or customer service, or product innovation, it needs to be integrated throughout the whole business. In the future, staff and employees in all departments will need to be trained on how to use social media to ensure that rules and regulations are not broken and that social media becomes a seamless, intrinsic part of business.

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