In researching financial services firms’ social media strategies, kasina found that what distinguishes top firms is their “willingness to listen to and engage with audiences, integrate social media sites, and develop novel, useful, and varied content.”
What this means is having an actual conversation with people, says Julia Binder, Senior Research Analyst at kasina. Financial services firms that are considered to have a successful social media presence “post questions that are seasonal (perhaps related to taxes, holidays, the academy awards, whatever is in the news), they’re engaging, they get comments, and then they respond; they keep a conversation going,” she says.
Most firms are using social media to repurpose content, Binder says; content such as a manager’s commentary or a news release, or to announce a speaking engagement, “but it’s not really thought-provoking content or something that invites a response from a reader.”
The best social media strategies “develop a persona” for each of the social media sites, says Binder. A Facebook presence is different from a Twitter presence or LinkedIn; Facebook is better situated for a conversation, whereas Twitter is intended to swap ideas or news. Binder points out that developing a Facebook or Twitter persona is often a company-wide effort; employees from human resources, sales, marketing, and public relations, should all pitch in. “Usually there is a ‘community manager’ to initiate the conversation,” and keep a coherent tone, she says.
kasina also believes that companies that have adopted social media strategies in these early stages will start to see a return on investment in the next one to two years. “Users who are able to engage with companies on social sites are more likely to share that info with others; they feel better served by the company; and eventually purchase its products. What’s there to lose?” Binder says, adding that it’s a similar investment to brand and reputation management.