Just finished a new POV on Facebook’s recently-launched “Global Pages” feature and implications for global brands. Essentially, it’s a great way to target content and uncover more specific insights for your audience, but it comes at potentially a much greater management cost.
It’s a fact.
Despite how effective social media has been at creating awareness, growing preference, and ultimately driving conversion, Financial Services firms have mostly stayed out of social media:
- Only 48% of asset management firms engage in social media today (source: Kasina)
- 66% of firms have no current or planned budget to engage in social media (source: Kasina)
- Fewer than 7% of financial advisers are blogging (source: American Century Investments)
So this is a strategic decision, right? This industry isn’t exactly the most forthcoming with new thoughts and ideas, so we would expect stats like these, right?
Let me show you some more numbers:
- According to Spectrem and Investment News, more than one-third (36%) of investors say they are interested in receiving information from their advisers or corresponding through social media. When looking at investors under 35, this number rises to 53%.
- 77% of investors who read blogs are more likely to consult them for information on new financial products and services
- 69% of LinkedIn users reported likely to consult their networks on this platform for investment advice
So, let me restate the irrefutable fact again: Financial services firms cannot participate in social media. Right? Well, no. While this has been a mostly untapped communication channel for these firms to date, it’s more important than ever for this industry to jump into social media. Here’s why:
- 31% of affluent investors (using social media) “rely less” on information from investment firm representatives
- 19% of them are less reliant on advice from their financial adviser
- (source: Cogent Research)
As people are connecting with each other at deeper levels through social media, they’re reverting back to the oldest form of marketing: word of mouth/third party recommendations. Friends and family or even strangers that have experience are seen to have the same authority as more traditional financial experts — even in this complicated arena.
Financial firms have to take swift action to connect with their audiences in these new channels — both individual investors as well as analysts and IR practitioners. Of course, I’m not promoting the idea that an asset management firm should line up a campaign with a flash mob, but there are definitely ways for these companies to start to draw insights and have direct engagement in this space.
Social media continues to grow rapidly, but is still at a basic level in the financial industry. Trust me though, social media is an imparative for these firms now and will continue to be. Here’s the proof:
- 84% of asset management firms believe social media is here to stay and will have a lasting impact on the industry (source: Kasina)
What do you think? Can this highly-regulated and risk-adverse industry successfully participate in social media?
A few years ago, I got into an argument with someone about the importance of choosing news sources wisely. He’s from the school of thought that says news should be delivered with context and analysis from an expert or a reporter quoting expert sources. Of course, he knows not to believe everything he reads, but he wants to get the story from the experts.
This makes sense to a lot of people — you do have to be careful about where you get your information from these days, but the ironic thing is that because we’ve learned to be careful, we’ve become smarter in our consumption of information. We’re now able to provide the context of a story, confirm the facts, and decide for ourselves what this means to us as individuals without it having to be told to us through a news reporter.
The coolest thing is that this new found ability can help us live our lives smarter as a community. We can now seek out information from multiple sources, evaluate it for ourselves, and find a more accurate or more informative answer than if we had gone to a single source.
Almost everything in our lives can be improved by leveraging the power of (usually online) community knowledge. Here are a couple places that you can start leveraging the power of community intelligence right away:
- CAPS: Shameless plug for The Motley Fool here, but our CAPS service can really become a valuable resource to add to your investment research. Users make a call on how they think a company’s stock will perform in relation to the S&P 500 Based on that data, each stock is given a star rating that you can use to grade your next investment idea. We’ve seen some pretty amazing results when we simply let The Fool’s community rate stocks — it turns out that a greater number of votes on where a stock is heading will provide a more accurate result.
- StockTwits: For those of you who understand the value of information (and getting it immediately after a story breaks), you have to check out StockTwits. Simply put, this is just people using Twitter to share information about specific stocks. The tweet can be a news rumor, a recent trade that was completed, or any other thoughts they have on that stock. StockTwits makes it easy for you to monitor the flow of information for important stocks to you, but you can simply search Twitter using “$” in front of the ticker symbol to see the raw flow of tweets. Do a search for “$appl” and see the ridiculous amounts of tweets that almost brought down Twitter today as a result of Apple’s iPod announcement and Steve Jobs’s return.
- Online Reviews: There are just so many sites for you to find great information on the product or service you want to purchase. Check out CNET for electronics reviews, Edmunds.com for car reviews, Yelp for restaurant reviews… the list could really go on and on. You’ll find that when individual users post their thoughts on a particular product, they often will have a more insightful review than a professional reviewer. Multiply that level of detail by the hundreds of reviews you’re likely to find on any number of products, and you’ll be in review heaven.
- Community Coupons: Sites like GroupOn use collective buying power to get deals from local businesses for members. This means they promise a certain number of buyers for a particular deal and if that number of promised buyers is reached, then the group as a whole will get that killer price or offer. If there aren’t enough purchasers, then no one gets that great deal.
- Let the Community Find the Best Deal: People love to search for the best deals online, and sites like Slickdeals give them a place to post a deal they found so that everyone can use it. There are also sites like RetailMeNot that let you search for coupon codes for online vendors and provide feedback on the success rate of those codes (some expire quickly…). I find now that I don’t purchase anything online without first searching these sites.
Like I mentioned earlier, old-school news organizations are on their way out the door. You want to find out the most-current information as soon as it happens? Check out Twitscoop or simply watch Twitter’s own trending topics to find out what people are talking about right now. These tools will also give you a better sense of what the real story is. For example, when the story of Michael Jackson’s collapse and subsequent death broke, it first broke on Twitter. People were reporting their own observations from his house and from the hospital. By monitoring Twitter, I found out he died more than three hours before CNN reported it on air. Of course, this story could have gone the other way — stories that break on Twitter can turn out to be simply rumors or hoaxes, but as you use this news source more, you’ll find that it becomes quite easy to figure out which stories are true and which are false.
Last year, President Obama’s campaign changed the way political campaigns will be run in the future. He leveraged the power of social media to create a huge online following with many different smaller online networks where supporters could gather in support of a specific cause, a culture, or gender, all the time supporting the candidate. This was a huge social media marketing win. The President continues to use social media to go around the press and communicate directly with the public, specifically in his weekly YouTube videos and White House blog posts.
On the other end of the spectrum, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hasn’t been the most widely-loved member of Obama’s administration lately, and the Fed itself isn’t exactly winning popularity contests left and right. The Fed and its chairman are obviously suffering from an image problem — one that could be improved by connecting directly with the public and creating lines of communication back to the Fed. In honor of Bernanke’s recent renomination by the President, I thought I’d provide some social media ideas he could use to improve his and The Fed’s image:
- Use social media to announce rate change decisions: Everyone’s affected by the Fed’s discount rate. Why not make it as accessible as possible? In this new environment where news organizations are becoming more insignifcant by the day, take the story directly to the masses: Tweet it, create an RSS feed, or even a desktop widget that people can subscribe to.
- Start a weekly YouTube video release: Obama knew that people wanted to be heard. Start a weekly address like the President and invite people to respond with their own videos
- Live-blog Fed meeting minutes: Doesn’t it seem antiquated that the Fed waits until weeks after their meeting to publish their minutes?
- Start a site that lets citizens post their results after applying for credit: If the Fed is taking significant steps to make sure there’s credit readily available, why not hear the results of these efforts directly from the people that are supposed to benefit from them?
*I mean, are you surprised? Can anyone tell me that they’ve ever had a good customer service experience at any point during their relationship with the Skins?
Anyway, here’s what I wanted to tell you. Check out my new seat at FedEx Field:
This is awesome, especially when you consider that this is where I used to sit:
Let me tell you, this upgrade wasn’t easy. My brother and I tried for years to move down to the lower bowl. Each time we tried, we were met with the usual answer that everyone hears when they have a request for the Redskins Ticket Office: “No.”
Due to the economy (and let’s face it: the Skins’ stellar performance), seats opened up down in the lower bowl. The ticket office called my uncle (who’s been a ticket holder for… 50 years?) and offered him the additional seats. He knew we wanted to move, so he offered them to us. We’re of course paying for these seats, so we wanted to have them in our name. Nope. Can’t be done. Check out the Skins’ ticket transfer policy:
The Redskins season ticket policy allows the transfer of season tickets to immediate family members only (parent, spouse, child, or sibling). Season tickets cannot be transferred between businesses, from a business to an individual, or between non-family members. In order to transfer a season ticket account, please contact the Redskins Ticket Office and request an account transfer form or download the transfer form now. Provide the requested materials (which may include a copy of a death certificate, in the event the account holder of record is deceased) and proof of relationship (birth certificate, marriage license, adoption papers) between the existing account holder of record and the new account holder. The Redskins reserve the right to deny a transfer at their sole discretion. All transfers (if granted) are subject to a non refundable $100.00 per seat transfer fee and remain subject to all other Redskins’ ticket terms, conditions and policies, including but not limited to the following: Redskins tickets constitute revocable licenses and future renewals of Redskins tickets are at the sole discretion of the Redskins.
So, despite the fact that my brother and I are footing the bill for these tickets, and even though we’re Skins season ticket holders already, my uncle wasn’t able to transfer these tickets to us. They’re still in his name and they will continue to be in his name for years to come.
Hey Dan Snyder, I love the Skins. I love them so much, I’m willing to spend a high percentage of my disposable income on a football game. These new tickets cost much more than my old seats (2x) and I even bought two sets of season tickets (the Skins wouldn’t let us drop our old seats this season). But seriously, why do you have to make it so hard to be a fan of the team? You guys were atrocious last night on the field and you don’t care for the customers that pay a big portion of your operating expenses.
I’ll just throw this out there… I haven’t had anything but great customer service from Uncle Ted and his Caps. I love being a Caps season ticket holder.