Opinion  

Using social media to help attract 'digital natives'

Davinia Tomlinson

Davinia Tomlinson

Working in a highly regulated industry like financial services can present certain challenges when it comes to conceiving new ways to target potential clients.

As the rules designed to protect retail investors from financial harm become ever more stringent and companies expand their compliance functions to cope, it is no surprise that much of the industry continues to rely upon more tried-and-tested, traditional approaches to reach prospects.

But with a new generation of financial advice clients waiting in the wings, so-called ‘digital natives’ for whom a smartphone is rarely too far from their fingertips, there is no better time than now to consider alternative ways of engaging them.

Here are some of the ways social media could help you reach this untapped segment of the market without falling foul of the rules:

• The human approach.

Financial advice is ultimately a people business. When you think of your best clients, often the thing you remember is the strength of your relationship. But for new clients who will not have had the benefit of meeting you in person before deciding whether you would be a good fit, being visible on social media is a great way to achieve this.

Short videos on Instagram, for example, are an excellent channel for conveying your values as a business and letting your personality shine. What is your approach to working with clients? What makes you unique?

These are some of the questions you can deal with easily while showcasing your expert team.

• Play to the audience.

Produce content with the audience, rather than your business, in mind. When you think of your own buying behaviour as a consumer, what are the triggers that might motivate you to take action? Small nudges and conversation starters are likely to be more powerful than a huge overload of information in one go.

For example, share testimonials of clients who have had a great experience working with you, focusing on the outcome to the clients in terms of how you made them feel, so there is evidence of the impact of this approach for new prospects to reflect upon.

You could also ask the audience – polls and quizzes are a great way to take instant pulses of what your target audience is thinking and feeling. What are the burning issues keeping them up at night and how could you design your services to respond?

• Don’t talk product.

Aggressive promotion of new campaigns via social media is probably best avoided, not least because it is impossible to gauge who they will be seen by with a global social media usage of billions.

Trying to fit all the disclaimer wording required in to a short Tweet or an Instagram or Facebook caption, will make people’s eyes swim. But do share your points of view and expertise on issues that are likely to affect your target audience.