However, there are many obstacles to using these channels effectively, the biggest being regulatory limits on what can be said to whom. Also, there is the lack of clarity as to what topics social media users will find interesting enough to follow. Securian Financial Group decided to stop worrying and forge ahead with a social media pilot program.
The firm recently finished a YouTube campaign entitled “Long-term goals need a long-term partner.” They hired an actor, grabbed a camera and visited a local park. They asked passerby’s about their views on topics such as personal goals, financial strategies, debt and retirement savings. The interviews resulted in four videos posted on the company’s YouTube channel.
“We knew that if we waited for ideal conditions to launch a social media campaign we’d fall behind the curve,” said Angela Schema, manager of communications at Securian.
“Finding a way to be both creative and compliant with social media was a win,” Schema added. “Even better, our results show that our long-term value proposition is resonating and we can build a social media community around our brand.”
Schema offered these tips for financial services firms thinking of using social media to promote their brands:
- Understand your company’s social media policy and work with your legal and compliance departments. Regulations may prevent you from promoting specific products or services, but you can promote generic brand messages, community service news and awards, Schema told PLANSPONSOR (see “Compliance 2.0: Social Media”).
- Set clear objectives and put together a marketing plan. Schema set out to increase Facebook “Likes” by 25%, increase Twitter followers by 15%, build brand recognition and promote Securian’s commitment to helping people reach their long-term financial goals. The campaign exceeded the measurable goals. Facebook likes rose 27% and Twitter followers increased by 19%. “I think our campaign was successful because we decided what would make it a success, and then we structured it so it would meet our goals,” Schema said.
- Promote your campaign in every way possible. After the second week of the campaign, Securian posted the videos via Facebook ads. “That helped boost the number of views,” according to Schema. “If I could redo the campaign, I would have started that process earlier.” Schema also used Twitter and her personal LinkedIn page to promote the videos.
While a social media campaign may seem expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Schema said Securian operated on a very small budget, utilizing existing staff and hiring a small crew to conduct the interviews. “Considering we exceeded our two quantitative objectives – and I believe also met our qualitative objectives – it was money very well spent,” she said.
The videos are available here.