A successful strategy for banks is one that prioritizes personalization and relationship-building via social media.
By Doug WilberPersonal relationships are the bedrock of the financial advice industry. Nearly 75 percent of investors prioritize personal relationships when evaluating investment providers, Deloitte found. That’s why providers—even online brokers and robo-advisory firms—are taking care to preserve the human touch. Even with a growing trend toward digital automation to streamline trades and more, human connection is still paramount.
Bank marketers should reflect that by personalizing the digital experiences that they create for wealth management clients and prospects. Investors are accustomed to receiving personalized content online, including from their favorite retailers. They expect the same levels of customization from their service providers.
The benefits of customer personalization are mutual for investors and banks. When customers receive content tailored to their needs and financial situations, they understand their investment opportunities better and feel empowered to make the right financial decisions. And when they see wealth advisors addressing their specific needs—such as estate, retirement or education planning—they will naturally feel like those advisors understand their needs and can help them.
By contrast, when banks and advisors neglect personalization, they risk what Bain and Company calls “hidden defection,” or customers buying high-margin products such as loans, investments, and credit cards from competitors. Even if investors do not leave, they will go elsewhere to place their investments and purchase new financial products. Many customers who defect are attracted by personalized direct offers. That said, almost 80 percent of customers surveyed by Bain said they would have bought from their primary financial institutions if the banks had made equivalent offers.
It is clear that by creating improved digital experiences, banks can retain their clients’ business and even gain wallet share. So, how can they adjust their bank marketing strategies to prioritize customer personalization and build relationships?
1. Embrace a social selling strategy.
Whether financial advisors like it or not, their digital profiles affect how prospects view them. Almost 50 percent of investors say social media impacts whom they hire as a financial professional. And 33 percent report they seek financial advice online, according to Financial Advisor reporting on a Hartford Funds survey. Wealth advisors need to use social media to build rapport (and trust) with clients and prospects. When they demonstrate their value routinely, they’re more likely to be top of mind when customers are ready to purchase. That’s how strong digital profiles lay the foundation for social selling.
Social selling adheres to the same core principles as in-person selling: building relationships with customers, demonstrating knowledge, educating them and helping solve their problems. It all just happens online. Social selling empowers financial advisors to add value for customers through digital means when they wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise. Ultimately, sales reps who regularly share content are 45 percent more likely to exceed their quotas. So it is worth wealth advisors’ time to beef up their social profiles and engage with contacts.
2. Join customers on their preferred channels.
Investors are getting their information somewhere. it is essential to find out where that information comes from and to meet investors where they are.
Then, financial advisors should create profiles on those channels and organically engage with prospective clients. Why? Twenty percent of investors told Hartford Funds that a wealth advisor’s social media was their sole deciding factor when evaluating a financial professional.
For older investors, this might be traditional news channels’ Twitter or Facebook feeds. For younger investors, this could be newer channels such as TikTok. More than one-third of Gen Z Americans say they get financial advice from TikTok, and only 24 percent of investors in this age group get advice from financial advisors, according to a recent Vericast survey. That represents a big opportunity for financial advisors to win young investors’ business by meeting them through these channels. The key is to make any engagement enjoyable and authentic so that clients don’t feel like financial advisors are just trying to sell to them.
3. Create connected customer journeys.
Posting on social media is a great start, but if bank marketers want to drive ROI, they must create more robust digital journeys. The key to connected investor journeys is to avoid digital dead ends and always offer clear next steps.
At the start of the journey, wealth advisors must interact and create two-way dialogue online with existing audiences. They should then expand their audiences through tactics such as paid social media advertising, which can help them reach investors similar to their current customers or new target audiences.
In their social posts, financial advisors can drive audiences to content-driven landing pages that contain resources to download in exchange for contact information, which can help capture leads. Every step of the way, investors need to see the value, whether through educational content that wealth advisors share, access to more in-depth resources or complimentary consultations.
Banks benefit when they embrace customer personalization in their marketing strategies to keep customers engaged, build rapport and ultimately close more sales. That starts with giving wealth advisors access to the right processes and technology to deliver personalized education and offers. Once properly empowered, advisors can meet clients where they are, establish themselves as trustworthy, generate more leads and reduce the risk of “hidden defection” over time.
Doug Wilber is the CEO of Denim Social, a leading provider of social media management software that empowers marketers in regulated industries to manage organic social media content and paid social media advertising on one platform.