It’s hard out there for fintech and finserv companies. They have to compete for eyeballs and wallets against banking giants, disruptive startups, and wildcards like cryptocurrency payment apps. A quick look at the banking and finance category in your mobile app store will show you how crowded the field is right now. There’s a good reason for this astronomic growth — the rewards are huge and the market has all kinds of directions to grow in.
Right now, COVID-19 is driving up demand for digital financial services. In addition, the touchless payments and automated checkout services will be the new normal long after the threat of Coronavirus has passed.
Tomorrow’s giants of finance are laying the foundations for their future success right now. They’re acquiring customers, developing a brand identity, and expanding their market share. In an arena with stakes this high, what can you do to stay competitive? The answer may be simpler than you think.
Why Fintech needs social media
Social media is a critical channel for fintech and finserv companies, but it can be an ongoing challenge as well. For every company that scores free positive exposure by letting their social media interns “get weird” on Twitter, there’s a dozen whose attempts at achieving virality end up as minor PR disasters. Even the traditionalist approaches can be hit or miss. It’s easy to lose your audience’s interest by pushing too many ads into their feed or throwing too much financial jargon at them.
But social media is where your audience is, and it’s where they want to engage with you. Fintech companies are certainly bringing the content. Two thirds of all fintech companies produce content on at least a monthly basis, and more than ninety percent maintain a presence on LinkedIn and Twitter.
How do you make your signal stand out from all that noise? It helps to be able to leverage your content effectively across multiple platforms and communication channels. However, that is not the only reason social media and fintech go hand in hand in 2020. There’s another angle to social media to keep in mind, too.
Some of the most lucrative markets for fintech companies are in areas that aren’t yet well-served by traditional banks and financial institutions. In many developing countries, mobile phones and social media have taken hold and taken off in a big way in recent years, growing much faster than financial service sectors. That means there are a lot of consumers out there with digital identities, a social media presence—and no checking account.
Many companies are finding that the best way to get a foothold in these markets isn’t just by marketing themselves on social media. Instead they are integrating their essential services into social media platforms like Facebook and Whatsapp. Others are going even further by using social media data and AI algorithms to make lending decisions faster and more flexible.
How to get fintech social media marketing right
There are plenty of challenges you’ll encounter marrying fintech with social media. You might have regulatory demands and cybersecurity concerns to deal with, along with investment in development, employee training and maintenance of a fintech social media strategy. Moreover, engagement with consumers on social media can be unpredictable and very different from in-person interaction. However, there’s no reason to fear bringing social media and fintech together as there’s still lots of room for creativity and success.
One of the best ways to learn how to do social media marketing right is to study brands who have a track record of nailing it. Let’s take a look at four key elements to a successful social media marketing strategy, illustrated by some excellent examples from the world of fintech.
1. Build Trust
For many consumers, the main issue with financial service providers is a lack of trust. Between the historic banking scandals and the many inscrutable rules and regulations they have to navigate, many consumers feel downright alienated from financial institutions. How can a fintech company tackle this issue in a creative way?
Monzo, a crowdfunded challenger bank from the UK, has enjoyed tremendous growth and customer satisfaction with their platform of “radical transparency.” For Monzo, that meant taking responsibility for mistakes, sharing internal communications, and sending customers copies of their earnings reports.
What has Monzo accomplished by using social media to realize this strategy? They’re adding 100,000 new customers per month, for starters, and making plans to expand into stateside markets. By building a brand based on a core principle, they were able to leverage word-of-mouth and nontraditional marketing to connect with customers looking for a bank they could trust.
2. Humanize Your Brand
Banking can feel cold and clinical at times. At the same time, customers don’t like to think that they’re just some numbers on a ledger as far as their financial service providers are concerned. Social media can be a fantastic opportunity to show the human side of banking and the positive impact good banking relationships can have on individuals and communities.
The Royal Bank of Scotland figured this out. They promoted their new digital banking app, Bó, with sponsored Instagram posts. These featured influencers, actors, and TikTok stars talking about how Bó was helping them save and manage their money.
(Instagrammer Andrea Di Filippo shows off his Bó bank card)
RBS chose spokespeople that their audience would find relatable, not superstars who’d never have to worry about using an app to budget their monthly expenses. That made it easier for their customers to see how the app could actually be useful to them.
3. Empower Your Employees
When a brand “speaks” as itself on social media it tends to come off as impersonal. That can be fine for official communications and broad messaging, and some companies have gotten lucky developing their brand’s “voice” as a character in itself. For the most part, though, consumers like to interact with people, not faceless institutions.
Employee advocacy can be a very powerful social media strategy, especially in finance where knowledge, experience, and personalized advice may be your primary selling point. Morgan Stanley is not what you’d consider a digital trailblazer, but they realized that their 16,000+ financial advisors are their greatest asset. They then developed a Twitter-centered advocacy campaign that encourages financial advisors to share their thoughts and engage with people online.
— Shareworks by Morgan Stanley (@Shareworks) August 17, 2019
Succeeding in fintech and finserv industries is no longer about retaining customers with intimidating, exclusive barriers that keep them at arm’s length. It’s about creating personal relationships. Employee advocacy can be one of the most effective tools at your disposal for making real connections and sharing the things that make your company stand apart.
4. Listen and Measure
Measuring the impact of social media marketing efforts in terms of brand perception and ROI is critical for any business. For fintech companies, data and insight-driven marketing can be facilitated with technical integrations—like adding Facebook SDK to your mobile banking app.
Starling Bank, another challenger bank from the UK, did just that. With access to Facebook data from within their mobile app, Sterling was able to gain all kinds of insights into customer experiences and behavior. They were able to avoid sending ads to customers who had already seen them and measure how well different ad formats performed.
The result? Their cost per app install went down, a third of their Facebook leads converted to become accountholders, and in one month nearly half of their new accounts came from either Facebook or Instagram.
Fintech and finserv companies today have no choice but to leverage social media. Not only does it have the potential to revolutionize the relationship between you and your clients, but with social media listening tools businesses can obtain invaluable insights. Insights that would have been nearly impossible to access in the pre-digital era. Combined with personalization and creativity, these insights can mean the difference between success and failure for fintech companies.
Having the most innovative product, the best customer service, or the smartest advisors won’t, on its own, propel you into the big leagues. What will is knowing how to reach the audience you need and hold their attention. When it comes to social media, fintech and finserv providers today simply can’t afford to