Financial Service Brands MUST Think About Influencer Marketing
Written by: Angela Antenero
Financial services brands haven’t traditionally been seen as the most innovative when it comes to marketing and PR… But now that they have (finally?) started to embrace the digital-first way, all that is set to change.
When talking “influencer marketing”, people make the quick association with Insta-celebs and YouTube personalities with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, who are used by the fashion and beauty industries to reach an exponentially large audience.
But there are no Kim Kardashians of the financial services industry. So who are our influencers? To us, an influencer has these three things in common: a following, trust and most importantly the ability to guide their audience. Financial services influencers include journalists, finance writers, bloggers, company stakeholders and executives, industry bodies and even satisfied clients of companies themselves who happily promote a product or service within their networks.
Why financial service brands need to think about influencer marketing
In a previous blog, we outlined how social influence can be powerful in improving positive consumer perceptions of brands. Identifying and focusing on other key leaders in the sector to drive and strengthen a firm’s brand to a larger market is crucial, as the shrinking Australian media landscape is making access to journalists harder.
In a saturated digital world, with so many voices competing for attention – those with social influence are becoming increasingly needed for financial services to target, giving them an edge to cut through the noise.
Don’t forget, people are time-poor, so instead of trawling through news publications themselves daily, they’re increasingly dependent on someone else they trust (like their favourite journalists, online opinion leaders, members of forums and communities on social media) to do the hard work and curate their newsfeeds for them on social media. In fact, 6-in-10 Americans get their news from social media according to Pew Research Centre.
It’s a known fact that there’s a strong connection between reputation and SEO. Not only can engaging in an influencer program increase your sales figures and create huge returns for businesses, doing so may improve your website’s search engine ranking, helping your content be found more easily. When influential domains link to your website and boost your web traffic figures, Google deems your content more relevant and over time you should see an improvement in your page rankings.
How should financial services companies use influencer marketing?
A good example of an effective influencer marketing campaign can be seen in TD Ameritrade, an online broker for online stock trading, long-term investing and retirement planning, who implemented a campaign called the Human Finance Project, which used investment advisors as influencers to reach a larger audience. The successful project focused on the relatable stories of these advisors for the average person to feel connected with them.
Note that influencers are not just people with huge followings – they need to align to the values, target audience and content quality of your company. The level of trust they’ve built with their audiences counts more than reach alone.
With its effectiveness in reaching audiences and building relationships with them, an influencer outreach program will soon become an essential element in online PR campaigns, and financial services brands will need to keep up.
Next week we’ll go into detail about how exactly to go about selecting your influencers, and how you can plan your outreach program.
When it Comes to Your Money, Does the Truth Hurt?
“We’ve been arguing about this for year, and here we are in our 50’s. It’s time to stop!” Laura said empathically.
Paul’s downcast eyes and silence spoke volumes.
Laura continued, “We’ve worked with several advisors who have tried to help us invest our money in a sensible way. Then whenever the market goes down, Paul calls the advisor and tells him to sell everything! In all these years, no matter how much we work to build our financial security, we’re always playing catchup.”
Her words hung like a rain cloud about to burst when Paul began to speak. “I know, I know. I just can’t help it. I get nervous that we’re going to lose all our money. When the market goes down, I scramble—in my thoughts and in my actions. The driving force behind it is: At least if it’s in cash, the balance won’t go down.”
This is the moment where I felt I could lend my advice. First, I needed to learn about this particular couple and their values. Then, I could begin helping them take control of their finances.
“Tell me Paul,” I said. “What did you learn about money growing up? What messages did you hear as a child about money? From your father? From your mother?”
Paul’s eyes moved up and to the left, indicating his mind was reaching for memory. “My parents never talked to us kids about money, really. The one thing that stands out is my grandfather talking about The Great Depression and how it was such a tragic time. My parents both worked, but they never made a lot of money. They fought about money sometimes.”
“Any other memories about money?”
“Actually, yes. I remember when my father took me to the bank to open up a passbook savings and how exciting it was. The bank manager typed the passbook on this old manual typewriter and gave it to me. He showed me how the interest on the account added to the amount I deposited. I felt very grown up that day! But I guess that was the sum total of money training from my parents.”
“Can you help me understand how you and Laura make financial decisions?”
The question couldn’t be more impactful if a boulder had landed on his head. While Laura looked at Paul with a mildly accusatory glare, Paul searched for something to say that would keep his well-conceived protective fortress from crumbling. I interjected to ease the tension. I could feel the guilt in the air.
“Let me frame that another way, Paul and Laura. We all do the best we can as we live our lives. Let’s face it, our lives are filled with responsibilities in our families and our jobs, not to mention outside interests, health, and friends. While financial issues are important, unless you either have the knowledge and experience—or the help, most people avoid getting too deep into the confusion of managing their finances by doing the very least they can. What we don’t know scares us. So we defer, delay, make rash decisions based on our lack of time, knowledge, desire. Add a dash of fear to that equation, and you have a formula for financial problems. I want you to know, you are not alone. It’s more common than you could even imagine. The question is, do we allow the truth in so that we can move forward?”
It’s important to admit the truth behind our actions in order to rectify past and future mistakes or regrets. Living in denial only perpetuates making decisions that could potentially lead to financial disaster.
“I hate to admit it,” Paul said. “I guess in my desire to protect Laura from stress, I’ve made decisions that have hurt us, and I’m sorry. Michael, you hit the nail on the head. You defer, avoid, and allow your emotions to take over. And as a result, bad stuff happens. I think I’m ready to ask for help.”
Laura’s expression softened, and said, half-kiddingly, “You think?”
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