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.
Retirement Planning Has Its Limits: How to Prepare
Retirement planning is one of the issues that commonly leads clients to consult financial advisers. One of its essential aspects is creating a plan to save and invest in order to provide a comfortable retirement income. Ideally, this starts many years ahead of retirement, even as early as your first paycheck.
As retirement comes closer, planning for it expands to take in a host of other considerations, such as deciding when to retire, where to live, and what kind of lifestyle you hope to have. When retirement becomes a reality, the focus shifts to carrying out the plan.
All of this planning is crucial. Yet, for both financial advisers and clients, it's good to keep in mind that planning has its limits. In the post-retirement years, it may be helpful to think in terms of preparing for old age rather than planning for it.
The older we get, the more important this distinction between planning and preparing becomes. Too many life-changing things can happen without regard to our best-laid plans. Often they occur unexpectedly, resulting in emergency situations where urgent decisions have to be made. A stroke or a fall, a diagnosis of terminal illness, a broken hip that leaves someone unable to go back to independent living—and suddenly, right now, the family needs to find an assisted living facility, arrange for live-in help, or sell a home.
What are some of the ways to prepare for these contingencies?
- Explore housing options well ahead of time. Find out what assisted living, home care, and nursing home services and facilities are available where you live and whether they have waiting lists. Have family conversations about possibilities like relocating or sharing households.
- Research the financial side of these options. Investigate the cost of hiring help at home, assisted living facilities, and nursing care centers. Find out what is and is not covered by Medicare and long-term care insurance. For example, people are sometimes surprised to learn that Medicare does not pay for nursing home care other than short-term medical stays.
- Designate someone to take over decision-making, and do the paperwork. Execute documents like a living will, medical power of attorney, and contingent power of attorney. Update them as necessary, and give copies to your doctors, your financial planner, and appropriate family members.
- Start relatively early to downsize. Well before you're ready to let go of possessions or move into smaller housing, start considering what to do with your "stuff." Focus on the decisions rather than the distribution. There's no need to get rid of possessions prematurely, but decide what you want to do with them—and put in writing. Do this while it's still your choice, rather than something your family members do while you're in the hospital or nursing home
- Do your best to practice flexibility and acceptance. No matter how strongly you want to live in your own home until the end of your life, for example, it may not be possible. The physical limitations of aging can limit our choices, and even the best options available may not be what we would like them to be. It is a profound gift to yourself and your family members to accept these realities with as much grace as you can muster.
Finally, please don't underestimate the importance of planning financially for retirement. Because the bottom line is that you can't plan for all the things that might happen as you age, but you can prepare to deal with them. One of the most useful tools to cope with those contingencies is having enough money.
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