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.
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