Those professionals and firms actively engaged in financial services should ignore social media at their peril. In this era of instant information and communication, financial services really needs to up its game if the traditional names aren’t to be overtaken by the big consumer brands.
In the UK, regulation coupled with a lack of flair and genuine understanding of financial planning has ensured that there has been limited engagement with consumers. There is a complete lack of trust in the sector and so we have a society that is woefully short on saving and investment and far too high on debt.
Social media provides a gateway to communicate far more effectively with the wider market. It also allows us to engage with consumers and to start building trust once again in the sector.
There are four main areas to consider although countless avenues to use. The leading lights of social media seem to be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube allowing us to chat, post images and videos and exchange information. It is clear to me that each has the capacity to improve communication and to deliver better business results.
For business communication, I prefer to use Twitter while LinkedIn has become my ever increasing address book. Twitter has allowed me to meet and communicate with people that ordinarily I would never have met or communicated with. It has also helped me:
- to discover people that I need to meet, and
- become far better informed about my community and key stakeholders of the IFP.
We have grown our membership, boosted the delegates coming to our events and extended our messages far wider than we would ever have expected through the viral impact of retweeting.
Internet TV has so much potential at a reasonable cost. We have created IFPTV, our own online channel, which allows us to draw out the leading advocates of the organisation and financial planning, as well as the leading financial planners in the UK, to talk about what they do. As our consumer campaign grows, we’ll be filming more programmes to engage directly with consumers to help them understand better why they should consider financial planning. Ultimately, millions will access good quality programmes and we need to be leading the way in this area.
There are no trusted brands in financial services. This needs to be changed if we are to be successful in the future and social media has to underpin any strategy in this area. Given the global reach of the CFPCM professional, this wouldn’t be a bad starting place!
Nick Cann is the CEO of the The Institute of Financial Planning.