Hootsuite: How to balance compliance and creativity on social media

Melanie Gaboriault

By Melanie Gaboriault, Senior Director of Global Corporate Communications, Hootsuite

Social media has become a critical driver of success for organisations of all sizes and across industries — and the financial services sector is no exception.

As financial services organisations are increasingly prioritising a digital-first mindset, social media marketing has emerged as integral to every business strategy in the space — providing organisations with more opportunity to promote and humanise their brand and, in turn, attract the attention of prospective clients. In fact, 81% of financial advisors who use social media say they’ve gained new business through social efforts.

But while adopting a social-first approach is imperative in this new age, financial services organisations often have different hurdles to overcome when compared to other sectors. In this article, we’ll explore the social marketing techniques that marketers in this industry should keep top of mind to build a successful (and compliant) social marketing strategy that drives business impact.


Ensure compliance first, get creative second 

While financial institutions may be open to the idea of leveraging social media to target and engage with clients and prospects, it is often met with concerns around an extensive list of compliance requirements that dictate social media communications in regulated industries. Building a social media strategy that’s both effective and compliant can be a challenge for many organisations in the financial services space, but achievable by following a few key steps:

– When first mapping out an organisations’ social strategy, it’s critical that they put compliance processes in place to guide employees’ use of social, across both those with access to the organisation’s social channels (i.e., the marketing department) and those using social to build a personal brand (i.e., independent advisors).

– As part of these processes, organisations should develop a social media policy, outlining guidelines and security protocols for all employees when using social platforms. While a critical step to reducing compliance challenges, this is also a great way to maintain a consistent brand identity across brand- and employee-owned channels.

– Compliance regulations dictate that all organisations must retain records of communications, in the event that it needs to be reviewed at a future date —making it critical that organisations archive everything, including social content.

– One of the first steps an organisation should take is to document all social channels, and key information relevant to each, in one place. This will help to identify impostor and unofficial accounts in the future, in the event that suspicious activity is taking place.

Social media management platforms are also a powerful tool that financial services organisations can tap into to build a social media presence, while also having the peace of mind that they are following compliance requirements. There are technology tools that make compliance easier for financial services organisations, such as the real-time compliance verification feature in Hootsuite’s social media management platform, which partners with cyber security and compliance company Proofpoint, to automatically screen social posts for compliance violations and restrict at-risk content.

By leveraging integrations of this nature, financial institutions can rest assured that they are following the protocol listed above, educating regulated users on compliance policies and gaining a level of confidence that all content being shared is on-brand.


Leveraging the strongest brand advocates: employees

Social media has become heavily driven by endorsements (think: influencers) — and the strongest endorsements brands can leverage, outside of their loyal clients, is that of their employees.

In regulated industries specifically, employee advocacy has become one of the most powerful tools at organisations’ disposal for building brand awareness and credibility — all through organic reach. By turning employees into brand advocates, trust is reinforced — and trust has been proven to be more influential than love when customers are choosing whether to engage with a brand or not; 88% of people value brand trust more than loving its products or services (81%).

While employee advocacy can be driven both online and offline, the most effective form is social media advocacy. In fact, Hootsuite research shows employee advocacy on social networks is directly related to higher brand health metrics, including positive sentiment, value, and share of voice—especially among mature organisations. And, aside from the clear organisational benefits, employee advocacy programs are effective in fostering an engaged workforce, and empowering employees to position themselves as industry experts.

Often, the hardest part is getting started. For financial organisations looking to make their mark with an effective social media advocacy program, a done-for-you employee advocacy platform is the perfect way to get started — helping to distribute approved content, easily share posts to personal profiles with one click, and seamlessly measure the ROI and results.

A great example of an effective employee advocacy strategy within the financial services sector is that of Swiss banking group Julius Baer, who has leveraged Hootsuite Amplify to grow awareness of its brand through its network of brand advocates. After just one year using the platform, the company has seen the reach of its ambassadors on LinkedIn grow to more than double that of its brand channel, creating a strong network of brand advocates that are organically extending its reach across the industry. With more than 4,600 posts shared on employees’ social channels since the program launch (2022), the company has driven 12.5k clicks to its website and more than 5.3 million impressions on LinkedIn.


Tap into social listening for data-driven decision making

From brand protection to client insights, social listening tools provide organisations with the intelligence they need to inform their next move. Rather than relying on simple metrics, like number of mentions or followers, social listening tools dig deeper, helping organisations understand the intent and meaning behind social conversations and brand mentions in real-time — allowing brands to pivot their strategies in real-time to better connect with their core audiences.

For financial services organisations, social listening can be a powerful tool to keep an eye on competitors, gauge the needs of potential clients and stay on top of quickly fluctuating industry news and trends — including terms most relevant to their business. Demonstrating this in action, Hootsuite did a deep-dive into how mentions of the financial term ‘buy the dip’ had emerged over time, finding that over the past three years, mentions spiked by more than 30 times. While a small sample of social listening capabilities, this demonstrates the insights that financial services organisations have readily available to gain industry- and company-specific insights through these powerful tools.

Furthermore, in the interest of compliance, social listening tools allow brands to closely monitor conversations related to security, as well as diligently keep an eye on scam accounts that might put the organisation and clients at risk. Armed with this intelligence, organisations can make smarter, data-driven decisions that will help ensure compliance — which is particularly vital in the financial services space, as in such a competitive sector, organisations that have greater awareness, reputation, and audience engagement will be better positioned to retain and attract new clients.

As the social space continues to evolve at such an incredible pace, having a strong social marketing strategy in place, which accounts for industry-specific nuances, is of utmost importance. At the same time, things are changing fast in financial services — from the rise of crypto and advancements of robo-advisors to the growth of the fintech app category. With the right information at hand to maintain compliance, and the intelligence to make data-driven decisions, the social space can be a powerful tool for financial organisations to keep pace with these innovations and continue to attract new generations of clients — particularly Gen-Z as FinTok takes the industry by storm.

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