Julie Meredith is a Community Engagement Specialist at Radian6 with a focus on social strategy as it relates to financial services. I had a chance to engage in a Q&A with her on the topic of measurement in B2B and financial services.
You concentrate on financial services at Radian6 and there’s been so much discussion about the role social media plays in that industry. Most stories present the industry as social media laggards — is that a myth that’s been created or do you find that financial services firms are still learning?
Financial Services companies are certainly still learning. Slowly. With the hefty regulations around the industry, it’s no wonder financial services are slow to adopt, and tap into the amazing resources social media provides. The marketers and public relations professionals that work in the financial services industry, are smart, forward-thinking people that understand the enormous benefits of being active in the social space The problem is they need to make a case for it – by creating a strong social media policy that is in-line with the regulations they are facing.
Do clients in B2B communications and B2C companies come to you with the same set of questions and challenges or are they different?
B2B and B2C financial services companies are both coming to us with the same questions and challenges. They’re hesitant to get involved in social media on account of their industry regulations, but they all seem to focus on the same thing – just finding a way to be active in the social space. However, they’re missing the big picture: just by listening alone, and measuring sentiment around their products, brand, competitors and industry, they are tapping into a market research tool, with almost unlimited possibility.
At the very foundation of social media is the concept of listening. What do you tell clients who come to you about the importance of listening?
To me, Listening is King and Content is Queen. To gain a competitive edge, financial services companies need to use the power of social listening to find out who their community is, and what they want to know. Then they can start to engage with their community, provide efficient customer service that will create long-lasting relationships, and begin to share relevant,
useful content within their network that will give them credibility and influence within their community.
Metrics are historically not a function of communications. When we look at the people who make up the executive suite they come with a history of working with spreadsheets, financial dashboards and concepts like Economic Value Added and various financial ratios. How have metrics in branding and social media changed things for communicators?
Although most companies have a tough time determining the ROI of social media and tracing it back to their bottom line, metrics in social media have given companies a way to not only measure how often their products, brand and competitors are being mentioned throughout the social space – but they can measure the sentiment around it – and who is talking about it. This is an unbelievable resource that just can’t be compared to any focus group or market research program.
B2B companies need to be watching industry and competitive trends. Competitive intelligence and understanding your industry is key to knowing your share of voice within your industry and how you can tune your products to better serve your clients. Having a clear understanding of your industry and what is trending within it, you will have the tools to generate leads. From a media relations/ crisis management perspective, keeping an eye on what is being said about you and your shareholders will put you way ahead of the game.
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