The world of social media marketing can be complex. Because it’s a relatively “young” branch of marketing, many company leaders in established industries are still getting up to speed on best practices and even vocabulary. This can pose issues. When you confuse important terms, for instance, you jeopardize your goal of deploying marketing messages that will truly resonate with your customers and prospects.
Such is the case with social sellers and social influencers. Though they’re two distinct strategies in marketing, they’re often misconstrued. So let’s clear up the confusion once and for all so you can choose the best strategy for your financial institution as you head into 2019.
Social selling is a method of humanizing social advertising by putting a real face to a message. Think about it like this: A company trains its employees to represent the brand on individuals’ social media accounts, thus empowering employees to form authentic relationships with customers while also educating, promoting, and even troubleshooting.
Social influencers, on the other hand, are outside personalities who are paid by a company to represent the brand on social media. Social influencers are often appealing because consumers have perceived them as trustworthy advocates, but increasingly, brands are realizing that consumer trust is waning and that influencer marketing isn’t a viable long-term strategy.
An Obvious Choice
In my opinion, banks should not hitch their wagons to social influencers. Influencers might work well for fashion or other retail brands, but they don’t have the intimate industry knowledge necessary to be a resource to banking customers. Furthermore, banks are especially vulnerable to consumer mistrust. To use social media to its full potential, you need to use it as an educational, connective tool, rather than a commercial canvas.
Social selling, on the other hand, is the difference between thought leadership and promotion, content and commerce. By amplifying your bank’s message through your own employees, organic reach increases and your bank’s representatives become trustworthy figures.
Maximize Your Social Selling Strategy
In order to set your social sellers up for success, it’s important to take a few key steps — not the least of which is keeping a library of approved content. Due to regulations surrounding banks, approaching social media with an “anything goes” attitude is not wise. In fact, it can result in devastating fines from Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Everything your army of social sellers posts must be grounded in compliance. This is where having a library full of approved, relevant content is super important.
It’s also critical to match personal posts with an effective cadence by establishing a social media workflow. This means plotting the ideal journey from idea to post and making clear to each member of your team his or her role in that journey. This should also protect you from compliance issues while making everyone feel engaged and involved.
If social selling still sounds daunting, it might be time to employ the help of a social media platform like Gremlin Social. Our solution can schedule, monitor, and organize your team’s social posts — and it can deliver data to help you make sense of how it’s all working together. What makes Gremlin Social amazing for banks, in particular, is that it’s the only American Bankers Association–approved social media tool, meaning you don’t have to worry about compliance.
Research shows that social selling isn’t just good for your brand’s reputation; it actually makes individual salespeople 40 percent more likely to reach and beat their revenue goals. For institutions wishing to connect with their audiences on a real, helpful level, building a team of social sellers is the obvious choice.