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July 30, 2018

How Social Media can Connect Advisers with Clients

3 keys to success in this new digital era.

Employee Benefit News

Note: This article first appeared in Employee Benefit News on June 15, 2018.

One of the biggest questions on the minds of financial services company leaders is how they will continue to remain relevant to today’s increasingly digital consumers. They know social media offers tremendous opportunities for engaging consumers, but many struggle to know how to do it effectively.

A 2018 study conducted jointly by Life Happens and LIMRA found more than a third of Americans (34%) — and more than half of Millennials (54%) — are likely to ask for recommendations for an insurance broker or financial adviser on social media. At the same time, the study found most consumers (73% of Millennials, 69% of Boomers and 64% of Gen Xers) still desire a personal connection with a professional when buying insurance.

This means brokers and advisers remain critical to the way insurance and financial services companies market their products and services, engage consumers and sell. However, how they go about it needs to look much different than it did 10, five or even one year ago.

The key to success in this new digital era is to marry sophisticated technology with real-life human beings to create meaningful connections between advisers and consumers. To do so effectively, retirement specialists should focus their social media strategies in three key areas:

Micro-Targeting

Targeting is not a new concept to marketers. In more traditional advertising channels, such as television, ad messages are delivered to a wide range of consumers with the hopes of reaching many who fall into a particular target market.

Mobile and social media advertising, on the other hand, allows marketers to get far more honed on the characteristics of a target audience and deliver ads only to that audience. No wonder mobile ad spending will surpass television this year to become the U.S.’s leading advertising channel.

With the number of social media users worldwide predicted to surpass 2.5 billion in 2018, it’s absolutely critical that ads are targeted to individuals who are most likely to engage. Fortunately, finding those individuals is easier than ever because of data and the wide range of targeting options available. Social media platforms allow advertisers to target ads based on consumers’ locations, demographics, interests and behaviors. When these targeting options are used in conjunction with well-informed content and creative assets, campaigns will better resonate with consumers.

About half of consumers shop for insurance based on life events. Say, for example, a newly married couple just moved into their first apartment. Micro-targeting allows an insurance company to reach that couple with a highly relevant offer, such as for renters insurance, at just the right time to add value to their lives.

Localizing

As pointed out above, meaningful, human relationships still play a critical role in financial services. One of the best ways to create these relationships is to connect with people on a local level. Consumers may not have an intrinsic connection with a national brand logo, but they can create a tangible connection with an adviser who offices down the street.

Localization allows companies to meet people where they are and make their brands more relevant and helpful. Consumers also benefit because they are able to learn about products and services that are physically nearby and easy to access, and it gives them greater confidence in their decision to work with the company.

Ads perform best if they are not only localized to the serviceable areas of a company’s adviser base, but if they are also delivered from the adviser. In fact, we found that an ad shown from a local adviser performs up to 250% better than the same ad shown from a corporate brand.

Scaling

It’s probably no surprise that micro-targeted, localized ads outperform ads that paint with a broad brush. But your home office marketer may be asking, how can that be done efficiently on behalf of thousands of advisers? And for good reason.

It can get incredibly complex to manage social media advertising for 1,000 advisers serving 1,000 different local markets. In the Facebook advertising world, that means there could be 1,000 different business pages to manage and launch campaigns from.

Most marketers would be sweating at that thought. They often think they’d like to be able to do local advertising on behalf of their adviser base, but when it comes down to it, it’s just not scalable. And that’s true… without technology.

There are powerful technologies available today that allow marketers to efficiently scale micro-targeted, localized ads on behalf of any number of advisers. If your marketing team isn’t using them today, ask them what they’re waiting for.

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