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The biggest advantage social analytics offers is the ability to understand consumers in ways brands could only dream of in the past. For industries like financial services, which arguably inspires less social engagement, this window into consumers’ souls can be the difference needed to put a brand above its competitors.

The key here is social sentiment analysis – preferably powered by Next Gen AI technology for best-in-class speed and accuracy. When you use consumer sentiment and passion to guide decision-making, it’s hard to go wrong.

Here are five social media strategies financial services brands can put to work – with examples from the recent NetBase Social Media Industry Report 2019: Financial Services.

Brand Growth Strategies

1. Be an Expert
Consumers look to financial services brands for guidance on complex topics they don’t know much about. For a place like Morgan Stanley, promoting brand expertise via their analysts and reports has earned them the only climb in the rankings among the Investment Banking brands we analyzed. They experienced a 30-spot jump, while every other brand fell!

They’re mentioned a lot in news outlets as well, which boosts their thought leadership cred.

2. Be Relatable

Money isn’t always an easy subject – nor are other associated financial topics, like insurance. We deal with insurance mostly when things have gone wrong, which doesn’t leave consumers in the best of moods.

Maybe that’s why Insurance brands Geico and State Farm are having such success with relatable approaches like the animated Gecko, and “Jake, from State Farm.”

The former’s humorous commercials have inspired more than 10,000 people to declare they’ve “saved a ton of money switching to Geico.” The latter has generated memes and jokes on social, while posts from employees have struck a chord with social consumers as well. Both moved up several places in our rankings since the previous year.

Jake even has his own Twitter account

Brand Health Strategies

3. Stay on Top of Negative Sentiment
It’s easy for consumer complaints to get out of control on social, damaging your reputation. Ideally you want to know about issues when they are small enough to be contained or addressed. Bank of America found themselves in the midst of a perfect storm over the period we analyzed with a confluence of events that sent negative sentiment into a tailspin:

  • The Miami Herald reported that Bank of America was freezing the bank accounts of people they suspected weren’t legal citizens
  • A Tumblr post about the monthly fee charged for those who keep less than $1,500 in their bank account went viral – shared over 8,000 times
  • They stopped offering free checking accounts, adding to their already damaged reputation

This is why you can’t rely on metrics like mentions alone. Bank of America was mentioned a lot, all right – 500 times in original posts with the words “worst bank” and 12,000 times with the words “boycott” included. In a single year.

The only way to turn things around is to use real-time social monitoring to understand everything they can about the passionately negative sentiment, and make changes that will breed consumer love instead.

Competitive Analysis Strategies

4. Keep a Close Eye on Industry Trends
There’s nothing fun about being bested by a competing brand – especially one you never realized was a threat. We suspect several financial services brands were caught by surprise over the past year, as a number of others climbed the ranks by many places.

In addition to the Insurance brands above, some standouts in the Credit Cards, Banking, Crypto, and Payment Services brands rose above competitors this year.

Venmo rose 23 places to overtake PayPal, which remains in the #2 spot. Payment Services are hugely popular. Meanwhile, Crypto brands Bitcoin and new addition Ripple are right behind at #3 and #4, respectively. Things are changing in the financial services world – and brands not paying attention may find themselves dropping completely of the list, quickly.

Use sentiment analysis to understand what consumers love about these brands, and find a way to compete – or concede.

Consumers love it when you help them out

5. Use Social Insights to Do Better

Of course, there’s still merit to the classic idea of assessing where competitors are lacking, and doing it better. Going back to the Bank of America example above, any banking brand not using the insights shared by consumers to help their own brand is wasting an opportunity.

Offering free checking, or a no-minimum account, would likely sway disgruntled customers to your brand instead. Just remember not to give consumers any reason to start vocally complaining about your brand. Customer service is an area all financial services brands need to excel in to keep customers. But the specifics may be different for your audience than they are for you.

Be sure you put your audience first by listening to what matters most, and then using that info to guide your actions.

That’s a lesson for all brands, really.

Want to see how the rest of the financial services brands stacked up? Download the full NetBase Social Media Industry Report 2019: Financial Services today or reach out for a one-on-one demo of our sentiment analysis tools.