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Being unsocial is no longer an option for the Financial Services industry

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Being unsocial is no longer an option for the Financial Services industry

Amy McIlwain, Global Industry Director, Financial & Insurance at Hootsuite

The core foundation of the financial services industry was founded on relationships and trust, but with the recent influx of technology such as artificial intelligence and robo-advisors, the industry is at risk of losing its human touch. Maintaining authenticity with customers does not need to come at the expense of innovation though. And this is where social media can play a role.

Social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have historically been avoided by financial services.

This has largely been driven by fear of making a mistake which could put an organisation at risk. However, in today’s digital society, not having an online social presence is invariably a lot riskier.

From generating new customer leads and managing queries, right through to attracting highly-skilled candidates, social can influence it all. With technology trailblazing through the industry, social media can no longer be avoided by financial services. Organisations which take a proactive stance online will see higher engagement levels with customers, and competitors will get left behind.

Let’s leave it to the marketers

One of the main pitfalls organisations face is the belief that social media is the sole responsibility of the corporate marketing team. Whilst these teams have specific expertise, they are not the only ones with social media profiles. With content posted by the corporate pages only, the organisations can seem out-of-touch and hard to engage with for customers. Employees from across the business, however, that post on social can be a positive influence on customers and co-workers alike.

Whether it’s an advisor, a senior executive or a member of the HR team, by encouraging them to share on social will help build and maintain a human image of the brand. With these voices (and not constant corporate monologue) talking on topics of interest, real connections can be formed. It’s easier to engage with a face and name than a brand and logo. Employee advocacy is one of the most effective ways to remind the world that the company is actually filled with real people.

Genuine customer connections are not the only benefit that employee advocacy on social has, it also impacts on perceptions of what the company is like to work for. For those considering a job move, or not, coming across an employee’s social page with posts speaking highly of the company is often enough to get people interested. A company that has a strong social presence with knowledgeable employees, why wouldn’t these potential candidates want to join the business?

Employees are only as good as their tools

Encouraging employees to post doesn’t mean they necessarily will do it. Buy-in is critical, but having a platform which makes it easy is just as important. If the process is time-consuming and complicated, employees will rapidly lose interest and that social strategy will be on its way out.

Organisations must invest in the right digital tools which require minimal training, rather than a hugely complicated onboarding process. If employees have to spend significant amounts of time figuring out the platform’s functions and features, it’s highly unlikely to be utilised in the long-term. It’s also important to provide an overarching strategy of what success looks like, so employees have a clear idea of the goals that need to be reached. Otherwise, it’s a free for all, and some departments will perform better than others which, for customers, looks disjointed and unprofessional.

Collaboration across departments is also key. In Hootsuite’s recent study, almost half of respondents said that there is no collaboration across departments – and more than three-in-four organisations use at least three different platforms to manage social media. With no clear mechanism in place to work together, the process can become inefficient with data existing in numerous silos. Adopting one social media management tool brings together employees in one place to allow for greater knowledge-sharing and collaboration on data.

Deciding which social media management platform to adopt requires a careful vetting process. It not only has to provide an easy onboarding process, but it should also provide a social listening feature. A platform which can alert you to the key trends and topics being discussed at any time, by a certain demographic, is invaluable insight for organisations. For instance, with insight around whether a certain demographic is buying a house, or perhaps going into retirement, provides the opportunity for content to be adapted to ensure it’s of interest to the customer at the time.

Being fearful of social media is no longer an excuse. Financial services organisations must adopt a social media strategy to ensure that the human element of their brand is maintained and built upon during a time where technology is being adopted in every aspect of business. The focus must be on how employees can become brand advocates, which can only be achieved with the right tools and strategy in place. Only then will your organisation be ready to make genuine and long-lasting connections with consumers.

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EU sets itself jobs, training and equality targets for 2030

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EU sets itself jobs, training and equality targets for 2030 1

By Jan Strupczewski

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Thursday announced goals for the 27-nation bloc to reduce poverty, inequality and boost training and jobs by 2030 as part of a post-pandemic economic overhaul financed by jointly borrowed funds.

The EU executive arm said the European Union should boost employment to 78% in 2030 from 73% in 2019, halve the gap between the number of employed women and men and cut the number of young people neither working nor studying to 9% from 12.6%

“With unemployment and inequalities expected to increase as a fallout of the pandemic, focusing our policy efforts on quality job creation, up- and reskilling and reducing poverty and exclusion is therefore essential to channel our resources where they are most needed,” the commission said.

The goals, which will have to be endorsed by EU leaders, also include an increase in the number of adults getting training every year to adapt to the EU’s transition to a greener and more digitalised economy to 60% from 40% now.

Finally, over the next 10 years, the EU should reduce the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 15 million from 91 million in 2019.

“These three 2030 headline targets are deemed ambitious and realistic at the same time,” the commission said.

The goals are part of the EU’s set of 20 social rights, agreed on in 2017, to make the EU more appealing to voters and counter eurosceptic sentiment across the bloc.

They say everybody has the right to quality education throughout their lives and that men and women must have equal opportunities in all areas and be paid the same for work of equal value.

The unemployed have the right to “personalised, continuous and consistent support”, while workers have the right “to fair wages that provide for a decent standard of living”.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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UK aero-engineer Meggitt eyes return to growth after pandemic slump

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UK aero-engineer Meggitt eyes return to growth after pandemic slump 2

LONDON (Reuters) – British engineer Meggitt said that it could return to profit growth in 2021 provided there are no further lockdowns, despite a weakening in the struggling aviation market at the end of 2020 and early this year.

Pandemic restrictions halted much flying globally last year and forced plane makers Boeing and Airbus to cut production rates, dragging down suppliers like Meggitt, which makes and services parts for such aircraft.

Meggitt’s underlying operating profit plunged by 53% to 191 million pounds ($267 million) in 2020, it said on Thursday, despite continued growth in its defence business which makes parts for military jets and accounts for about 45% of the business.

Meggitt, however, said it expected air traffic to recover in the second half of the year which would help it return to profit growth over the year, although its guidance for flat revenue disappointed analysts who had expected growth of 6%.

Meggitt’s Chief Executive Tony Wood said in November that he had expected flying to start to recover by Easter, but new variants have led to more restrictions and delayed the recovery.

“It has gone back a couple of months… it’s now very much in the summer,” Wood said of the recovery in an interview on Thursday.

Further in the future, Meggitt is positioning itself for the move to lower emissions flying, and its sensors and electric motors will be used on electric urban air mobility platforms, such as flying taxis, and in hybrid aeroplanes being developed.

But Meggitt said new tax breaks announced in Britain’s annual budget on Wednesday aimed at encouraging investment would not change its plans.

“Yes, it will be a benefit. Are we looking at any acceleration as a result specifically of that? Not really,” Woods said.

Shares in Meggitt were down 1% to 427 pence at 0943 GMT. The stock has risen by 50% since news of a COVID-19 vaccine last November, but is still down 23% on where it was pre-pandemic.

($1 = 0.7165 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Alistair Smout and Susan Fenton)

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UK’s Sunak will struggle with plan for tax hikes and spending cuts – IFS

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UK's Sunak will struggle with plan for tax hikes and spending cuts - IFS 3

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will probably have to offer concessions to businesses if he wants to be able to implement a big hike in corporation tax that is at the centre of his new budget plan, a leading think tank said on Thursday.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies also said it was very unlikely that Sunak would be able to deliver the 17 billion pounds annual spending cuts included in his plan.

IFS director Paul Johnson said if the plan was implemented as announced on Wednesday, Sunak would meet one definition of a balanced budget – borrowing only to invest – by 2025-26.

“The sad truth is that that would be a balance built on the highest sustained tax burden in UK history and yet further cuts in unprotected public service spending,” Johnson said.

“That is perhaps one measure of the difficulties presented by more than a decade of paltry growth followed by the deepest recession in history.”

(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)

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