Hootsuite’s Social Media Trends Report for the Financial Sector



Hootsuite’s Social Media

Trends Report for the

Financial Sector


Social media adoption in the financial services sector isn’t

slowing. It’s accelerating, especially as clients use social

media to research financial products, evaluate financial

brands, and connect with advisors. Hootsuite’s financial

service report examines industry trends, tracking how

financial organizations can increase their reach and

revenue on social channels.

Whether being reminded to buy travel insurance with

a funny Facebook video to engaging with an advisor on

LinkedIn, social media now occupies a central role in

creating connections with customers at every stage in

their buying journeys.

In 2016, we saw the financial service industry adopt

social media communications as a primary marketing

function with social media spend rivaling broadcast

advertising budgets. In 2017, banks, financial brands,

and insurance companies will accelerate their adoption

of social channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and

Facebook to deliver a human touch to the customer

experience at scale.

In particular, forward-thinking organizations will continue

to expand social outside of the marketing department,

extending campaigns from corporate communications to

include advisors, influencers, and employee advocates.

In this report, you’ll learn how to align your social media

strategies with new consumer behaviors. From employee

advocacy to social advisors, You’ll learn new ways to

connect with your customers and increase revenue.

Table of contents (click to skip to a section)

How advisors will use social networks in 2017

Overview of social media usage in the financial


Peer-to-peer media outpaces traditional channels

Key strategies for the financial sector

Consumers turn to social media to research

financial products



How advisors will use social networks in 2017

LinkedIn remains king for prospecting and publishing.

For financial service professionals, LinkedIn will remain the central channel for prospecting and connecting.

With the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft in 2016, expect to see LinkedIn invest heavily in content

discovery and social selling. LinkedIn wants to be the number one place that professionals go to read

industry news and stay connected. Advisors should take advantage of LinkedIn’s content platform, sharing

expert advice, writing blog posts, and engaging with clients.

Facebook gains professional adoption.

In the past, Facebook was seen as a personal network for family and friends. However, more advisors are

combining their LinkedIn and Facebook strategies, building their networks and sharing content on both

platforms. Paid social media ads are a clear advantage here—they are simple to create, easy to track, and can

reach a targeted audience.

Twitter usage climbs for branding.

A study of financial organizations by Putnam found that only 12% of respondents named Twitter as their

primary social network. However, advanced advisors are using Twitter to build their brands and distribute

content. Twitter is also indexed by Google, making it essential to fuel local discovery in search engines. The

next step for advisors is to take full advantage of Twitter’s real-time focus, sharing updates from conferences,

publishing videos, and boosting organic reach with paid Twitter ads.

Instagram adoption remains low.

Citibank, JPMorgan’s Chase Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, and MasterCard are some of the early financial

service brands on Instagram. We’re seeing more adoption of Instagram in financial services. But we

recommend advisors master LinkedIn and Facebook before investing resources here.

Snapchat helps to distribute content to millennials.

With 8 billion video views per day, Snapchat is key for reaching 18-34 year-olds. However, the financial sector

is still inactive on Snapchat and best practices need to be established. Brands such as NASDAQ, Goldman

Sachs (they use Snapchat to recruit young employees), and MasterCard are early adopters to follow and

study. Snapchat’s IPO in 2017 will mean a greater focus on advertising options, improved audience targeting,

and content discovery partnerships with major brands.



Overview of social media usage in the financial sector

Social media adoption increases among advisors

According to Putnam’s study of 1,018 financial

advisors across the United States, advisor adoption of

social media is at 85 percent in 2016. More importantly,

80 percent of advisors say that social media has brought

them new clients.

Social media is now broadly integrated into advisors’

business-building strategy. Adoption over the past

four years has increased or held steady.” As Putnam

discovered, social significantly shortened the time it

takes to find new prospects, helping advisors work more

efficiently than traditional marketing and networking.

Accenture, a global professional services company,

conducted a similar study. They polled 652 financial

advisors in the US and Canada. The study concluded

that social media usage is now mainstream in financial

services and 64% of advisors reported that they used

social media to communicate with clients.

From a global perspective, social behaviors are not

slowing. According to GlobalWebIndex, 98 percent of

online consumers (age 16 to 64) say they have visited or

used a social network within the last month. As revealed

in GlobalWebIndex’s 2016 report on social media,

“digital consumers have an average of almost eight

accounts, a number that has doubled since 2012.”

“In today’s digital world, relationships are forged and

nurtured on social media,” says Amy McIlwain, global

principal of financial services at Hootsuite and author

of the best-selling book The Social Advisor. “Financial

organizations need to embrace this shift and help their

advisors think ‘social first’ and grow their networks online

by connecting, listening and engaging.”

Quick win for LinkedIn

Level up with LinkedIn training.

Putnam’s research found that advisors who

mastered advanced LinkedIn features saw

“significant gains when compared with advisors

who stick to the basics.” They recommend

advisors move from a passive strategy (listening

and reading content) to active activities such as

paying for content placement, publishing updates,

and engaging with prospects.

Learn advanced techniques from social selling

experts from William Blair & Company, LinkedIn,

and Hootsuite. Our webinar shows you how to

build your strategy and the benefits of a scalable,

compliant social selling program.

Watch the webinar



Consumers turn to social media to research financial products

Ernst & Young Global Limited’s 2016 Global Consumer

Banking Survey studied 55,000 consumers in 32

countries. They found that 82% of consumers go online

first to research a product. This research is increasingly

happening on social channels. For millennials, social

networks are only six percentage points behind search

engines as the number one place to research brands,

as found by the research firm GlobalWebIndex. “The

older the person,” says GlobalWebIndex, “the more

wedded they are to search engines; conversely, the

younger they are, the more likely they are to turn to

social platforms and or mobile apps.”

Similarly, Edelman’s research of over 30,000 global

consumers shows that peers directly influence

purchases. Peer recommendations are the most

critical in the evaluation phase of the purchase journey.

According to Edelman, 75 percent of peer influence

happens at the moment of truth—such as a prospect

asking friends on Facebook whether they should

trust a particular bank or transfer investments to a

new provider. In particular, peers help prospects 1)

overcome concerns 2) navigate purchase decisions 3)

and warn friends and colleagues about any risks.

77% of financial advisors

say client demand for

digital tools and channels

is increasing.

Source: Accenture

54% of financial advisors

believe their firm is

providing them the digital

tools to meet client


Source: Accenture

62% of financial advisors

use social media when

interacting with clients.

Source: Accenture



By being active on social channels, advisors can

shape and influence these digital research journeys.

As Accenture puts it, “the advisor increasingly must

be focused not so much on selling products, but on

providing advice—helping investors make sense of this

expanding world of investment options, particularly

around those that help clients achieve their investment

goals and those which meet the respective needs for

the most important stages of their investing lives.”

But as consumers research financial products and

compare brands online, advisors are expected to add

new value. For example, the Accenture study cited

above found that 88 percent of advisors agree that

clients are better informed about financial products. As

a result, 35 percent of advisors report that clients are

more likely to question their advisors’ advice.

Customer perspective

How Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management scales social selling

Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, a premiere global, boutique wealth

management firm, uses Hootsuite to securely bring their investment advisors on

social media through a centralized platform.

Their investment advisors use social to build relationships with their clients. It’s not

that they use social to directly close a deal. But social is a part of their selling toolkit.

For Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, social selling is not a new set of tactics

to teach your sales team. Instead, it’s a way of using those time-tested selling skills

and amplifying them with social.

“This technology gives our advisors the confidence to deepen relationships and

grow their networks online by connecting, listening and engaging, knowing that the

technology manages any compliance and regulatory concerns,” said Alley Adams,

manager of digital strategy at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management Canada.

Interested in hearing how other financial institutions use Hootsuite?

We’ve collected case studies, webinars, and strategy resources for the financial

sector here.



Peer-to-peer media outpaces traditional channels

On a global scale, we’re seeing what Edelman calls an

inversion of influence. In the past, brands relied on

mass media communications to reach and persuade

customers. However, Edelman’s Trust Barometer

reveals that two of the top three media sources

consumers use to gather news and information (TV,

search, and social) are now peer-driven media.

According to Edelman, consumer trust in financial

organizations increased from 43 percent in 2012 to

51 percent in 2016. But as the study notes, financial

services remains the least trusted industry in their global

study. “Trust is too fragile, and today’s financial services

climate is too unpredictable for companies to rest on

their laurels. The industry needs to continue to be

dynamic and double-down on trust building solutions.”

To build trust and influence buying decisions in today’s

customer journey, every voice counts: employee

advocacy, consumer reviews, and peer-to-peer sharing.

75% 37%

2 of the 3 top sources

consumers use to gather

news and information are

now peer-to-peer media.

Source: Edelman

75% of global consumers

cite peer influence in the

moment of truth.

Source: Edelman

37 percent of global

internet users turn to

social networks to research

brands or products.

Source: GlobalWebIndex



Key strategies for the financial sector

What can your organization do to address these changing consumer behaviors? Here are the key strategies we’re

seeing across Hootsuite’s global customer community including financial service brands such as OCBC Bank,

Tangerine, and Cover-More Travel Insurance.

Earn consumer trust with employee advocacy.

Edelman’s analysis of the financial service industry

found that employees are key to gaining trust with

consumers. In financial services, employees are

trusted more than CEOs, senior executives, activist

consumers, academics, and media spokespeople.

Consumers look to employees for the following

information: financial earnings and operational

efficiency, business practices crises handling, and

treatment of employees and customers. As a result,

employee advocacy has become an essential strategy

for financial organizations. In 2017, the voices of local

influencers and everyday advocates—employees

and friends of employees—need to be encouraged

and amplified. With the evolution of compliance

and security solutions, we’re seeing financial

organizations embrace advocacy and harness the

influence of peer-to-peer media.

Empower advisors with social selling tools and


Whether you’re building a social selling program or

scaling employee advocacy, it’s key to remember

that social media isn’t a new activity. Social connects

with what your advisors and marketing department

already does. It’s the same principles applied in the

digital world. For example, maybe an advisor sees

that someone changed jobs on LinkedIn and uses

this ‘money-in-motion’ moment to book an in-person

meeting. Success in social media is a blend of offline

and digital activities. Invest in training and tools to

help advisors succeed.



Expand social media beyond marketing

departments with social APIs.

Social APIs are increasingly valuable as financial and

insurance companies move away from monolithic

systems to a broader ecosystem of best-of-breed

cloud-based platforms. With Social APIs, social media

can now move outside of the marketing department.

This means advisors, employee advocates, and

corporate communication teams can all contribute

to the organization’s social strategy. But this also

opens a new challenge in sharing analytics as you will

have multiple tools in multiple departments. We’re

seeing more financial service brands figure out how

to connect the dots. In 2017, financial organizations

will look at social as a holistic strategy with the need

to share content, compare data, and tie together


Lead with social CEOs.

Half of the general public do not trust CEOs in

the financial service sector, says Edelman. They

recommend CEOs at financial service brands be

vocal and visible, especially on societal issues such

as income inequality and public policy. The study

revealed that 8 in 10 of global consumers want

CEOs to share personal views and express their

values. Being a social CEO helps to close the trust

gap, leveraging authority, expertise, and humanity to

benefit your company.

Solutions to help

Employee advocacy

Boost your organization’s organic reach with employee advocacy. Hootsuite

Amplify unites thousands of advisors, sales teams, and employees on social. With

a secure and integrated platform, this employee advocacy solution makes it safe

and easy for financial service brands to empower advisors on social channels,

while remaining compliant.

Learn more

Social selling

Regulations surrounding the use of social media in financial services means social

selling is an underused tactic for financial advisors and other FSI professionals.

With Hootsuite’s Social Selling for Financial Services course, you’ll learn how to

use social media to identify critical ‘money-in-motion’ events, provide value to

clients and prospects, and source additional leads while adhering to industry


Learn more



About Hootsuite Enterprise

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