Financial services is well known to be a conservative industry, as well it should be. It is an industry that is highly regulated, as well as having privacy restrictions that limit how they can use social media. (Wilson, 2017) It is also an industry where trust is an integral part of growing and maintaining their customer base. Sun Life Financial has been providing insurance and financial services to Canadians for generations. These services today are often provided by advisors who have a degree of independence, however, they still represent Sun Life, which is why it is important for advisors to follow the social media guidelines set out by the main corporate body of the company. Having a consistent message across the company is an important aspect of maintaining customer trust.
Social media has become an important part of Sun Life advisors marketing plans. Facebook is the most popular social media platform that is used by the vast majority of clients across all age groups. LinkedIn was the second most popular platform but that was only for the 18-34 and 35-49 years age brackets. (S. Austin, personal communication, October 16, 2017). These statistics certainly have had real life validation from Sun Life advisors. One stated that they have seen upwards of 75% of new clients come from Facebook and another has had a great deal of success through endorsements and introductions on LinkedIn. (S. Austin, personal communication, October 16, 2017)
To promote the use of social media, Sun Life created a program to train advisors on how to use the different platforms effectively. The training program focused on how to create content, use content provided, build engagement with their clients, and maintain compliance with Sun Life’s social media policy. By using the training, advisors are able to reach new and existing clients through the networks of Facebook and LinkedIn. Current clients can ‘Like’ a Facebook page created by an advisor, or add the advisor to their LinkedIn networks. This simple means of engagement gives a level of credibility that friends of the client or colleagues may find reassuring if they were looking to find a financial advisor of their own.
The social media tips on the advisor information page focus on keeping things positive even when there may be some complaints or if someone disagrees with something posted. It is also important that the message conveyed using social media remains professional at all times because it could very quickly have an adverse effect on the advisor’s business and reflect badly on Sun Life as a whole. Social media is notorious for well-meaning but not well thought out messages turning negative quickly.
Lessons for Others
Social media has become an important tool for financial advisors. Sun Life needs to control the message delivered by the advisors even though advisors have a certain level of freedom in how they conduct their business. Advisors still represent the company and if customers see something negative on social media that was published by a Sun Life advisor, the Sun Life name would still be adversely affected. This is why Sun Life created free and easily accessible training programs for advisors so that they can use social media to their advantage to build their business but to also ensure that social media policy compliance would be easy for advisors to adhere to.
The consistent message from advisors gives customers confidence because they know their finances have the backing of such a large and well respected company. Individual advisors running their own social media accounts for their business, the customer can also have a quick and individual response that is an important aspect of the customer experience in the age of social media.
Industry: Financial Services
Name of Organization Contact: Simon Austin
Authored by: Christina Austin
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Cotton, Ann. (2015, February 5). Can financial services marketing meet the social media challenge? The Drum. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from http://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2015/02/05/can-financial-services-marketing-meet-social-media-challenge.
Eldridge, Richard. (2017, January 21). How Social Media is Shaping Financial Services. Huffpost. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-eldridge/how-social-media-is-shapi_b_9043918.html.
Groenfeldt, Tom. (2014, February 28). Financial Advisors Build Business with LinkedIn. Forbes. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomgroenfeldt/2014/02/28/financial-advisors-build-business-with-linkedin/#37bc34a56cae
Rodriguez, Daniel. (2013, August 29). Best Examples of Financial Services Social Media Marketing. Seismic. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://seismic.com/blog/post/best-examples-of-financial-services-social-media-marketing/.
Wilson, Claire. (2017, July 13). Social Media and Finance Brands – How Can You Make it Work? Digital Doughnut. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from https://www.digitaldoughnut.com/articles/2017/july/social-media-and-finance-brands-make-it-work.
Social Media For Advisors – Sunlife.ca. (n.d.). Sun Life Financial. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://www.sunlife.ca/slfas/Marketing/Social+media+for+advisors?vgnLocale=en_CA.
Sun Life Home Page. (n.d.) Sun Life. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://www.sunlife.ca/