Content on Twitter: tips for financial brands

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#DosAndDon’ts
By Susan Burchill, staffer. 6 July, 2017
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The latest Twitter research shows that its users have a 22% higher interest in financial services topics than general internet users. (So it’s not all about the Katy Perrys and the Biebers then!)

Who better to give some clarity around how finance brands should be using Twitter to connect with their audiences than Maeve McArdle, Twitter’s account manager for large financial services brands. In the first article in our series exploring the content that works best for financial brands, McArdle shares tips from the tweeting frontlines.

Where to focus your content energies

They look for financial services brands to post innovative ideas, improve the user’s knowledge/skills and help them stay up-to-date with the latest brand news.

McArdle says users who engage with financial services brands on Twitter care most about quality products, customer service and brands aligned with users’ own interests.

When it comes to refining your content, she recommends a three-pronged approach:

  1. Marketing – use content marketing, rather than a traditional approach to bring your product portfolio to life
  2. Sponsorship – extend your sporting events sponsorship into tweets
  3. Corporate communications – share your news, your financial results and messages from C-level staff

Strategy rules them all

“An overall strategy is crucial for success,” McArdle says. “It starts with a content calendar highlighting when you will post about key topics for your business and decide what calendar events are important for your business.”

Then she suggests working out which types of content will work best for these, for example, using tweet engagement in the run up to a launch or event, live video or video on a key day, as well as infographics and Twitters ‘moment’ format to summarise the event.

When it comes to an event where the outcome is unknown, like an election or budget announcement, McArdle suggests “planning for multiple scenarios when creating your content”.

With clickable elements like hashtags, URLs and usernames, “less is more,” she says. “Try not to include more than two per tweet; they can distract a user from the main message you are trying to convey, and draw a user away from your profile page.”

Hashtags must make sense to your users, first and foremost. “And don’t forget you can gain more reach by jumping on the back of a relevant hashtag, e.g. #GE2017,” McArdle says.

All tweets should include a video or image, and the creative content should complement the tweet copy: don't duplicate your message in the visuals. Text-only tweets should be avoided except when you’re looking to grow your follower base, e.g. ‘Follow us to keep on top of the latest insights on x, y, z,’ she says

And don’t forget infographics: they’re an engaging format to use to drive engagement and show a business’ insights/authority on a topic.

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5 things financial brands are doing wrong

There are five common mistakes being made by brands, according to McArdle.

  1. Brands are often not clearly aligned with what they are trying to achieve when they post. For instance, a business will run a tweet posing a question to users (to generate engagement) but is surprised when they don't grow followers on the back of the activity.
  2. They talk about running always-on activity but don't align budgets with this objective.
  3. They can be apprehensive about trying new formats, even though digital marketing is all about testing and learning.
  4. Brands sometimes pull activity too quickly, when the reality is that ad campaigns take a number of days to optimise.
  5. They forget about metrics! If measurement is important to a business, make sure this is all set up ahead of going live with the digital activity.

4 tips for standing out in users’ feeds

  1. Post regularly
  2. Provide information to your users that they otherwise wouldn't know about, e.g., business insights, corporate responsibility activity, financial market trends.
  3. Try different formats: images, video, live video, GIFs, infographics, polls
  4. If you have a customer service channel, split this off into a separate account and utilise our customer service tools including direct messages and customer feedback.

Best gauges for success

Which metric to focus on is very dependent on an individual brand, according to McArdle.

“Some will focus on follower growth in order to add credibility and life to their Twitter profile,” she says. “Others are interested in driving site traffic to blog pages, to a page where users can download a whitepaper or so that users can sign up for a webinar. Others are interested in growing brand awareness and preference.

“Banks, for example, will drive traffic to loan sign up pages, booking mortgage appointments, downloading their app,” she says.

Finance brands doing it well

“Brands that have a mix of branding and direct response advertising tend to perform better,” says McArdle. Such approaches will use a combination of video, tweet engagement, ‘moments’, corporate responsibility messaging and sponsorship. “They then have a more engaged audience to target with downstream messaging around blog sign ups, app downloads, mortgage appointments etc,” she says.

If you’re looking for some Twitter inspiration, McArdle cites numerous case studies (all documented on Twitter’s marketing hub). For example, Lloyds Bank used the hashtag #ForYourNextStep to create an emotional connection with audience segments, resulting in 4.1 million video views and 244,000 tweet engagements.

Allied Irish Banks supported the launch of a TV sports documentary, highlighting its sponsorship of the All-Ireland GAA Club, tagging content with #TheToughest and reaching 2.5 million promoted tweet impressions.

And Aberdeen Asset Management, title sponsors of the Scottish Open golf tournament shared video content from the tour and sent out 20 Twitter amplify tweets over four days, generating over three million impressions and more than one million video views.

[Full disclosure: Aberdeen Asset Management is a client of The Dubs]

Related Article: Get the Most From Sponsored Content - A LinkedIn Insider Tells How

Related Article: Content On LinkedIn - Finance Brands Win Back Trust

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When Susan was a youngster she didn't know what she wanted to be, but somehow she fell into advertising; then digital was invented so she worked on websites for a while. From there it was a small leap over to TV producing, scriptwriting, promo writing, and some copywriting.... Then when content marketing became a 'thing', she somehow fell into that. It's worked out ok so far - luckily she's always landed on soft things.