Using social media in the bridging finance industry is always challenged by the restrictions of internal risk and compliance processes and by external regulation.
How do you use social media in an environment where you can’t promote your services, advise people or identify customers?
For many the answer is to not use social media. But a number of companies in the bridging finance industry have taken a different approach – actually encouraging their employees to engage people on Twitter and LinkedIn.
The use of social media in financial services is always fraught with challenges. From the regulatory issues which guide what can and cannot be said by brands, to internal risk and compliance processes which feel at odds with the real-time nature of much communication online.
Different businesses have dealt with this in different ways and most can be placed in the following categories:
- Do nothing: Some have stayed away from social media altogether.
- Listen but don’t talk: Often quite detailed social media monitoring is in place across the business but no real engagement is taking place in response to this. The data from this listening may be being used in the business to getting a more rounded understanding of customers, the market, competitors and issues but it is not prompting engagement.
- Engage on a common interest: This is often a source of some great innovation in social media. Rather than engaging people about the brand, products or advice, firms have identified other, often more ‘lifestyle’ issues that they can engage their target audiences on.
- Engage on our products and expertise: This is an approach that many in the financial services industry are nervous of, and one that it is often discussed and debated within firms, with regulators and in the wider market. How do you engage people about your products and expertise in social media without falling foul of regulation or internal compliance issues?
Many financial services brands can get huge benefit from social media without having to engage people about their products and services.
If you are a bridging finance provider you might get a lot of benefit from educating people about short term loans or how they can be used; you might also use social media to tell the market about exactly what you will lend on and for how long.
If you provide broker services, you might create a peer-to-peer support and mentoring community so that you are seen by your customers as the single place for their business support, so they get broking services from you, as well as wider business support.
For many there are huge opportunities in social media without needing to talk about or ‘promote’ your products, services and expertise. The key to social media is engaging with your target market and we have listed a number of companies in the mortgage, short term lending and commercial finance industry below, that have successfully integrated the use of Twitter into their businesses: