Most financial services firms cultivate a buttoned-up image. Whether they’re multinational investment banks serving the world’s biggest corporations or small wealth management houses with a close-knit client network, they believe they’ll do better if they stay low-key.
They may be correct. That doesn’t mean they can’t invest in targeted outreach and client engagement, however.
Many turn to Twitter, which tends to attract subject matter experts seeking conversation (and controversy). These eight Twitter engagement strategies work well for financial services firms — here’s how to use them effectively.
1. Tweet About What You Know
If this isn’t the Golden Rule of Twitter, it’s up there.
As tempting as it might be to chase engagement and clout, you — or whoever’s tweeting on behalf of your firm — should really stick to subjects you know cold — subjects on which you can plausibly position your firm as a thought leader.
To see how this is done, check out the Twitter handle for Asiaciti Trust, a fiduciary services firm serving the Asia-Pacific region. (More on how to handle those in a moment.)
2. Follow the 4-1-1 Rule
The 4-1-1 rule is one of the oldest in the book. There are variations, but the basic idea is that no more than 17% of your tweets (give or take) should be clearly promotional in nature.
The most common ratio is this:
- 1 promotional tweet, such as a plug for a new product or service
- 1 retweet of a relevant piece of content, such as tweet by another financial firm linking to a report they published
- 4 tweets featuring original, nonpromotional content, which can include links to content sourced elsewhere and produced by others
Follow the 4-1-1 rule for a gentler, more engaging Twitter experience. One that draws in prospects because you satisfy their curiosity, not because you give them the hard sell.
3. Use Hashtags (But Not Too Many)
We’ve definitely passed “peak hashtag.” Heavy hashtag use is seen as gauche and pushy, and more importantly, it just doesn’t work. Consistently stringing four or five hashtags together is a great way to turn off Twitter followers.
That doesn’t mean there’s not a place for hashtags in your tweets. People (and especially media types) use them to search for trends on Twitter and find content to promote. A single well-placed hashtag that makes sense in context can get you noticed.
4. Engage With Other Finance Influencers (And Punch Up)
Twitter works best as a collaborative, social platform. Use it to find and engage with other influential people and firms in the finance space.
Yes, even people and firms you consider your competition. This industry is big enough for everyone, and practitioners that cultivate thought leadership by engaging with others tend to gain outsize visibility within it.
Carve out 30 minutes per week to engage with your peers — and, importantly, people and firms you aspire to be. This engagement can be informal, like replies to off-the-cuff tweets, but be sure to follow up if and when those you’re engaging with reciprocate.
5. Don’t Breach Your Clients’ Confidence
It’s vital that you successfully navigate the line between insight and invasion of privacy. You’re operating in a heavily regulated, relationship-based industry here, and one breach of client confidentiality could prove fatal to your business.
Again, avoid the temptation to chase easy engagement or clout. It might gain you followers and shares and retweets in the short term, but it’s a dangerous game to play long-term.
6. Host a Monthly Twitter AMA
“Tweetchats” used to be all the rage in the early and mid-2010s. Twitter noticed this and made some belated investments in follower engagement infrastructure — the most notable of which has been Twitter Spaces.
Set aside an hour per month, plus a few more for prep time, to host an “ask me anything” session on Twitter Spaces. Make clear that no question is off limits as long as it’s not abusive or inappropriate in a professional setting. Many of your competitors aren’t doing this, so over time, you’ll develop a reputation for tackling the hard questions that your peers might not.
Twitter Is Just the Beginning
Twitter isn’t the only social media platform your financial services firm should target, of course. LinkedIn is arguably even more important because it’s purpose-built for the sort of professional engagement that client-facing businesses crave.
LinkedIn is very different from Twitter, but similar strategies can work on both platforms. Authentic, engaging brands tend to rise to the top in both places, which is good news if you can stay true to your founding values as you grow your audience.