Until a few years ago, the worlds of managed savings and social networks would have been considered completely incompatible.
On the one hand, a sector such as finance is decidedly technical and serious. On the other, we have social platforms, an “innovative” tool that revolutionizes how companies communicate by eliminating the distance with customers. Today, these very different worlds are coming together.
In fact, although financial intermediation has been one of the last areas to apply new digital tools to their communication strategies, today, it’s something that companies, especially large ones, can’t do without. This is especially true for social networks and for a rather obvious reason: by now “everyone is on Facebook.”
An irreversibly social society
Everyone is on a social network. This is confirmed by the annual report Digital 2019 published by We Are Social in collaboration with Hootsuite, which provides a cross-section of the digital sector in Italy and worldwide.
In particular, it shows that about 55 million Italians have access to the internet, i.e. over 9 out of 10. And this number is constantly increasing. This is accompanied by the widespread use of social networks, which have become an integral part of Italians’ daily habits. It is not surprising that there is strong growth of users on social platforms, now at 35 million, +2.9% over the previous year.
Moreover, it is not only the number of users that increases, but also the average time they spend connected.
It turns out that Italians spend about 6 hours a day online and a third of this time is spent on a social platform. In addition, in Italy most users are mobile users, in the sense that they navigate, download, and interact, preferably, using a smartphone. In Italy there are about 86 million active mobile connections and that among those who use social media, 31 million do so from mobile.
In addition, according to a 2018 survey by We Are Social, the number of mobile users out of 59.33 million citizens is 49.19 million in total, or 83 out of 100. Among other things, these users stay connected to a mobile phone for more than 2 hours a day, which is more than a third of the total time they are online.
It is not surprising that Italy ranks third among all countries in the world for the penetration of unique mobile phone users compared to the population, behind only South Korea and Hong Kong.
1. The audience widens
Given the above data, one thing is clear: integrating your communication strategy with a social strategy is essential because it means significantly extending the number of customers to whom you can target your communications. Secondly, using social media allows you to enrich and differentiate your customer base.
Social networks are a valuable tool for intercepting the younger segments of the population, which, among other things, appear to be the most digitally advanced generations and those who are also interested in capital investments, sometimes even risky ones.
Also, according to research conducted by the Demia per Assogestioni Institute, one in three European savers is willing to invest and buy financial products on the main digital platforms (Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon). This availability increases with age: in the case of Millennials (those 18-34 years old) it rises to 39% while it stands at around 34% for Generation Y (ages 35-54).
In addition, consistent with the above, 54% of Millenials believe that they should be able to manage their savings using a smartphone.
Therefore, if any asset management company wants to effectively capture the attention of younger investors and persuade them to invest their financial resources, it must necessarily begin to monitor social media and create content that is mobile-friendly.
On the other hand, this is no small feat, given that the potential market for European savers to respond to digital managed savings offers is estimated to affect some 55 million people between the ages of 18 and 54.
This also applies when it comes to financial education. Eighty-two percent of Italians (with a large majority of Gen Y and Z), declared themselves in favor of a savings and investment program that is available through social networks.
2. Real financial education
In Italy, financial education is an important theme. Despite the fact that Italians are interested in such topics, financial literacy in the country is quite low compared to other European countries.
This is where social partners can help. Savings management companies and financial intermediaries, in general, can create informative content using their own institutional communication channels. In this way, it is possible to use innovative tools to communicate about financial issues without lowering the quality of the information.
In other words, it means that social media (if used correctly) can make financial education more effective and make the world of investment and managed savings more accessible and relevant. Also because, if you look closely, this would intersect with the normal habits of younger customers-users. The latter, in fact, typically use more than one platform to seek investment solutions and use all the digital tools made available to them to improve their understanding of financial processes and their level of well-being.
Among other things, increasing the awareness of customers allows them to feel more involved in the processes of choice and investment. And this is fundamental, given that customers are becoming more and more prosumers, i.e. people who want to take part in the process of creating, selling, or distributing a product or service.
Personalization, which has been widely used in other sectors, is now an essential reality for all businesses, including for managed savings.
In fact, it is expected that personalized digital solutions for investment and customer experience will be the norm for meeting expectations of all, and possibly even providing the ability to directly manage (perhaps even from one’s smartphone) financial resources.
Social platforms are ideal for giving customers what they are looking for: a personalized customer experience.
Among other things, personalization on social is easy for 2 reasons:
- First, by being on these platforms, savings management companies have the opportunity to get to know their target customers better by analyzing what’s being said online in conversations about savings. In research on the relationship between managed savings and social networks carried out by Blogmeter, 17,000 messages related to managed savings were monitored for a total of 6,800 unique authors. From this, we can understand that platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all the other social networks offer an incredible pool of data just waiting to be collected and interpreted.
- The second reason why personalization is easier on social media is related to new technologies; the main one, in this sense, is Artificial Intelligence. One way is to employ intelligent chatbots, capable of learning from the behavior of users and of satisfying or even anticipating their needs. Another option is robo-advisors, a new generation of financial advisors, which require a low level of human contribution because they provide for the automation of the investment process, thus being able to offer an increasingly wide range of affordable, high-quality personalization solutions. Obviously, in the latter case we leave the territory of social networks in the strict sense, but we still remain in the context of digital platforms in general.
4. Social means a better Customer Experience
In addition, the use of social media by asset management companies helps provide the customer-user with better customer experience. This is thanks to personalization, but not only.
Social protection means, above all, reducing the gap between society and consumers. The latter, in fact, can at any time directly contact their consultant for information or to ask a question and have the confidence that they will receive an answer.
In the asset management industry, one of the most important elements is trust. A consultant who is always available, who listens to the customer’s needs, and who is able to provide personalized advice: these are the ingredients of memorable customer experience.
The digitalization of processes, products, and services in banks’ digital strategies must go hand in hand with an increasing focus on customers and their needs and expectations, even in the banking sector. Find out all trends to know in 2019, download the infographic: