Is Facebook really an essential marketing tool for financial services firms?
Yes and no. Every financial services firm, especially independent entities without the visibility and name recognition of the big international finance players, should have a well-curated, active Facebook presence.
That’s not the same as making Facebook the centerpiece of your digital marketing operation. It only means that you ignore Facebook’s visibility-boosting tools and captive audience at your own peril.
Given that some degree of Facebook engagement is inevitable for your firm, you might as well make the most of it — and make it as efficient as possible. Follow these guidelines to improve value for your Facebook followers, reach new ones, and convert more of your audience as you go along.
1. Focus on Educational, Informative Content
Facebook isn’t the best place to publish original longform content. That’s what a blog is for, or bloglike platforms like Medium and Substack and even LinkedIn.
Facebook is a good hub for you to share or tease original content, both created by your team and by others in your field. The Facebook page for Asiaciti Trust, a financial services firm serving high-net-worth clients across the world, shows how this could look in practice. The external articles and native content the firm shares on its Facebook page clearly align with its broader mission and are designed to appeal to its core audience.
2. Link Back to Your Main Website
This seems almost too obvious to mention, but you’d be alarmed by the number of companies that produce otherwise excellent Facebook pages without linking back to their websites. Even if Facebook is your primary “digital storefront,” you should have a separate website, if only to keep competitors from snapping up the domain. If most people find you through Facebook, but your website has value of its own (staff directory, more detailed service menu, a blog), then your Facebook page must include that URL.
3. Include Multiple Ways for Users to Contact You (Not Just Facebook Messaging)
This is another obvious-but-often-overlooked Facebook “must.” In its own guide to setting up a Facebook business page, Facebook stresses the importance of including multiple contact options (as well as some other features listed below) and offers step-by-step instructions for doing so.
What you don’t want is a situation where your clients almost exclusively contact you through Facebook Messenger, which is both unprofessional for a high-touch financial services provider and extremely inconvenient for whoever monitors those messages.
4. Respond Promptly to User Messages
…And this is why it’s inconvenient to use Facebook Messenger as your primary point of contact. It’s inevitable that you’ll receive some messages unless you disable the function — which is not advisable — but you (or those responsible for monitoring your Facebook presence) don’t deserve to be bombarded at all hours with messages, the vast majority of which won’t generate new revenue for you.
All that said, you must respond promptly to any messages you do receive. Failing to do so raises legitimate questions about the level of service you provide.
5. Post Opening Hours, If Relevant
Opening hours are useful for current and especially prospective clients even if your business doesn’t welcome walk-ins (or doesn’t have a physical open-to-the-public address at all). People who want to get in touch with you want to know when they should reach out and when to wait. If you value your free time, make sure you specify your active open hours rather than “12 a.m. to 12 a.m., 7 days a week.”
6. Link Out to Earned Media Mentions As Soon As They Come Online
If you’re like most financial services firms chasing coverage in local, national, and international media, your Facebook presence intersects very little with your earned media strategy. But as one of the most visible pieces of your online presence writ large, it still has an important role to play as that strategy begins to bear fruit. Make it a habit to post a link and snip from every earned media mention on your Facebook page, and periodically link to your “media mentions” website page if you have one.
7. Link Back to Marketing and Editorial Content You’ve Posted Elsewhere
Facebook is a good platform for cross-posting original content from elsewhere, too. Again, it’s not a proper publishing platform, at least not for in-depth longform content likely to establish your firm as a financial thought leader. But its visibility makes it impossible to ignore as a general publicity tool.
8. Schedule Routine Updates and Information Posts in Advance
If you use Facebook in a personal capacity, you’re well aware that it can take a lot of your free time.
The stakes are higher when you use Facebook in a professional capacity, diverting valuable time and resources from other objectives. So make your Facebook marketing operation as efficient as possible by using social media scheduling tools to work ahead in blocks. An hour of heads-down work every month should be enough to set out your planned Facebook content for the period.
9. Interface Regularly With Other Financial Influencers
Facebook will never replace LinkedIn as the primary digital space for professionals to network and collaborate. (Something else might, but not Facebook.) Still, many of your peers and competitors use Facebook as a marketing tool, so look for ways to mutually benefit from your shared presence when possible. Content collaborations, recommendations, livestreams — the sky’s the limit.
Facing the Facts
Facebook comes in for plenty of criticism, much of it warranted. But that doesn’t mean you can or should ignore the platform’s powerful marketing potential.
You shouldn’t go all-in on Facebook as the centerpiece of your marketing strategy either. That’s not the correct move for most financial services providers, not with so many other (and often more appropriate) tools to reach prospective clients.
The secret is to use Facebook efficiently and to take advantage of simple features that can significantly improve your Facebook presence’s ROI. From super-quick to-dos like ensuring your followers have multiple ways to reach you to ongoing projects like interfacing regularly with other financial influencers, these efforts will pay off in the long run.