SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hearsay Systems, the trusted leader in compliant digital communications and workflow solutions for the financial services industry, today released its 2019 Financial Services Social Media Content Study at the seventh annual Hearsay Summit. The much anticipated annual report analyzes the popularity and effectiveness of content across their clients’ social media programs. The report is the most comprehensive of its kind and reveals key insights about how financial professionals are using social media for lead generation, customer retention, and corporate and personal branding.
The 2019 Financial Services Social Media Content Study looked at social media data from 110,150 financial services professionals at 32 U.S. firms across four lines of business -- Life Insurance, Property and Casualty Insurance (P&C), Wealth Management, and new to this year’s study, Mortgage. The study analyzed 34,888 suggested pieces of content and over 9.6 million advisor and agent published posts broken into three standard categories -- Corporate Content, Industry Content, and Lifestyle Content -- as well as two hybrid categories -- Corporate-Industry and Corporate-Lifestyle. While suggested content published by field agents and advisors showed a slight decrease, engagement rates increased steadily from 37.8% to 44.7%. This would suggest that advisors and agents are honing in on specific content that is more targeted to the nature of their clientele.
Marketing and Sales Align: In a noticeable shift from last year’s report, the types of content published by sales professionals closely mirrored recommendations from marketing. For example, in Life and P&C insurance industries, high customer retention rates are essential to sustained premium growth. With industry-wide retention at about 80-90%, policies canceled or lapsed due to payment issues make up a significant proportion of overall policyholder churn. Replacing existing customers with new customers is expensive, due to both acquisition costs and reduced profitability. The gap between suggested and published content narrowed to less than 3%. Compare that to 2018, when the gaps ranged from 8.4% to 18.2% difference between suggested and published corporate content. Close alignment between marketing and sales professionals has led to more cohesive, balanced social media programs with better results overall.
Engagement Rates Rise: As social media programs continue to mature and advisors/agents became more comfortable utilizing the various channels, not only did the amount of total published content increase, but customer engagement also moved closer to nearly half of all published posts. The average engagement rate across the financial services industry was 44.7%, compared to 37.8% last year. This suggests that teams are becoming savvier and leveraging quality, well-rounded content that appeals to target audiences while working in concert with overall corporate objectives.
Lifestyle Posts Resonate Best: Lifestyle posts yielded a remarkable 85.5% rate of engagement, nearly 2x the rate found in the 2018 study. This year, engagement shot up even as the percentage of suggested and published lifestyle content went down. Lifestyle represented only 12.3% of the total content published, but received high engagement rates, suggesting that consumers appreciate authentic, less overt content. Although sales representatives seemingly don’t want to rely too heavily on lifestyle content, it is a highly strategic tool for cultivating new leads and customer relationships.
Corporate Content Dominates: While lifestyle content boasts the highest level of engagement overall, corporate-related content led the way in terms of sheer quantity of suggested and published posts -- 34.6% of suggested content and 29.2% of published content fell into the corporate category. Corporate and industry content were recommended and published at much higher rates because of the personal and name brand trust that is an essential part of the financial services industry.
Hybrid Content is the Future: Tracked for the first time this year, hybrid content showed tremendous potential because it allows teams to take a soft-sell approach. Considered hybrid because advisors and agents share a corporate name brand message while also imbuing it with industry or lifestyle content, 21% of suggested content and 29.1% of published content fell into the corporate-Industry hybrid category. As teams adopt more sophisticated content plans, expect to see the percentage of hybrid content take off in the next few years.
“Teams now grasp the power of social content to connect with customers and prospects. This year, organizations across the financial services spectrum both experimented with and refined their programs. They’re figuring out what works and evolving to meet their customers where they are,” said Donna Prlich, Hearsay Systems Chief Business Officer and General Manager of Social. “This study reflects the industry’s progress and highlights the best, most balanced social content diet in order to empower field representatives to inform, educate, and entertain their target customers, elevating their corporate and personal brands in the process.”
Because no line of business operates exactly the same, Hearsay examined how social media was used specifically in Life Insurance, P&C Insurance, Wealth Management, and Mortgage. Highlights of this deep dive include:
Life Insurance: Organizations in the life insurance industry published the second highest number of social pieces (3,695,889) and had the second highest number of total engagements (1,385,101), demonstrating a strong commitment to social content overall. Additionally, life insurance agents published the highest amount of corporate-industry content of any vertical (26.1%), while their marketing teams decreased their suggestions for lifestyle content. These factors likely contributed to low engagement rates for this vertical relative their peers.
P&C Insurance: This industry sector implemented a balanced approach by recommending similar percentages of corporate (29.4%), corporate-industry (27.1%), and industry (26.4%) content. Even though P&C marketing teams provided half the amount of suggested content as wealth management or life insurance teams, the balanced approach was rewarded as content was published many more times by P&C agents (average of 576.91 publishes per content piece) and received the highest number of total engagements (1,842,458) of all verticals.
Wealth Management: Similar to last year, wealth management teams leaned into industry and corporate-related content (42.1% -- the highest among all verticals). Despite its high publishing rate, engagement with this content was limited. By contrast, only 12.8% of all content published by advisors had a unique lifestyle focus, but it had an extremely high engagement rate of 125%, the highest of all verticals in this study. This reveals that wealth teams could improve the balance of the content they suggest and publish, as their followers are actively engaging with the limited lifestyle content they post.
Mortgage: In the first year looking at social content from mortgage companies, analysis showed marketing teams suggested the second highest amount of lifestyle content. It also yielded the highest average engagement rate of all verticals at 82.1%. Data revealed that publishing limited but focused content within this vertical is an effective strategy, as long as they post consistently enough to keep audiences engaged.
Learn more by downloading the full 2019 Financial Services Social Media Content Study at https://hearsaysystems.com/insights/.
Find out how Hearsay supports financial services organizations with their social programs by visiting www.hearsaysytems.com.
About Hearsay Systems
Hearsay Systems is reinventing the client experience in wealth management, property and casualty and life insurance with compliant digital communications and workflow solutions. Over 150,000 advisors and agents at the world’s largest financial services and insurance firms leverage Hearsay to engage with customers and build stronger relationships to grow their business.
With Hearsay Cloud for financial services, advisors and agents provide real-time, personalized and seamless client experiences across the right channel - social, texting and mobile - at the right moment. Automated, pre-built industry workflows for insurance and wealth management provide one-click actionable suggestions for targeted engagement. Built for the enterprise, Hearsay Systems connects data and every client interaction to corporate CRM systems and digital marketing programs – all on a secure, compliant enterprise-ready platform.
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