Financial services providers are finally starting to get on board with social media marketing, an expert believes.

According to Anna Cotton, head of marketing at Brandworkz, the millennial generation was born in the technology age and therefore thinks differently about brands than older people.

As a result, she believes they typically take “little or no notice” of conventional advertising and are instead driven to purchase by customer feedback online.

Furthermore, she stated that they won’t register complaints with customer service departments and will instead have their say on Facebook or Twitter.

But since banks and insurance providers have typically ignored social media as a marketing tool, she believes there is a perception among younger people that these firms are not as “brand-savvy” as those in other sectors.

Indeed, she said millennials often struggle to think of anything that sets one financial services firm apart from another.

However, this state of affairs could be about to change, as Ms Cotton believes an increasing number of financial services companies are warming to using social media as a marketing tool.

She said the sector’s lack of engagement with the likes of Facebook and Twitter has been partly down to concerns about the “apparent lack of control within this media”, as well as “fears of breaking compliance and regulatory terms”.

Nevertheless, she stated that the financial services industry is increasingly recognising the need to “exploit social media as a strategic long-term investment if the crucial millennial generation is to be brought on side and retained”.

“Today, finally, the financial services marketing world is beginning to view social media as an opportunity rather than a hazard,” Ms Cotton commented.

Firms were advised that if they wish to truly be social, they need to offer content that is educational, engaging and suitable for sharing.

Ms Cotton said a willingness to have fun can also reap rewards, while she stressed that marketing campaigns don’t have to be geared towards persuading people to buy.

Instead, they could promote the brand through “discussion about how the particular product or service will enhance the consumer’s life”

Posted by Robin McCrink