Confused.com head of PR and content explains to new media age about how financial services can use social media to convey personality and have fun.
Financial services company Confused.com has spent the last year experimenting with its social media strategy. In the future it’s challenges will instead be around integration and scale.
Head of PR and content Sharon Flaherty, who runs the social media strategy for the brand, shared some of the brands leanings with new media age.
What have been the key social media activities for you over the past few months?
We’ve tried a few things in social this year and my mantra has been all about throwing ourselves into the thick of it. We’ve been trying out different social platforms; different approaches and seeing what we like and what works. Some of the campaigns we’ve done include launching a house of horrors app on Facebook, a Pinterest competition about driving in heels, our 5 second challenge where we were the first brand to use YouTube Slam and our zombie attack and personalised birthday messages have gone down extremely well. But my recent most favourite social media campaign is our burglar experiment where competition winners were ’legal’ burglars for the day, which threw up some interesting video footage.
How important is social media to you as a brand?
It’s important. We all know how crucial content is in supporting and boosting SEO, but it’s not just about that. It’s also about engaging with online communities that you may not have crossed paths with before. It’s about making these communities aware of your brand and hopefully, liking your brand. That’s the beauty of social. By being sociable you become part of a conversation you previously would not have had permission to join. At the same time, you also get to reveal a little bit about the personality of the brand and get to be really creative.
How has that changed?
How we use social media at Confused.com has changed a lot in the last few months. Rather than just having a presence in Twitter, Facebook and YouTube we’ve began trying out various social networks to see which gives us traffic, which gives us engagement and cherry picking what works for us. We’re also becoming more daring with the social campaigns we’re doing, and that is a step-change. We’re now really beginning to show the Confused.com personality through our social activities and we’re revealing more of our sense of fun and humour as a brand.
As a finance brand is it difficult to operate in the social space?
Touch wood, I haven’t yet found it too difficult playing in the social space as a financial services company. Yes, there are some restrictions around promotions from the Financial Services Authority, and we have compliance to think about, but there’s still plenty of scope for innovation and creativity.
The notion that being a financial services company would make it difficult to play with social media is interesting, as on paper you can understand why people would think that to be the case. Essentially, a lot of people consider financial firms, particularly those involved with insurance, to be stuffy and boring. But that’s the beauty of social media. It allows us to take people by surprise and be sociable.
What are the main challenges and how do you overcome that?
I suppose one of the main challenges is wrestling with the fear that a social campaign could go wrong. What if something I thought was a really great idea actually isn’t and backfires? So in a sense, that’s a challenge.
But more importantly, the challenge for Confused.com is getting from where we are now with our social content to somewhere bigger and better. We’ve come so far, so quickly with our social campaigns but I want more. For example, what I really want for video is to move out of thousands of views and into the millions and that is going to be a challenge. I also want social integrated with above the line activity.
What are the trends or developments that you’ll be looking at over the next 6 months?
We have some interesting things in the pipeline and I’m looking forward to them coming to fruition. But what is really interesting is the appetite for content as a whole from consumers and how the desire to consume content continues to change and grow.
If you think about how many times a day you check your phone and consume content, no doubt it’s much more than ever before. It’s this increasing appetite that has led to the prominence of ‘the second screen’ and this is a huge opportunity for brands. If you think about trends we’ve seen recently with some brands pulling out of TV, it certainly suggests there are interesting times and changes ahead for the marketing industry. In a nutshell, social media is giving brands a fantastic opportunity to target and reach their desired audience.