Lessons from the UK: Using education and social media to engage

BT 2023 UK Study Tour

BT’s annual study tour this year took advisers to the United Kingdom.

The five-day trip included meetings with advisers, investors and industry bodies. This short article is part of a series of key lessons learnt from the trip.

In the United Kingdom, many advisers feel they have a social contract to financially educate a broader audience beyond their own client base. 

It is a more difficult proposition in Australia where advisers need to err on the side of not giving personal advice without a Statement of Advice. But in the UK, some advisers have been very pro-active in their roles as educators. 

St. James’s Place (SJP) is a large British investment management company that is an adviser, a fund manager and a life insurance business.  

SJP estimates that its core advice market is around 3.7 million people, defined as those who want advice or haven’t got advice but have money to invest. SJP currently has 941,000 clients.

At the very top of its marketing funnel is building awareness. While it’s the marketing funnel, it’s also part of SJP’s social contract to operate.

For SJP it’s about building a community through educating and informing a large audience, and answering questions without jargon, in an approachable, professional manner. 

SJP uses traditional advertising as well as digital promotion of educational guides, particularly around small businesses. 

It uses social media regularly. 

Using social media

SJP’s primary target is white collar professionals, mostly via LinkedIn. The top of its marketing funnel involves ‘awareness’ – answering questions and informing an audience primarily by advertisements, social media and email. 

Typically, an awareness campaign includes two social media posts per week, and they offer articles or links to information.  SJP also uses paid media.  

Next level is ‘interest’ – offering solutions and making comparisons. It includes guides, presentation slides and bespoke websites. 

The narrowest part of the funnel is conversion, and that involves benchmark reports, tax health checks and valuation reports.

The group segments clients (and potential clients) based on data acquired from digital campaigns, into backgrounds, hobbies and interests and expectations. It then uses that information when marketing to individuals.

Thrive Money 

London-based First Wealth uses its social media site Thrive Money to help provide financial education to as many young people as possible to improve financial understanding. 

First Wealth posts regularly on Instagram about basic financial literacy concepts, and profiles individuals, anonymously, explaining their incomes, savings plans and goals. Viewers can align to those profiles and judge themselves against them. 

The best users of social media have clearly targeted campaigns to not only capture opportunities to give advice, but also to drive brand recognition. 

A lesson from the BT UK Study Tour is that firms should act as educators of the broader community, and social media is an efficient avenue to do so. 

Have a dedicated resource looking after social media and curating messages. That person may not do it full time but should be a social media native. 

Another tip is to have a bank of content ready for social media use. A constant drip feed of content is optimal in social media, rather than a surge of content, followed by a dearth of new posts.

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