July 2013: Social Media Revisited

This Annuity Monitor Report serves as a follow up to our original look at this topic, which was in August of 2012. This Annuity Monitor Report takes a closer look at the current social media strategies used by the firms in our coverage set, with a specific focus on new ventures or features provided over the course of the last year. The social media offerings were analyzed on the following key criteria:

  • Accessibility of the social media accounts from the public website.
  • The types of social media accounts actively managed by firms.
  • The overall quality of the social media accounts, including the content posted, frequency of updates and level of user interaction and engagement garnered by the firm.

Overall, Annuity Monitor firms hold a strong and active presence in the social media world, particularly on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The vast majority of the firms covered in this report effectively utilize various social media platforms to promote the firm on a whole as well as the products and services provided. This sentiment is reflected in the grades, as over half of firms earned a mark of B+ or higher.
 
Over the course of the last year, firms have put a noticeably larger emphasis on their social media efforts, and this can be seen through the enhanced accessibility and promotion of the social media accounts on the public websites. Seven of the 17 firms covered in the report provide homepage quicklinks to the various social media pages, and two currently feature homepage imagery promoting the accounts.
 
The range of content posted on firms’ social media sites varies greatly, including posts focused on financial products, general economic commentary, current events, promotional videos, healthy living tips and much more. Since we first visited this topic in August of 2012, we have seen a marked increase in the amount of firms that utilize themed sales campaigns, Facebook contests, open-ended discussions and interactive games or tools within the various social media accounts. One of the most interesting aspects of social media is how firms deal with customer satisfaction that is projected onto social media platforms. For the firms that allow “negative” posts to remain visible, we noticed a significant attempt to address the comments in a non-confrontational manner. Additionally, posts that praise the firm are often greeted with appreciative responses from the firm, thanking the user for their business.
 
Additional key findings include:

  • Four firms offer an exclusive public site social media page.
  • Every firm links to their Facebook and Twitter accounts from the public site.
  • Eight firms enable users to share public site content on at least three social media platforms.
  • 41% of firms incorporate sales themes and campaigns into their Facebook pages.
  • Nine firms tweet at a frequency of at least twice a day.