Posted on January 7, 2019
Founded in 2011 by Professors in Canada, the social media honeycomb model was established to review the benefits of social media, why consumers engage via social media and what this then means for brands.
As they explored social media, they unearthed the seven key building blocks which determine what social media activity your company should consider, and the benefits of specific social platforms. These building blocks comprised of; identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationship, reputation and groups.
In this blog, we will analyse each of the building blocks to understand the potential social media can present to a financial services company looking to strengthen their social media strategy.
This is the first of the building blocks and is used by companies to help establish what extent they require users to reveal their identities. In light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into effect on the 25th of May 2018, it is important that companies that require individuals to share personal information in any format, whether that be offline or online; ensure that the data is protected, but also accessible to those individuals at any point in time. Therefore, should your social media strategy or campaign include the obtaining of personal information, ensure that all data handling and processing procedures are established and cemented within your organisation.
The conversations block of the social media honeycomb model represents how companies communicate via social media. This includes, but is not limited to; determining the length of messages that you are sending to potential clients on social media and the context of the message. Consider the relevance of your message and the benefits of the social media platform you are using; and finally, take into account that individuals on social media like when a company comments on a relatable post or engages with them by sending a response. Not only will the latter position you as responsive, but also adds the aspect of a ‘human-touch’ reminding individuals that there is someone behind the screen.
As a financial services marketer, it is essential that when adding the element of communication to social media strategy, that you then take into account;
- Velocity – the speed at which you are responding to your audience. If someone from your audience group raises an issue online, they usually expect an acknowledgement within 24 hours. Alternatively, you may analyse the speed at which your target audience is responding to a campaign. You can do this by measuring the number of mentions, tweets, comments, likes or shares received within a specified period.
- Joining – this is the level of interaction and engagement that you need to receive on any social media campaign to deem it successful. It is important for all companies using social media to review this aspect of the conversation block as it allows you to make decisions on how to join in on a conversation over social media. For instance, you could try to engage with your audience on a 1-2-1 basis or in a group or forum setting, or you may decide to eliminate the ‘conversation’ block from your strategy altogether.
- Manipulating – as a company, do you want to have control over the nature of the feedback you are receiving, or are you looking for 100% organic feedback? When considering how conversations take place on social media, you’ll need to decide in advance whether or not you will be controlling comments, or allowing organic feedback for future analysis and improvements.
While all of the above aspects are important, velocity and manipulating are the two pillars that present most of the risk to companies especially within financial services; as there is already the element of caution due to the nature of the product and/or service provided.
Sharing represents the extent to which you would like users to exchange, distribute and receive content via social media. This is particularly important when planning for a campaign that utilises social media as the main platform as you need to consider the type of content shared; such as sponsored content, organic posts or videos. Sharing a variety of content could be beneficial to your campaign by maximising your reach and potentially increasing your return on investment. However, be mindful that in the same way social media can help to find you potential leads, it can also attract individuals who aren’t relevant to the campaign, product or service that you provide.
The presence block framework represents how much other users can know about each other – this is more of a personal setting that differs based on an individual and the level of privacy that they have implemented across their own social media profile. The presence block isn’t necessarily a consideration for financial services brands delivering campaigns on social media platforms
However, it is important to consider that your audience search for information published on social media to learn where a company is located and also the availability of that company; what are your business hours? It may seem obvious to include this on campaigns, but is often not included on social media campaigns and overlooked.
Do you have a structure and flow in place of how you want to get to know your clients or audience? Is this something that is important to you? Does your staff know how to manage calls if someone responds to an ad? These are just some of the questions that you as a marketer should be considering. Not all CTA’s on a campaign include a telephone number. Most include a button to either follow a company, like a page or even download content. However, what about those that visit your website or company social media page and decide to call; what do you do then?
This is of paramount importance for any company that wants to execute a social media campaign or to increase their reputation/presence across their social media platforms. For example, the number of followers, connections and/or friends that a brand has will have an impact the level of engagement and interaction you receive through your marketing, but also for any future campaigns you wish to execute.
The groups’ functional block, depicts the extent to which users can form communities and sub-communities under a post. More commonly associated with Facebook, it is worth noting as a company that, you need to ensure the social media platform(s) you are choosing to explore are fit for purpose. For example, if you do not want communities or groups to be formed based on a post, then Facebook wouldn’t be the best platform to use – whereas, if you wanted to spark debate or obtain opinions, then this would be an obvious choice.
In conclusion, each of the seven building blocks is designed so you can execute the best social media strategy to achieve your marketing objectives, and understand what you need to consider before choosing the right platform(s). You may find that upon review that social media is not what your company and brand need, or you may come to realise that not all social media platforms are applicable and your target audience is predominantly only accessible through one or a limited few. Each of the seven blocks has their benefits, their own considerations that need to be given and their drawbacks.
It is essential for companies within the financial services looking to implement social media to understand what channel to use and why. If you would like to discuss how to improve your social media strategy, Talisman would love to hear from you.