Retirement Plan Services & Social Media: Where are the Opportunities?

In early May, my colleague Elizabeth Sosnow and I had the pleasure of presenting to a group of retirement plan service providers at Wilmington Trust’s Partners for Success 2010 event. The purpose of our discussion was to introduce attendees to social/digital media strategies that can meaningfully impact their business.

To ensure our presentation was as relevant to the audience as possible, Elizabeth and I spent a considerable amount of time taking a look at how organizations in the retirement services industry (think asset managers, TPAs, RIAs, trust companies, custodians, record keepers, etc) were harnessing social media to develop and enhance relationships. We conducted a social media audit of 15 organizations in the retirement services industry – five asset management firms, five plan administrators and five RIAs. Through this assessment, we found five distinct ways that organizations in this space – and other industries – can better use social media (to the extent allowed by their compliance departments) to further their business objectives:

  • Choose your topic parameters and understand why they matter: When thinking about your brand online, make thoughtful decisions about the types of information/content you’ll be distributing and commenting on. Do you want to be known for your expertise around ETFs? Or your in-depth understanding of regulations impacting clients? Whatever your topics are, choose them wisely – and then stick to them. You’ll be more likely to create meaningful dialogue with clients and contacts online if they know what type of information they’ll receive from you.
  • Use significant content libraries to engage clients, prospects, influencers: Nearly every organization we audited has a great deal of interesting, insightful information to share. But much of it is static – it’s not being shared in ways it could. Here’s a few ways to move away from “brochure-ware” to deployable, actionable content:
    • Create an RSS Feed that acts as advance-warning system
    • Use Twitter to identify early-adopters and promote content
    • Turn pre-approved content (such as whitepapers and bylined articles) into blog post
  • Search Engine Optimization Strategy: Compliance challenges can be restrictive in this industry. If your organization can’t communicate with clients and potential clients via social media sites, consider a Search Engine Optimization Strategy, and help your company get found by the right people.
  • Seek out influencers, create a dialogue: There are a number of individuals in the retirement services space tweeting and blogging about industry news, regulatory updates, etc. If you’re constricted by compliance or regulations, use the “lurk and learn” strategy to learn what influencers in your space are talking about. Here are a few “tweeps” to get you started: @RetirementUSA; @RetirementRsrch;(CRR at Boston College); @401khelpcenter; @401kplandesign; @401kPlanInfo; @401kWire; @401k_Fiduciary; @KiplingerRetire; @aiming2retire (Emily Brandon at US News); @PJPIII (Robert Powell, MarketWatch)
  • Leverage LinkedIn — Your personal brand is a critical part of the sale: The adage that people want to do business with people they know still rings true, and now it’s now easier than ever to stay connected. Join retirement-related LinkedIn Groups, ask questions, recommend colleagues and link-in to your contacts.

Check out our slides here, and drop us a line to let us know what you’re doing to engage clients and potential clients through social media strategies. We hope to get some video of the presentation up soon.

To reach Meghan:

Phone:   212.840.1661
Twitter: @meghanlantier
LinkedIn: Meghan Lantier