He told us that one of the most critical aspects of social media marketing is how good it is at establishing trust. Trust is a critical factor in decision making in all markets, but none more so than the financial services industry. Sarah Nunnely, Senior Strategist at AML pushed Duarte on this point. She asked him whether social is still about awareness and engagement.
Social media is more than engagement
“No. It's way beyond that.” Replied Garrido. “I think it's about in one word, and I know that this is a buzzword and I'm always afraid of pushing too much on it, but it is about community.
“I remember when content marketing came up for the first time. I remember a lot of people were calling it a red herring of sorts and that there was really no value to it. They were wrong, obviously. Massively wrong. But, I think that community now runs the risk of being in the same boat.
“It is slightly becoming too much of a buzzword, but it is the most important thing to a marketer and to a company right now. This is especially true when it comes to trust, and even more so when it comes to financial services. What is more important to people than health and money, right? Those are the two those are the two things you don't want to mess with.
“Because of that, it is vital for financial services companies, for banks, for insurance companies to build relationships with communities. And, communities are no longer just your customers, right? They're a mixture of customers, employees, shareholders, even competitors and business partners. So, it's your whole ecosystem."
Community must not be self-serving
The shift from profit first to profit with purpose is well documented. Today's consumers, colleagues, shareholders and other stakeholders are holding corporations to higher standards. Businesses that can demonstrate a role more significant than employer-only in society will win the future. But, to do it, they'll need to embrace a community-first approach which includes a higher degree of transparency than many companies will be comfortable accepting. Social media is the tool for communicating transparently with community.
So, social media provides the platform for companies to reach their communities and build relationships with them. But its the message and the motive, not the medium that's hame changing. It is important for marketers not to treat community and communications as a self-serving discipline. Some marketers may be tempted to build communities with a purpose that serves themselves, not the community. Those kinds of communities don’t work in the long term because they are all take and no give.
Garrido continued: “I think this is partly because I almost see this as a layered shift in society, in capitalism, because there's a shift in social media that ties into a shift in marketing, that ties into a shift in capitalism. Because we are now in what economists call stakeholder capitalism. We went past the sort of Milton Friedman mantra where the point of a company is to deliver value to its shareholders.
“Now companies are looking at their whole variety of stakeholders as important communities to deliver value to.”
You can listen to the full podcast on your favourite podcast channel by searching for “Unicorny”.