Interest Groups, Games, and Social Media: Why Should a Wealth Manager Care?
27 April 2012
I have seen several impressive examples of wealth managers leveraging social media technology by using games and establishing interest groups/public communities to expand its relationships with clients. For example, HypoVereinsbank has created a Facebook page and a “Youth Culture” blog, which features fashion discussions, concert ticket giveaways, information on upcoming festivals and on art collections at the bank, etc. Wells Fargo has been very active in setting up interest group blogs not only around wealth management-related topics (College budgeting for students, retirement blogs, etc), but also on the environment (“Environmental Forum”), and on museums (Wells Fargo History Museums Facebook page). Citi Private Bank is also offering a social media network to the children of UHNW clients (“NextGen” clients), which features functionality as diverse as allowing users to rate restaurants. I was recently asked to assess the usefulness of these sorts of social media endeavours: “Why would any client care about what my advisor or my bank has to say about fashion?” My response to this question is very simple: This client doesn’t care what his bank has to say about fashion; he cares about what his peers, whom he met exclusively through the bank’s social networking site, have to say about fashion. Firms developing these sorts of social media services are not relying on them to enhance the advisor/client relationship; instead they are hoping to increase a sense of loyalty and connection between clients, and in turn, become reliant on the wealth management brand that has enabled this connection to be formed and maintained through its sponsorship of the portal/community. Furthermore, many firms are still collecting valuable data through these seemingly irrelevant games, interest topics. For example, while Citi Private Bank provides NextGen clients the ability to rate restaurants, they also send quizzes to these users to complete that the bank uses to score and assess risk tolerances. This allows advisors to begin building profiles for these NextGen clients. It is admittedly difficult to analyse ROI for these of social media endeavours. However I believe that such tools provide vital “know you client information”, and may increase the points of connection between the client and the wealth management brand. Now, a client not only has to consider his relationship with his advisor, but also to his peers, and to the brand that provides the connection between peers.