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Smart social: pick your battles
posted in: Financial Wellness
by Jenna Allen

Smart social: strategy from our social guru

Business owners barely have enough hours in the day to do the basics for their business, so trying to run a stuffed social media strategy can seem overwhelming. Our social media guru Hope Linker talks about starting small and taking simple steps in the right direction to make an impact for your business on social.

1. Give me an elevator pitch on who you are and what you do for COUNTRY Financial.
My name is Hope Linker, and I’ve been here for a little over a year and a half as a Social Content Specialist. I manage our online community – which includes our COUNTRY Financial Connect blog and corporate social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. I also create social content for our financial representatives. I work with a lot of different teams to partner on content to ensure we’re featuring all sides of the company, different types of people, and a variety of charities and organizations we work with.

2. There are a lot of other social media platforms, can you give me your insight into why we’re using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and not others?
I think the reason why we’re on those channels right now is because that’s where our customers are. Each channel has a specific purpose, and we reach our customers in different ways through each channel. And those are the most popular channels as of today too, so that’s a big part of it as well.

3. Tell me a little bit more about Instagram, and why our company is branching out onto that platform. What you think the challenges are going to be, not only as a small business, but also as an Insurance and Financial Services business taking on Instagram?
Instagram is all about inspiration. So the goal here is to really make that channel stand out from the others. You’ll never see the same content on that channel as you would on the others. We might tackle the same topic on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, but Instagram will have a more personal, more relatable story behind it. We might do a video on Facebook, a link to a speech, whitepaper, or article on LinkedIn, a few live moments on Twitter, but our Instagram strategy will be more personal, highlighting the person or the story that we’re talking about. On Instagram, inspiration is really what thrives.

4.So is that something you really focus on when you’re on the different channels, giving different media a different spin, or a different play? Do you often use the same story in different ways across channels or do you try and use each platform for different pitches?
For the most part, we do try to tackle the same topic on each individual channel in a different way. However, there are situations where we do not. Some content may not play well on Facebook, but would be a perfect fit for LinkedIn. It’s all about learning what your customers are looking for on each channel.

5. Is that just like a time saving thing?
It's not necessarily to save time, but since our audience is fairly similar on each channel, there’s not a huge variety in demographics. We try to cater to the specific person that’s on LinkedIn, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So we’re just trying to think about each user’s behavior on the specific channel and try to tweak the message or tweak the medium that we are presenting it in.

6. So what are the benefits of working for a small company like COUNTRY Financial?
What I love about working for a smaller company is that I feel like I can really get to know the people and the stories that we are sharing on social. I think if I was representing a bigger company, there would be such a large quantity of content, numerous posts going out, and I wouldn’t really be able to get to know each individual or focus on each story as much as I do at COUNTRY Financial.

7. So it’s more personal, right?
Exactly. And I learn more about the company that way. I meet more people, and I think you can really see that in our content. You can see that our company is all about our people and our people really are passionate about the company.

8. So what advice do you have for other small teams working for small business social?
Within the first few months of working here I learned that the more personal the content is, the more engaging it will be. In order for people to invest in your social media channels, they need to see what’s unique to your company. For example, if you’re going to do a “Happy Mother’s Day” post, you can’t just post a stock photo of a mom with her children. It has to have a brand tie-in, so [you have to ask] yourself, “Why is COUNTRY Financial talking about Mother’s Day? Why do we care about Mother’s Day?” We don’t even post about holidays or pop culture topics unless we can find a clear brand tie-in. If you can find a specific reason why your company is touching on this topic, it will appear more genuine and relatable to your audience. Therefore, the engagement will rise. That would probably be my main piece of advice: Just to be human, be personal, and really show the faces and stories behind the people of your organization.

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