The financial sector has only belatedly jumped onto the social media bandwagon. However, as more companies all over the world craft solid online presences, and in an era where social networking sites are already primary sources of information, financial companies don’t want to get left behind. Thankfully, the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority released Regulatory Notice 10-06 in 2009, which allows financial companies to utilize social media within a set of rules.

Contrary to popular belief, social media is not limited to the younger generation. Let’s take a look at the numbers: According to the February 2012 report by Pew Internet & American Life Project, 80% of American adults (aged 18 to 65+) use the Internet. What’s more is that 64% of these adults are using various social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).

Talk about tapping into a potential client base! If you deliver quality services, who knows how far one good recommendation from a satisfied customer will go?

For financial companies out there, here are four epic social media strategies you can use to your advantage:

1. The Facebook Timeline

As of December 2011, Facebook boasted 845 million active users. Imagine the grand scale of complaints Zuckerberg and his team received when they announced the mandatory Timeline change. Despite all naysayers, however, the new Facebook Timeline is bound to change ALL personal and business-related pages. You might as well make good use of it.

Financial companies can benefit from the Facebook Timeline through:

  • Better promotion for the company by highlighting cover and profile photos, as well as the “About” section. Timeline also allows readers to browse through significant company milestones.
  • More active engagement with readers, as the new Timeline now allows private messaging, and tracking for company-related comments.
  • More control over the content you wish to highlight by pinning interesting contents on top of the page, changing post dates or increasing photo sizes.

2. Pinterest

Although Pinterest was only launched in August 2010, it was already listed by Time Magazine as one of the “50 Best Websites of 2011.” Now with over 10 million users, a recent study by Internet Marketing Inc. showed that Pinterest’s growth momentum is even better than that of Facebook and Twitter at the same point in their respective histories.

Being a more visually-centered social site, you can take advantage of Pinterest by:

  • Using the “re-pin” function, which is the Pinterest equivalent of Facebook shares and Twitter retweets. In fact, over 80% of overall pins are re-pins rather than brand new content. If you want your name to go viral, this is one of the ways.
  • Using web user-friendly materials, as the site banks on netizens’ short-attention spans. Through the use of images and videos, companies can share their events, products and other pertinent information.
  • Make images of your products known. If you are, let’s say, a known e-commerce portal that sells design checks unlimited, you would want to post images of your items in Pinterest. This might prove very useful, since once a good design gets shared and re-pinned by other people, you have instant backlinks leading to your site; not to mention free advertising by random people!
  • Enhancing your company’s branding. This platform can provide users a way to get to know the identity of your company. Considering how fast its user base is growing, Pinterest can generate much traffic to your site with every user click.

3. Google+ Blogging

By February 2012, Google+ has reached more than 100 million users. PlusBlogging allows Google+ users to tap the marketing potentials of blogging, which include a 55% increase in your site’s traffic through search engines and shares as well as a 63% increase in the effectiveness of online marketing just by establishing a good following in social sites. Those are a whole bunch of numbers your company can enjoy.

Through Google+, you can use PlusBlogging to:

  • Grow the number of your followers by adding more people in your Google circle.
  • Increase the amount of traffic in your website through the links posted in your Google+ page.
  • Increase the reach of your company’s branding by using the features of Google+, such as blogging, comments, mentions and reshares.

4. Twitter

As of March 2012, Twitter already has 140 million users. Although you may be limited to 140 characters per tweet, you can still greatly utilize the microblogging site through:

  • Relationship building/prospecting, as Twitter allows you to interact with the big names in the financial industry. You can use this platform to exchange ideas, be part of the online financial community or gather important information.
  • Market research by receiving feedback from users, whether negative or positive. Using mentions (@username) and hashtags (words or phrases with the pound [#] sign), you can monitor what people are saying about your company.
  • Branding, as the new Twitter design now plays up the profile section more than the old design.

Financial companies such as Wells Fargo, Chase Community Giving, Charles Schwab and a lot more have already made good use of social media. If you want to make your online campaigns successful, these four strategies can greatly help you.