The Financial Service Manager’s Guide to Twitter Ads

It’s not easy to communicate all that you do as a financial service with just 140 characters or less.

Even if you know the medium inside and out, Twitter can be a challenge in this industry—especially when it comes to promoting your services.

The truth is, many financial firms are constrained. Twitter is all about free expression—yet you can’t say what you want in a market capacity because of regulations and compliance rules. Futures and equities firms may even need to receive approval on marketing items including ads on social media like Twitter.

No guarantees, no absolute statements, no superlatives—the list goes on and on.

How is a financial service firm supposed to operate Twitter ads in this environment? Let’s take a closer look.

What Financial Services Need to Know about Twitter Advertisements

Let’s start with a brief reminder about the infrastructure of Twitter. Twitter functions primarily on Tweets and Re-Tweets. These are limited to 140 characters or less, a hard-and-fast rule that even financial services can’t eschew.

The problem? Financial services tend to need a little more explanation than 140 characters, which is the equivalent of about thirty words.

Imagine if you had to advertise only by telegram and you start to see the problem.

That presents financial services like yours with two key problems:

  • Staying up-to-date. Getting traction on your Twitter ads means staying current—people click based on what’s going on now. If a topic of the day happens to be the grains markets in the Corn Belt, your outdated Twitter ad may not get the traction you need.
  • Being compelling. You have a lot to sell when it comes to financial services, but thanks to advertising restraints, you’re limited in what you can say. You have to create compelling content in this environment while still working within those constrictions.
Running Twitter Sponsored Ads: A Primer

Before you tackle the specific issues of financial services, it pays to know Twitter sponsored ads inside and out.

You have three primary vehicles for advertising here:

  • Promoting your account. You can purchase ads based on “Cost per follower.” This is a great way to avoid some of the constraints that come with advertising your financial services, since your profile will simply show up as a suggested “follow” for more accounts on the web. And since you only pay when someone follows you, you have some assurance that you’ll see a return on your investment show up in the numbers.
  • Promoting your Tweets. So long as you keep your tweets within the bounds of financial service regulations, there’s nothing wrong with promoting a specific tweet to gain more traction. This is ideal for promoting specific links and blog posts. You can also try to promote time-sensitive tweets on specific markets, but you’ll have to remember to end each campaign quickly.
  • Promoting trends are costlier—think of them as the “Superbowl ads” of Twitter. For now, we’re going to focus on the previous two strategies.

Once you understand these tools and how to use them, you’ll have a much better grasp of which tweets you should promote. This is particularly true for financial services, which have to work under strict marketing regulations to begin with.

If you haven’t already, make sure you devote at least 30-60 days on Twitter to better understand which tweets tend to “land” with your specific audience. Twitter makes its Twitter Analytics platform readily available with absolutely no installation or setup required—all that’s requires is that you already have an account.

Twitter Analytics will introduce you to concepts such as mentions, replies, and which tweets of yours are getting the most response. As you develop a sort of “sixth sense” here, you’ll have a better chance of promoting the tweets that will have a greater impact on your followers.

Before You Promote, Make Sure You’re Worth Following

One of the chief mistakes many people make—including those in financial services—is to begin promoting their Twitter account with very little to show thus far.

Think of Twitter promotion a little like content marketing: you have to have something to give to your audience first. Simply asking for follows for the promise of interesting tweets down the line isn’t enough.

Here are some tips for making your financial services Twitter page more engaging:

  • Tweeting out industry-specific links is a sure way to catch a few eyes. One caveat here: you don’t want to simply become a “Re-Tweeter” with nothing original to say, either. Find the balance that offers your followers value.
  • If you can create specific, customized graphics and charts that demonstrate a specific point, you’ll offer something very valuable: unique numbers. This is particularly powerful in financial services, where insights like these are always welcome.
  • Don’t stick to just one category of tweet. Mix it up. After re-tweeting a link, send out a graphic the next day. Rather than sending out a constant stream of original thoughts, simply weave them in to your regular schedule.

After some time, you’ll be able to check your Twitter analytics and find out which kinds of tweets are working best for you. Over time, you should notice that your viewership grows. Once you’ve achieved that, you’re ready for advertising.

Getting Your Twitter Pricing Strategy in Place

Once you’re ready to start with sponsored tweets, it’s time to weigh an additional variable: price. As anyone in financial services knows, it all comes down to what you’re willing to pay—and what value you can get out of it.

In their Twitter Advertising Guide, SearchEngineWatch.com recommends starting at $1.50 to $2.20 if you’re running a cost-per-follower campaign. Others recommend a little lower, say the $1-2 range.

The key here: patience. You don’t want to get caught up in acquiring new followers and over-spend your way to failure. Grow slowly and use those numbers to learn what’s most effective for your financial service firm. This is a process, not a singular goal to be achieved.

Once you have your system in place, keep one final word in mind: tweaking. Tweaking your system over time allows you to make use of all of those numbers coming in through analytics. The more you advertise, the more knowledge you buy. Don’t let that knowledge go to waste, and your Twitter advertisement experience will be better off.