Social media is revolutionising the way we communicate, both as individuals and as businesses. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube – businesses are increasingly using them to communicate with customers and to gain interest from outsiders. The whole notion of ‘going viral’ never existed until these social media platforms were invented. Now, a video posted on YouTube can become a hit, watched by thousands or even millions of people because people share them within their own networks. With over 200 million Facebook users, and close to that on Twitter, these two platforms alone present great opportunities for businesses – and super funds – to capture interest and engage consumers. But how can the super industry use these tools effectively, and is there a real role for them in increasing member engagement?
Member apathy and engagement has long been one of the biggest issues facing our industry and one that funds continue to grapple with. It’s definitely a challenge to engage young members who are probably 40 years away from retirement and more concerned about paying off their university fees, saving for overseas travel, or saving for their first home. But while superannuation doesn’t register on their radar, Facebook certainly does, as any parent battling to get their teenagers to complete homework can attest. Given Facebook’s average user is a secondary school or university student, it’s the perfect medium for funds to attempt to engage young members and create brand awareness. HESTA Super Fund did this quite successfully in 2009.
The fund won AIST’s platinum communication award for its advertising campaign on Facebook, which targeted student nurses. The fund offered a freebie in exchange for students registering their details with the fund, and it was overwhelmed at the number of responses. While it’s not new to be able to target particular groups with advertising, social media allows businesses to do this instantaneously. Twitter, in particular, provides the perfect opportunity for businesses to communicate what they’re working on in nice, neat little soundbites. A number of funds are present in the ‘Twittersphere’ – Telstra Super, Care Super and HOSTPLUS are some of the most active – tweeting news, updates and new initiatives to their followers.