Super funds should use social media to back charities, support campaigns, to initiate competitions, but not necessarily to talk about superannuation.

Speaking at the AIST Legal Symposium in Melbourne, Sharon Nelson, joint managing director at Spark Green the digital agency for finance, praised funds such as HOSTPLUS for the way it had piggy-backed on the ice bucket challenge, and Sunsuper for the way it had used the Ride to Conquer Cancer on its Facebook to build up an online presence and  community.

“If you do not have an idea then don’t do it,” said Nelson. “If you want a Facebook page think about the campaign message that you want to share; is it a community based campaign or a competition that will create involvement and a two way dialogue with your members? You want to be seen as supporting your members and community”.

She added that super funds should make social media their “friend” and such charitable campaigns were a first step.

Joel Clapham, general manager of communications and marketing at Media Super, emphasised the role of listening on social media and the need to participate in conversations that were already happening.

“There are two opportunities for super funds on social media: listening and talking,” he said. “Listening is actually more important as you get a sense of how some people feel and it informs what a fund may want to say. What a golden opportunity it is that we can ‘listen’ to what people say and where appropriate, reach out and connect.”

Echoing Nelson’s points on making an impact, Clapham said super funds needed a personality on social media and occasionally a sense of humour.

The panel discussion in Melbourne also featured legal advice from Nicholas Pullen, a partner at HWL Ebsworth Lawyers.

He advised super funds to think of themselves as publishers when placing comments on social media and that a comment stating how good one of its products was might be construed as misleading.

He added, that there was a growing trend for legal cases over twitter and funds should put in place strategies to deal with disputes quickly and effectively.

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