The marketing departments of superannuation funds are facing a growing array of communication choices with the old fashioned press release of declining importance.

Delegates at the AIST’s Marketing Ideas Exchange in Melbourne heard from Paul Cheal, general manager and partner at Honner, on how super funds can reach their members through social media or self-publication.

He cited good examples of social media use as being the ‘your superannuation explained, but with dogs’ campaign from the ATO on Buzzfeed. This uses popular dog videos to take the public on a step-by-step guide on how to amalgamate their super accounts.

You know about super, right? It’s money your employers put away for you while you’re working, for you to live on when you retire.

Another recommendation was the annual Facebook campaign by HOSTPLUS to promote its hospitality scholarship award for young chefs.

The importance of evolving methods of communication were backed up with a statistic cited by Cheal, that people aged 18-49 spend more time watching Youtube than TV and that the public now gets more news from their mobile phones than from their PCs.

Accordingly, he urged super funds to think about their own social media campaigns, but also about creating their own infographics or Apps.

Other emerging media trends are the growth in native advertising, where instead of adverts, publishers accept placed articles for a fee – he noted that Fairfax now has a dedicated department for native advertising.

You might have super sitting in an account that you don’t even know about.

He also raised the question of whether super funds could be publishers themselves.

“Why would you not be the publisher yourselves if you have 500,000 members, the AFR has only 60,000 readers,” he said.

General advice included ensuring all communication programs aligned with the business strategy and were measurable. Cheal said funds should consider what tone they wanted to adopt and how this would change for each type of media used.

Lastly, he advised funds to always try and respond to journalist queries. “It is better than no comment, which is like an admission of guilt,” he said.