7 Ways Vanguard Drove Fan Engagement With ‘Invest Like You Own the Place’
By: Kristin Thomas, Manager, Personal Investor Social Media Team, Retail Marketing, Vanguard
November 18, 2019
When you think of financial services, references to pop culture and current trends are likely not the first things that come to mind. Yet in a recent campaign, investment firm Vanguard managed to leverage some pop culture staples, along with adopting a more relatable vernacular across social media channels. In its “Invest Like You Own the Place” effort, Vanguard’s social team empowered and engaged current and potential clients with a combination of bold red visuals, humor, contests and fan stories.
Kristin Thomas, manager of Vanguard’s personal investor social media team, was an integral part of the campaign, and shares her top takeaways below. (Thomas will also be speaking as part of The Social Shake-Up 2020, May 12-14–register today for the best rates.)
Tailor content to play to your audience’s interests and match channels to your company mission. Our main audience is investors, both current clients as well as prospects. Vanguard is mutually structured, which means that investors own the funds and the funds own Vanguard. Our investors are our owners. We wanted to tell that story in a way that would resonate with our owners and with all investors. On organic social, we tailored our content to align with our current clients, the channel demographics and the applicable brand pillar, which helps us stay true to our mission. On Instagram, for example, where we have a younger audience that is gender balanced, we are inspiring and supporting their investing journey. .
Be accessible—no matter your industry. Yes, we are a highly regulated financial services company. But we are human too. On social, our goal is to meet investors where they are and humanize our brand. Sometimes that means being more culturally relevant, modern, and timely—in a somewhat nerdy way. (We are self-proclaimed, proud financial nerds.) We’ve used references to Fortnite, Biggie and Rihanna. We’ve also engaged with fans using dad jokes and fun GIFs. We put a lot of effort into community engagement on our channels. Of course, most of the time we are very professional, but when the situation calls for it we aren’t afraid to show some personality.
Plan content distribution cross-departmentally. Repurposing and mapping out our content calendar took a lot of planning, coordination and frequent meetings. Not only were we planning across our social media channels, but we also coordinated with paid advertising. Additionally, we worked with a core team, synchronizing across other Vanguard business lines: This was a U.S. enterprise-wide brand campaign.
Weave evergreen and moment-in-time content for optimum engagement. For organic social, we took several approaches for both evergreen and tentpole activations. Evergreen content included new cover photos, bios, consistent color palettes and a refreshed style. For tentpole activations, we asked fans to share a photo with a red item in it using the #Fanguard hashtag in their post. In October, we celebrated Boss’s Day and did an “Invest Like You Own The Place” mug giveaway. You’ll have to check our channels to see what we have planned for November.
Experiment with online contests. We are lucky to have loyal fans, from the Bogleheads to the Facebook Group Friends of Vanguard. Working in social media, there is a lot of opportunity to test and learn. You know immediately when something doesn’t work. To be honest, we held our breath when our T-shirt post went up on Instagram. It was a new channel for us with a new audience. Thankfully it worked out: The T-shirt quickly had a cult-like following and generated a ton of user generated content for us. We now have #Fanguard Friday each week to show our clients as the heroes of our brand.
Build a user-generated treasure trove. This is still a work in progress. We are currently cultivating all of the user-generated content we’ve received from the campaign and creating an ongoing process to collect it. There are a lot of great quotes from clients that we are seeking permission to use. As those of us who work in highly regulated industries know, there are a lot of steps we need to take to be able to repurpose UGC. We try our best to do that quickly and authentically.
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