ING campaign aims for investors by way of bloggers

WILMINGTON, DE: ING Direct's ShareBuilder launched a social media campaign this month to coincide with the group's new TV ad campaign.

WILMINGTON, DE: ING Direct's ShareBuilder launched a social media campaign this month to coincide with the group's new TV ad campaign. The “Owners” TV spot calls on customers to take ownership of their investment future, supported by a free investment credits program throughout January.

The campaign is targeting new investors who might be wary of getting started, by offering up to 10 waivers of the firm's traditional $4 fee for each new investment. ING Direct's head of media relations, Steve O'Halloran, said the goal of the month-long social media campaign is to encourage customers to get involved with investing by making the process more accessible through ShareHolder, the firm's online brokerage.

To support the launch, ING's communications team is reaching out to financial bloggers and using word-of-mouth marketing through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

“We're communicating with mainstream America by using channels that they're already familiar with,” said O'Halloran. “By using social media to support the television advertising, we can drive users to where they can find the appropriate information to get started, and make investing a little less intimidating.”

O'Halloran said he has an internal team of about six working on Facebook and Twitter to direct users to the ShareBuilder home page, and said the TV spot has been uploaded to ING Direct's personal YouTube channel. O'Halloran added that his team is concentrating on reaching out to bloggers with a focus on those covering investing, personal finances, and trade.

“We've compiled a database of appropriate bloggers for the industry, and by contacting those bloggers specifically, we were able to generate almost immediate results,” he said. “Within 24 hours of making contact, our campaign was in the blogosphere.”

Blogs that covered it included The Broker News and Up.

O'Halloran said his team took lessons it learned from ING's “Save Till You Drop” campaign last November, which was the firm's first social media-focused initiative. Last summer, ING held a tweetup, hosted by COO Jim Kelly, as a way to help customers connect with the bank.

“You learn as you go, and we were pleased with the results we've seen from our past use of these channels,” O'Halloran said. “This strategy is particularly useful as it allows us to see what the customers are saying. These networks are sort of like a water cooler, and a great way to start a dialogue going.”

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