In this episode, Matisse chats with Urmi Hossain, CFA, about social media's role in the financial sector and the fine line between what organizations and entrepreneurs post and the regulations in place.
About Urmi Hossain
Urmi Hossain is Bengali by blood and Italian by birth. She works in the financial services industry in Canada, where she is currently residing. She is a self-published author, blogger, speaker, polyglot, and mentor. Her first book, Discovering Your Identity: A Rebirth from Interracial Struggle, tells the story of a brown girl who grew up in Italy with Bengali parents who wanted her to be the perfect and obedient Bengali girl. Through reflections and confessions, she shares her experiences growing up as a third-culture kid and the struggles many South Asian girls face.
She is an advocate of women's empowerment and very passionate about teaching and mentoring other girls and women. Urmi is also part of the Women In Leadership for the Victoria Chapter in Canada as the social media lead. She enjoys being a promoter of self-investing and personal development. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and boxing.
Connect with her:
Hello, and welcome to Season 2 of PR and Lattes, where you can fill your cup on everything PR and communications. I'm your host, Matisse Hamel-Nelis, and I am so thrilled to have you join me today for a brand-new episode.
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On today’s episode, I’m chatting with Urmi Hossain, an author, speaker, blogger and mentor who works in the financial services sector with a passion for social media.
She’s an advocate of women's empowerment and very passionate about teaching and mentoring other girls and women. She’s also the social media lead for the Victoria Chapter of Women in Leadership.
Together, we dive into the nuances of social media within the financial services sector.
So, grab your latte, sit back and enjoy!
Thank you so much for being on the show today. I'm really excited to chat with you about all things finance and social media.
Before we get started, can you tell the listeners a little bit about yourself and your role in the financial sector and how that works with social media?
Yes, it will be my pleasure. My name is Urmi and I'm located in Montreal. I work in the financial sector. I work as an associate. I work with a portfolio manager and we basically do portfolio management. We deal with investment and I've been working in this industry for more than six years. I would say I have always worked in finance and on this side I also do other things related to social media, I guess. So I am a blogger, a YouTuber, a speaker, a mentor, and I'm also a self-published author.
So just a couple of things. Just a couple of things. So you mentioned how you do social media for other aspects as well outside of just the financial sector, but we're going to focus primarily on the financial sector because I think that is something that folks don't really think about or consider when it comes to a more regulated sector, right? It's just more like, oh, maybe we just don't touch it and that sort of thing. So I'm really looking forward to our chat. So with that said, how has the use of social media in the financial sector evolved over the year?
So within the six years that you've been there, even within your experience? So I would definitely say it has changed a lot.
change a lot more in a positive way. And I would, so when I started my career in finance, I would never hear about the usage of social media at work. And what happened is I started to go to a few interviews after I started my career. And it was literally two, three years ago. And I remember when I would mention to everyone, oh, you know, I have like a social media presence and so forth, they strictly told me that
For some of the work that I'm doing, I might have to like disclose it because there are a lot of regulations. And so that's when I started to realize how the importance of social media has become and how there was so much regulation around it. And so I can definitely say it has a big, big role in the financial sector because now I feel like a lot of companies use their social media, like the...
corporate social media accounts to promote, educate their clients, to attract new clients. So it has become very predominant, especially because a lot of social, like a lot of portfolio managers or companies, they use it to promote their products and services. And that has been like beneficial, I would say, because now I feel like everything is just social media. So it has entered also in the financial sector, I would say.
Do you think there are specific platforms, social media platforms that are better or more utilized within finance compared to others? Yeah, so I can definitely say that if you work in a company and what I've seen so far from like different people that I follow, I would say LinkedIn is probably the biggest one that people use. Like I see it also around me, LinkedIn, it's just because when you think of LinkedIn, the first thing that comes to your mind because...
Cause when you think about LinkedIn, the first thing that comes to your mind is the, it's like the profession. Like you just think, okay, LinkedIn is always associated to the professional part of your life, right? So a lot of people use LinkedIn to promote like the work that they do, articles, post articles, create articles, post videos, um, post events and stuff like that, but I have also seen other people, like especially advisors using YouTube, cause I feel like YouTube is just so much more interactive.
And you're just not interactive, but it's more, I would say engaging in a way that you, you were watching a video. It's like, you're more, you're paying more attention than just reading an article. So I've seen people using YouTube a lot. And I also saw some entrepreneurs who are financial advisors using Instagram and Tik Tok. And so Instagram has been, I would say Instagram has grown a lot when it comes to like business.
especially for people who are in finance, because they use it to have like live sessions, webinars, they use it to promote their stuff, they use Rio. So I have seen also the usage of Instagram as well. But I would say that if you work in the corporate world, it's more focused on LinkedIn. That is actually really, really interesting. The fact that it is not just, you know, the LinkedIn, which I think everyone would assume primarily, but it does expand to things like
Instagram and TikTok and YouTube and for yourself who you've built a brand for yourself on those different platforms Do you recommend that others in who are starting into the financial sector? Do something similar to sort of build their persona or their personal brand? So here's the thing I It's a good question. I think that if you are working for someone like in a corporate world
I would say that LinkedIn is probably the best, I would say, platform to build that sort of like image. But I also think that if you are someone who is more like a self-entrepreneur, like an entrepreneur, then I think it's good to use not just LinkedIn, but also other platforms because I feel like companies have not yet used Instagram to like promote their stuff.
Um, and I, and I've seen like some, like, I see some differences. Like I see that if it's like a coach or if I see that it's, um, it's a financial advisor who just works for himself, they usually use Instagram or TikTok to give information. But I think for people that are working in the corporate world, they're using more LinkedIn. So I would say that it really depends on like who you're working for when it comes to building personal, um, like a personal brand. I think, I think both are good enough, I would say. And I think you need both of them.
Now, that's an excellent point. There's the, I guess, the old school version, which is just stick to LinkedIn. But then there's the expanding your presence and interacting with a new audience who don't use LinkedIn as much, or they just sort of have their resume up there, and you're now getting access to them as well. I think that's a very valid point. When it comes to going back to the financial institutions, maintaining that balance between promoting and educating.
their customers or consumers on social media while also managing the regulatory side of things. How does that happen? How have you in your experience balanced that? So I can tell you what we do in the place where I work right now is basically we try to use our LinkedIn profile to educate the clients, but also to inform them about the things that we do. We don't...
We don't tend to promote the products as much. I mean, we do, but we mainly talk about generally, like these are the products, you know, that are available to you. You can come and purchase them. Uh, but we use it to like educate the clients. So every week, basically how it works is that you have a sort of like a pool of articles that are approved by the compliance team, because everything has to be reviewed. They are approved and they are basically uploaded into this portal type of thing where you.
can choose from a series of articles. And there are different types of articles. They're not just strictly finance related. Like you can have things that are like, okay, five ways that you can like save money by cooking at home, things like that. Or these are five recipes that you can, you know, you can try if you're like spending your summer, I don't know, if you wanna go on a diet or something like that, let's say.
So it's not just strictly finance, like it's not just strictly finance related, but basically what happened is you take an article from this poll and then you post it. And so usually what people do is that they try to post the article, which is like educational, trying to de-educate the clients. And they also sometimes alternate by posting things about, okay, this is the new product that we have available. So for instance, right now there are like some registered product that you can use.
to put your money for buying your house for the first time, the savings account plan, and we're trying to promote that. So it's like, we try to alternate, but you don't have to strictly just stick to one thing. It's just based on what you feel is right, and like based on the moment and the current environment. So for instance, a lot of the things that we have, we posted so far was about the interest rate, because that kept changing. So that has been like.
hot in the market and that's very much research right now. Like people are just looking for this information. So you have to post based on what's happening in the market because you know that that's just gonna keep coming up or you can post anything that you want as long as it's like educational, as long as it's approved. That's, I would say that's the main thing. So you have to alternate, but it's based on like what you feel is best for your team. You don't have to follow like a certain rule basically. Got it.
What kind of so I've mentioned it a few times and so have you the regulatory considerations that need to be taken into account when using social media, what are they as someone who doesn't work in the finance sector, this is very intriguing to me. So it really so basically, I would say that every single big financial institution is regulated by a regulatory body. And when it comes to like social media, usually what happens is you have to follow some guidance on like what you can post.
Um, what you can pose, which you can put into the post and stuff like that. When it comes to like, um, like posting things, every single marketing material that you create, it has to go through compliance all the single time. That's the only, I would say, drawback. I would say about this whole thing, because it's so regulated because we just have to be careful of like our, of what we are putting out there because there is
adaptation that we have to take into consideration. There is the image of the company. So because of all of this, you have to keep that into mind because we are serving a client and that's what the financial sector is all about and also because of conflict of interest. And so because of that, every single thing that you do, it has to be approved by your internal compliance team.
everything, like if you create like articles, if you create, I don't know, let's say an invitation for a client event, or if you let's say create a video, or if you create a podcast audio, every single thing, it has to go through compliance because there is this whole regulatory body behind all of the, that it's like auditing and making sure that you're in line with all the rules. So every company just falls into like under a different regulatory body. So you have to stick to that. That's why there is no one, like in general.
that you follow. There's one that you have to follow based on whatever, like whatever regulatory body is in your, in where you're living, basically. Got it. And that really addresses sort of the, some of the challenges, right? That you face as somebody working in social media, or even if you're working in PR and communications and marketing, being like, I have this great idea. Does compliance say yes? That's it. That's pretty much it. Because I also remember...
Like when I went to some interviews a couple of years ago, and I also spoke to a friend about it, she told me that the reason why she quit her job, it was because of this, because she was like, I could not promote myself the way I wanted to because I owe every single thing that I was doing, it just had to go through compliance. So you are, in a way you lose that freedom, I would say of like...
like showing yourself to the world. That's why she became an entrepreneur and she started her own thing. Cause now she's like, I can talk about anything that I want as much as I want without anyone being behind me and be like, okay, why did you do this? You know, so in a way you are like limited because you, you can't do many things. And that's another thing is that for every single company, any single financial company that you work for, you have to disclose every single social media account, like your personal one.
everything has to be disclosed just to make sure that if you work for a certain company, and then you're using that information for your own and promoting and giving advice, then it's not good, basically. Yeah. And I think a lot of people would be surprised to hear that whole concept of you have to A, disclose your social media presence, but also be careful of what you're posting on social media because of those potential consequences if you're working
because you see, you know, on TikTok and YouTube, lots of entrepreneurs talking about, you know, financial coaching and this that the other, they might assume that, oh, there must be tied to a bank or some or another financial institution, when really, there's actually that separation where they can do this because they're entrepreneurs. If they were with the institution, it wouldn't be the same. No, exactly. Within it wouldn't be the same for sure. That's that's
So interesting, so, so interesting. Like I said, I have never myself worked in the financial institution from a PR marketing perspective. So this is fascinating to me, absolutely fascinating. Has there ever been, or has social media changed, I guess I should say, the way that financial institutions handle customer service and client interaction? Do you find them being more engaged because they have this two-way communication or more like post it, leave it, walk away?
No, that's a thing. Um, because we know how like the whole LinkedIn algorithm works. And we know that if you want to have more like traction, you have to be engaged. So I noticed also based on some of the research that I did is that a lot of financial advisor, they're not just posting like an article, but they're actually trying to build a relationship with some of their clients, because a lot of the time the people they connect with, they actually become.
their clients. So they're trying to grow their business through that. And also the other thing that it's changing a lot is that now they have a certain clientele that belong to a certain age, but as we're moving with generations, we have like millennials, we have Gen Z. So they're also trying to create a bit more of a presence because of that, because they know that if they want to keep their clients' kids, they have to be on social media because now Gen Z, especially they're all on social media. So that's also how they are trying to use it.
And the other way that they're using it a lot is also for social responsibility, corporate social responsibility because that has been like a lot of a debate. You know, a lot of people are using social media to put an image that they're showing that we're doing good to the world. We're supporting these causes. So a lot of companies are doing that and they're using their social media to build that type of image. And I would say also the other thing is that I started to see some
social media account, especially LinkedIn to share a little bit of their personal stories because they want to build that human connection. They want to show that yes, we're professional people, but we're also human with emotions. So they're also using it that way too. That's fantastic. I always find that I like to know or get more drawn into somebody and who they are when they do share a little bit about themselves as well. Because like you said, that human connection that it's not just
sell, or push, but more like this is who I am. And this is why I'm doing what I love and so on and so forth. So it's nice to hear that there's starting to be a bit more of that woven into that into the social content. And a big thing I find with social with financial institutions, at least is there's been a drive or a push to put forward content around financial literacy. Are there platforms that you have found that are
best for promoting that, or is it still the typical LinkedIn and then going on to the others? So here's the thing. I very much enjoy podcasts. So I very much enjoy learning a lot about finance through podcasts. And I've noticed that we also have some internal podcasts as well in our company, and they use that also to communicate internal stuff within the company. So I feel like podcasts is like we have internal podcasts.
podcasts just for the employees inside the companies, and we have some podcasts for outside people. I started to see that they're using podcasts to get the message across, to educate the clients, to talk about the market. That has been something new to me. I also, I feel like they should get on YouTube, but I feel like because there's so much like...
First of all, you have to do a lot of editing. There's so much work when it comes to YouTube. Like you have to have like an actual team who comes and records you, then you have to edit and everything. And then it has to be approved. I feel like because of this whole process with compliance, I think a lot of people are not going forward with that. I think YouTube could be another good option. And then of course, I heavily see people using LinkedIn and I saw a few advisors using Facebook as well. I don't know how actually Facebook is being used to
you know, educate or attract clients. I'm not really sure about that because I just, I closed my own Facebook account because I felt like there was no use. So that's why I don't know how like companies use it to promote themselves. Cause I feel like if you think about LinkedIn and Facebook, like if you think about Facebook, you don't think about them from a professional point of view, you know, whereas LinkedIn, it just goes like, you know, okay, it's for like professions. So a lot of people are using LinkedIn even to create events and promote.
promote events, they use a lot of LinkedIn, I would say. I find that really interesting around Facebook because I don't think of Facebook as somewhere I would go for educational, exactly, whether financial or anything else. It's more like, hey, I'm going to talk to my grandmother, or, you know, some old friends from high school, or, you know, I just follow a business to support them kind of thing.
So I've and the fact that you've shut down your own Facebook account, I think speaks volumes to how are people using this from an educational perspective. And I couldn't agree more with YouTube potentially being that avenue if the resources and human capital is available to do it because it is like you said, time consuming with all the editing and stuff. Yes, exactly. Exactly. But podcasts, that's really interesting that that's where there's been a trend. Huh? Interesting indeed.
For you, what do you think the future looks like when it comes to social media in the financial sector, whether good or bad? What do you think? I think it's just here to stay, like with everything else. I definitely think it's just going to become more and more important. And I also started to see companies offering trainings, like actually marketing training to their employees. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. There are actually trainings that you can like...
participate to any and they teach you like, these are intense trainings of like two days where they teach you how can you best use the social media accounts for your business or for your advisors. And I can see this trend more and more because I think people are just using, because it's, it's the main thing. That's the only way that you can attract people, you know, that's if you build a personal brand, if you build like, you know, like any, like you're trying to
build a brand, that's the main way that you're using. Cause if we think about the traditional way of branding yourself, it's not really working anymore, it's really social media, especially they say that, you know, you want to invest your money under two advisors, okay. A and B. A has a big social media presence and B doesn't have that. Let's assume that you are looking both of them on Google to see, okay, let's see who, who's who, chances are that you're going to go with the person who has a social media presence because.
you are, you have an idea of this person, you can start, you know, maybe building trust from seeing what the work that they're doing. So that's, I would say, I would definitely say it's here to stay. And, and it's definitely like, just going to become more and more important. Cause as I said before, with the generations, like generation Zed and the ones after, that's the only way that you can, you know, um, get the message, get to them basically.
Do you think it's something that perhaps regulatory bodies need to sort of catch up with in terms of allowing folks to build their own brand? I'm pretty sure there are things happening with regulatory body. For sure, they're always constantly working on it, I'm pretty sure. Because now even with artificial intelligence, we were internally told we're actually restricted from using certain things, like chat GPT.
we're pretty much restricted from using those things. And I'm not really sure why, because I feel like it could be beneficial, especially when you're trying to create marketing materials. I don't see why we're blocked from using it at work, but I can see things are already catching up, I would say, especially with AI. Yeah. It's always fascinating to see how things, as they get thrown at us from a technology perspective, how quickly either regulatory bodies are...
big institutions, whether financial education, whatever the case is, try to figure out very quickly how do we proceed with this, right? Don't keep it. I know it's a big conversation within education, right? Do we use it? Do we not use it? Do we use it as a tool for ideation, particularly speaking about AI? So that's very interesting, very, very interesting from a financial perspective and how that gets used. Can you share any advice from a
maybe not so much financial institutions, but maybe more so from entrepreneurs who are looking to start incorporating social media into their business strategies and building that persona? Yes. So I have like five tips that I also got from where I work and I also read about those. So basically, when you are building a social media presence and you're trying to use it, say...
Like let's say you have a blog or you have a YouTube channel or let's say you have a LinkedIn profile where you post things. There are a few things that you have to keep in mind. The first thing is to be consistent. That's so important. I would say like if you're someone who is posting regularly or you plan of posting regularly, just make sure that you are consistent with that. So if you post once a week, then make sure to post once a week instead of disappearing for like five months, because that's very important. And also because of the algorithm.
because their algorithm are always working. So the more you post, the more the chances are that your profile will show up. So that's the first thing. The second thing is to have engaging content. And I am someone who very much enjoys watching videos. And I think videos are so effective to teaching someone something, especially when you're an entrepreneur, like if you're trying to sell a product, if you're trying to sell a service, or if you're trying to educate your client about something.
have a video. I think videos are so much more effective. They are, they just, first of all, they get your attention and they're much better than just reading an article, for instance. Not that articles are not good, but I think videos are a bit better. The other thing is to have a call to action. That's so important, I would say. I would say that at the end of everything, always have a call to action or have some tips that...
the person can actually, you know, the next thing that they're doing is that they listen to your podcast or they listen to, they watch something, they're like, okay, I can actually start doing things. So you always want to have a call to action. So you know that they got something out of what you were trying to say. And the fourth one is personal story, which I very, very much enjoy. I think in every single social media thing that you do and in every single social media platform, always share.
a little bit of who you are, but within the limits. Because I think everything has to be within certain boundaries, limits where you're, you know, you still have, yes, you're sharing a little bit of your personal stuff, but you want to keep it also professional. And I think personal stories are always so relatable. I think they're just they're relatable. And I think everyone likes to hear a nice story. And
The last thing I would say to always make your social media content much interactive, I would say. And always try to be present in as many social media platforms as possible. If you're using Instagram or if you're using LinkedIn, try to use as many ways as possible, but try to be consistent, I would say. Do you think it's appropriate or a good habit, if you will?
to anytime a new social media platform comes up to jump on board? Or is it more a matter of find what works for you? You know, that's a good question. Because that's how I felt about Instagram reels. I had a friend who came up to me and she was like, real is the new thing, you have to get on it. I remember she told me this. I was like, I don't know. I don't know if this is for me. I, it took me a while to understand how reels work.
I still do not know how they work 100%. I mean, I did create some reels for like, for other things that I do, but it's not like the perfect thing. I, the density, I wanna say, go with what works best for you. Yes, you have to be with the things that are trendy, but I feel like if you're not good at something, then don't go on it unless you learn how to, how to do something, you know what I mean? But I think you have to go with what works.
best for you and what best represents you. Because even when you talk about different social media tools, I think each one of them serves a different purpose. You know, so you are attracting a different clientele depending on who, what type of social media account you're using. And so I would say just go with what works best for you and what best represents you. Anything on top of that, because that's the exact same.
thought I had was go with what's best for you because if you don't like a certain platform or you're struggling and getting used to it, you're not going to post as often. And then that consistency, like you said, that's a thing. This friend that I have who's like, yeah, get on Reels. She used to have a YouTube account and she used to like post regularly, but now she stopped posting. She just stopped posting because it's like, I don't have time for this. So she just strictly does Reels now. So it's really finding what's really
what really works for you, honestly. Yeah, no, that's a very valid point because again, you don't want to oversaturate yourself on all these platforms. And then somebody does a Google search, like you said, they say, oh, look, they're on insert name of platform here. They click on it and you haven't posted since 2020, right? So yeah, it makes all the sense, all the sense. All right, from a financial sector, you're talking social media strategy.
you've got it all planned out, you execute on the strategy, how do you measure if it's successful or not? So definitely I would say that if you have people connecting with you because of the content that you post, it's a good thing I would say. I feel like it shows that people are interested in the work that you're doing. So definitely the number of connections. And I can also speak about this for myself too, because.
I have almost a thousand connection and I only started my LinkedIn account three years ago. And I noticed that every time I'm posting something that is useful, I just keep getting people connecting with me, messaging me and asking me for advice. So definitely the content that you're posting, it shows, based on the number of connections that you're getting, it shows that you're on the right track. That's one thing.
And then the second thing is just to see how people are engaging with you. I think that when you're posting something and you see that people like the things that you posted, that definitely shows that people are very much interested in what you're posting, their articles. So definitely the engagement from the audience is very, very important because at the end we are serving them, you know.
So that's very, very important. And I would say these are probably the two biggest ones, the audience engagement and the number of connections that you're getting and how you're able to turn these connections into clients. That's also very important. Like if you're able to, someone just added you, they wanna know a little bit about the work that you do and then they're like, okay, I wanna become your client. It shows that it's working, it's finally working whatever you're doing.
Also getting referrals from another client through, you know, having LinkedIn profile. It's also very good because we also like we have a website besides having a LinkedIn profile. And if you have a nice website, chances are people are like going to look you up and chances are that people might be interested in becoming your client. So having that nice image and turning this prospect into clients, it just shows that
you know, you're being successful in the job. Interesting, interesting. It's that conversion, right? That always is the important. It's one thing to like, but what does that like lead to? Right, and I think that can be said for any sector. You don't want it to just be like, oh, I like the post and now I don't hear from you ever again. No, let's build that relationship. Before we conclude, I have to say this has been absolutely amazing for me.
Again, not being somebody in the financial sector, I have learned quite a bit. So thank you so, so much for that. Um, are there some resources or tips that our listeners who want to learn more about social media and the role within financial sectors, um, that they can go to? The tips are the ones that I mentioned earlier, uh, which are, and I'm going to repeat them, which is to be consistent, to have engaging content, to be interactive.
to have a personal story and to have a call to action. But I would say that when it comes to resources, always go back to your compliance department because they always have manuals and you have to read the manuals and whatever they're telling you to do, you have to stick to that. So that would be my resource for you. And if there are trainings that your company offers, go ahead and sign up for them because I think there's so much valuable information that they can give you. But when you sign up to those...
those sessions or trainings, you get to learn how to handle all the marketing aspect in your company. Because yes, there might be one way to do it, but it does not apply to every company. That's the only thing. So just stick to your compliance manual when it comes to marketing. Amazing. That's fantastic. My last question, this is PR and lattes. So I have to ask, what is your go-to caffeinated beverage to get you through the day?
I do like cappuccinos. Cappuccinos. That's a good one. That is a good one. Cappuccinos. But the cappuccino has to be from Rome, like in Italy. That's fair. Agreed. When I go visit family in Italy, that's the first stop when I land. Go get myself a cappuccino. I get it. So good. Well, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. If anybody wants to reach out and connect, how can they find you? So I have a LinkedIn profile.
It's called Urmi Hossain. I have a YouTube channel called Urmi Hossain. I have a blog called myways.ca and I have an Instagram account called urmatmio. So anyone can connect with me through there and I'm very responsive, so be happy to chat. Perfect, and you can find all that information in the description of this podcast as well to make it easy to access. Thank you so much. This has been wonderful. Thank you.
You've been listening to the PR & Lattes podcast. Make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you can get notified each week when a new episode drops. You can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter by visiting our website, prandlattes.com. On the website, you'll find our podcast episodes as well as amazing blogs, with new ones being posted every Monday morning. And of course, make sure to follow us on social, on Instagram @PRAndLattes and on LinkedIn. PR & Lattes. I've been your host Matisse Hamel-Nelis. Thank you so much for listening, and we'll see you next week with a new latte and guest. Bye for now!