A look at AEGON's social media strategy

The Social Media Club Amsterdam hosted a fun event on September 21, 2011 during which the brand manager of AEGON gave a glimpse of the company's social media strategy.


In 2008 AEGON was forced to embrace social media as part of their communication mix. In the middle of the financial crisis, messages appeared on Twitter supposedly on behalf of the company. It quickly became apparent that the messages were a part of a hoax as they were not in line with the communication style of a listed investment financial on the AEX.
Nevertheless, it was a good warning. Four years later, AEGON, one of the few AEX listed financials, now boats a serious social media strategy, has its own webcare team, and has rolled out some very successful consumer and sponsorship campaigns.

  • 48%-80% of the companies ‘do something’ with Twitter
  • 32%-48% of the companies are active on Facebook
  • 24%-52% of the companies have a YouTube channel
  • 88%-92% of the companies are active on LinkedIn
  • 8%-28% of the companies use Hyves (Dutch social network).

A study by Citigate First Financial, a consulting firm specializing in financial and corporate communications, it appears that many Dutch listed companies are still unsure on how to integrate social media as part of their communication.

For a company that in 2008 was forced to embrace social media, one can now consider AEGON a forerunner in this field. Especially since the company is in a sector (financials) in which peers present a very conservative approach to their communication.

AEGON's current list of social media campaigns are still very focused on sponsorship and education. The latter coupled with a fun and / or contest element.

  • 2008: Grip op mijn knip Twitter campaign @Gripopmijnknip
  • 2009: Income tax tips together with Elsevier.
  • 2010: Educational programme on YouTube as a contest channel (explanation of financial terms)
  • 2011: Co-creation with consumers, advisors (resellers) and other parties as to develop new products.
  • 2011: The Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Ajax campaign.

In this process, AEGON also learned what does and does not work for the company. Consequentially, it has now has a good picture regarding what the best social media channels are for a given purpose:

  • YouTube is the more suitable platform to share content; either with a contest or educational element in it.
  • AEGON sees Twitter as a "share" platform, especially for the quick dissemination of the more serious messages or webcare services. Twitter also provides the most response when it comes to clicks.
  • Facebook itself is more engagement platform. This creates a dialogue and let people know what they find a subject.

However, for 2012 the company speaks of advanced strategic goals such as "social commerce" (social media as a distribution channel) and "social CRM" (linking social data to existing customer data).

Besides the fact that AEGON, one of the few listed financials, actively uses social media in its communication mix, it is also quite unique and fun that they openly share -up to a certain level- their experiences and aspirations.

Social media is still distinctive, but in a few years just a hygiene factor.
Esther Oostrom, Brand Manager AEGON Netherlands
We are struggling with determining an appropriate strategic approach [with social media].
Anonymous source of an AEX company, according to Citigate First Financial

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