Build Your Social Media Equity

By Julie Meredith, Community Engagement Specialist at Radian6

Jumping into social media can be intimidating for Financial Services, but you don’t need to let the challenges of compliance and regulations hold you back from getting out there. There are many ways you can use social media within the growing financial community. Starting your social media journey is a lot easier than you think. Let’s highlight some of the first steps to follow when you are just getting started.

Policy, Policy, Policy

  • Developing a strong social media policy is your first step in becoming social in the regulated financial industry. Your policy should address what information is suitable to share and how company engagement is recorded and archived.
  • Decide who will be responsible for your social media initiatives and educate them. Make sure those involved in your social media efforts have a firm handle on compliance as it relates to the financial industry, and your policy has strict but clear engagement guidelines that are accessible to everyone.

Do your Homework

  • Your community is already out there discussing you, your competitors and the overall financial industry, now it’s up to you to tap into this incredible resource to understand whether the buzz is about loans, insurance, gains or losses.
  • Learn the media types (blogs, twitter, mainstream news) that your community uses and how they interact. Take a look at what hot button industry terms they use the most like “investments”, “equities” or “brokers”.
    • Now that we understand the social financial landscape and the audience we’re reaching, listening is the next step.
    • By actively listening to your community you will unearth the topics most frequently being discussed by your industry leaders. This will point you in the right direction when you’re ready to share content and connect with your community.

Listen up

  • Listening is half the battle, especially in an industry that has regulations to consider. Once you have a strong social media policy and strategy in place, actively listening to your community will help you understand the lucrative opportunities social can bring you.

Have you started your social media journey? What is your community saying about you and the Financial Services industry? What regulations are stopping you from listening?

Julie Meredith is a Community Engagement Specialist at Radian6.  She blogs about beer, films and social strategy as it relates to Finance. You can follow her on Twitter at @julie_meredith.


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Respect the Crowd – Don’t Shut Them Out

“Well, I see the Facebook/Twitter hysteria is at fever pitch again” writes Brett King at Banking 4 Tomorrow.  “There’s the concern around market events like the fake Sina Weibo post stating that Kim Jong Un had been assassinated, apparently corroborated by the evidence of a cavalcade of black limousines arriving at the North Korean embassy in Beijing around the same time. This started in China on Weibo, and within minutes had been translated into a fast trending topic on Twitter.”

“To be fair, while everyone is crying foul of Twitter and social networks for the potential chaos they could cause with false reports” writes Brett, “the reality is Twitter and micro blogging sites like Weibo get it right far more often than they get it wrong. This same week Twitter broke the news of Whitney Houston’s death a full 45 minutes before the press picked it up, just as it had with the death of Michael Jackson and Osama Bin Laden. The fact is, Twitter is more likely to break major news first, than any TV network these days. The unique aspect of Twitter is not only that it breaks the news first, but it allows a dialog around that news – so people feel not like they’re are just watching the news, but that they are a part of it – living it, participating.”

Brett describes “the dialogue” as an opportunity that SHOULD be leveraged because:

  • Twitter doesn’t get it wrong all that often. Keep in mind Twitter users now send 1 Billion Tweets every 4 days.
  • The instances of Twitter getting news like Kim Jong Un wrong, is miniscule in that stream.
  • If you are arguing caution on Twitter, it is like suggesting you don’t watch TV or read Newspapers because 1 in 10,000 stories could need a fact check.
  • Respect the medium’s power – the flow will continue with or without you.
  • Fear mongering over minor hiccups will only distance you from those you must seek to engage.
  • If you are going to be a brand living in the world of hyper connectivity today, you can’t think like you used to think 10 years ago in respect to communications strategy.

Respect the crowd – they have enormous power and will be the future of your brand. Understand that the crowd can advocate your brand, that they can be a massive resource. Push them away, and you may never again get their trust.

Talk to them – even when you screw up, and they’ll respect your openness and willingness to improve, adapt and engage.


Source: Brett King, Banking4Tomorrow. Read the full post.

Brett King is a bestselling author, founder of the world’s first direct mobile-only bank Movenbank, an accomplished professional speaker and an advisor to top financial institutions globally. 




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Should Banks Even Bother Using Social Media?

The short answer is yes, according to a recent J.D. Power special report, Achieving Excellence in Customer Service: The Brands That Deliver What U.S. Consumers Want. In fact, additional analysis conducted by J.D. Power’s social media intelligence team indicates that customers do talk extensively about people and bank processes and ignoring customer feedback represents the largest missed opportunity for banks, especially those trying to build and sustain a customer centric culture in an overregulated industry.

Most customer banking discussions on social media channels can be grouped into the following three areas:

  1. Passive positive discussion around usage and services
  2. Passionate negative discussion regarding stability, performance
  3. Avoidance of larger banks that have suffered as a result of the financial crisis

© 2011 J.D. Power and Associates Retail Banking Study, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Values may be affected due to rounding. Pre-Boomers” = born 1900-1945. “Boomers” = born 1946-1964. “Generation X” = born 1965-1976. “Generation Y” = born 1977 through 1994

What Are Banking Customers Using Social Media For?

  • 49% report using social media outlets to read and discuss general banking and industry news and events
  • A small proportion of customers (13%) have used a social media outlet to contact their financial institution for a service-related issue
  • Of those blogging about a poor service experience, only 24% of Gen X and Gen Y customers and 16% of Pre-Boomer and Boomer customers say their financial institution actually responded to their issue
  • While the majority of customers received no answer, a large percent of the population stated that they didn’t know if they got any response

The Good News: Most conversations are transactional in nature

The positive customer behaviors exhibited in social media conversations are primarily transactional in nature with less engaged interactions. For instance, customers passively mention using an ATM and rarely mention wanting to join a bank as a result of a positive experience or message. Some negative behaviors like “avoid” largely reference customers that “avoid bank fees” while many others such as “not trust”, “take out” and “reject” reference conversations whereby people are encouraging traditional bank customers to cancel their accounts with major banks.

The Bad News: The cost of a non-response can be high for banks

  • Among those customers who received a response, 47% say that they “definitely will” reuse their financial institution in the future and declines to 27% among those customers who did not receive a response
  • Among customers who received a response, 50% say that they “definitely will” recommend their bank vs. 30% of those who didn’t receive a response, and 44% say that they “definitely will not” switch vs. 25%, for those not receiving a response
  • Nearly one in five Gen X and Gen Y customers state that they are likely to utilize social media for banking-related topics in the future, and more than one in 10 Pre-Boomer and Boomer customers are likely to do the same

The Point: Banks need to invest in servicing their customers through social media

Although the use of social media for customers to interact with their financial institution is still a bit new for some, examples of what to do and what not to do have already been witnessed across several industries. Banks that have responded to Twitter postings without considering the consequences of such actions suddenly became inundated with many requests via that channel, and found themselves under-equipped to handle the influx. The snowball effect this created had negative consequences for these companies, which found it necessary to quickly staff up to handle the volume of new Tweets they were receiving.

While simply having a Facebook page or Twitter account may have been sufficient for financial institutions in the past, customers are now beginning to utilize these channels to contact their bank. Given the public nature of these contacts, banks need to be equipped to respond quickly to questions or issues raised via these channels, while also keeping in mind the sensitive nature and regulations regarding communication for the financial services industry.

The usage of social media outlets to contact financial institutions is growing, and is likely to increase in the coming years. Of customers who say that they have used some form of social media outlet to contact their financial institution, a vast majority either did not receive a response or are not sure if they received a response.

Banks must better equip to handle what is likely to become an increasingly popular—and very public—form of contact.  Banks also need to have appropriate staff to quickly answer questions or respond to service issues if they care about growing a customer centric culture and want to keep customers happy.


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Beyond the Wall: Ideas for Financial Facebook Welcome Pages

“Most visitors to a bank or credit union page on Facebook are greeted by the all-too-familiar Wall — a series of updates, comments, feedback and exchanges that can frequently lean to the dark side. But there’s another, arguably better option” writes Jeffry Pilcher, Publisher of The Financial  “When opting for a customized Welcome page over the standard Wall posts, you’ll have a wider range of visual tools at your disposal, making it easier to create more retail excitement.”

To create a more dynamic and thoughtful experience for visitors while getting them to focus on the topics you choose, Pilcher showcases specific examples of financial Facebook Welcome pages and offers the following ideas:

1.  Hi There….Please Like Us Banner Ads – Many Banks & Credit Unions

Used by many institutions, custom banner ads on Welcome pages encourage visitors to hit the Like button, and often include offers, news, job postings and other promotions.  “This approach isn’t terribly creative, but it’s better than visitors getting overwhelmed by a bunch of random Wall posts” Pilcher explains.

2.  Link, Like, Love – American Express

The AmEx Facebook page includes an ad with the ability to earn instant rebates after linking your credit card to the rebate application.  Users can choose from hundreds of familiar brands and earn cash back on purchases.

3.  Nonsense Feedback – Ally Bank

Ally Bank reserves a dedicated “Tell us about it” area that encourages bank customers to rant about their frustrations with general banking issues.  The Like button reads “if you dislike banking nonsense, “Like” Ally Bank.  Pilcher notes that “this is a good approach to stimulating engagement and dialogue with Facebook visitors, and Ally deserves credit for integrating a consistent marketing message across multiple channels.”

4.  Money Personality Test – Citizens Bank

Citizens encourages Facebook visitors to complete a brief “Money Personality Test” resulting in the user finding out what kind of saver they are.  “It’s moderately interesting” says Pilcher, “But once you’ve taken the test, there is not further call-to action.”

5.  Rotating Ad – UBank

“UBank is trying to create a more navigable experience – one that’s clearly focused on their branded tools and products” notes Pilcher.  UBank makes use of a rotating banner ad where they promote products, tips, solicit feedback and include social networking links.

Source:  The Financial Brand.  Read the full post and view all examples

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