Complementary Whitepaper: The Dividends of Improving Best Practices for Social Media Research

Social media is continuing to gain traction in the world of market research. While this is an exciting development that offers new opportunities for data collection, there is a potential downside. With so many tools available to so many different types of users, the “wild west” approach to social media data access may be leading us to questionable results. The ability to trust social media data that is delivered by market researchers will be called into question once stakeholders become aware of this issue. Without methodological rigor, results from social media research can at best simply be unreliable, and at worst lead decision-makers to draw wrong conclusions.

In this complementary whitepaper, we’ll show you that without well-established and proven guidelines on query construction and data extraction, very different results and conclusions can be obtained by different analysts attempting the same social media data search.

In extreme cases, analysts can create such highly divergent queries that the associated data leads to different answers to even simple questions, such as:

  • Which brand is my main competitor?
  • Is Product1 more of my brand’s conversation this month centered around product?
  • Is the sentiment expressed toward my brand this month more or less positive than the sentiment expressed toward my brand last month?

 

 

 

 

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Social Efforts in Financial Services

Did you know that consumers don’t single out social media as a separate experience with a company?  Instead, they expect social media to be a fully integrated and seamless  part of the overall brand experience.

This is one of the many insights shared with us over the past 90 days while we were engaging with FSI leaders about social media, Social CRM, social monitoring and intelligence, social within the internal organization and much more!  We hosted roundtables, had ad hoc conversations with existing clients and asked for direct feedback about their social media successes, failures and ongoing challenges.   As a result of our efforts, we’ve assembled a wealth of first hand insights and strategies on social media that we’d like to share with you!

Join us for a complimentary interactive webcast and we’ll provide the following:

  • Examples of how financial service institutions are using social intelligence
  • A gauge for where your organization falls in the journey to integrate social efforts into the business, marketing and research operations
  • Tools and tips to help you take the next step in your social media efforts
  • The opportunity to connect with others who are facing the same challenges you are

WEBCAST DETAILS

Date:  Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Time:  2:00-3:00 pm ET

 

 

Stay connected and join the other bankers following us!

    

 Use hashtag #jdpasocialFS to interact with us on Twitter during the webcast
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What Real Customers Are Saying About Banks

By Jason Falls, CEO of Social Media Explorer

If you asked the average American if they felt positively or negatively about their bank, how do you think they would answer? Now consider the same question while keeping in mind the country is currently clawing its way out of a recession, the mortgage crisis is still affecting millions of Americans and their bottom lines and the Occupy Wall Street movement hasn’t exactly disappeared?

Would it shock you to know that most Americans would answer that they feel positively about their bank? That’s what my company’s recent research into online conversations about banks revealed. In fact, looking at conversations that feature the top 25 banks according to assets as ranked by the FDIC, only two have less than 60% positive marks. Even major banks, like Citi and PNC, were above 70% positive in online conversations.

Granted, Bank of America, which in many ways instigated the Occupy Wall Street movement with its September 2011 rate hike (quickly rescinded but not before the public conversation could go awry) dominated online conversations in 2011 among the banks and it was one of the two under that 60% positive threshold. But even with BOA’s miserable year in the public eye, its positive to negative ratio was 1:1. Half of the people talking about Bank of America last year were speaking of the company in positive light.

Anecdotal assumptions like, “no one likes their bank,” or “no one likes Bank of America,” can be more easily overturned today thanks to online monitoring and listening platforms. That’s why we spent the last few months researching what consumers were saying about banks and bank products. Among some of the other surprises we found include:

Customers Are Fickle

Several banks we reviewed got high marks for customer service. But, they also got low marks for it. This tells bank marketers that no matter how good you are, someone will always think you’re bad. Having processes and policies to deal with negative feedback is an imperative.

You Don’t Have To Be Big To Make An Impact

After finding the major products and themes consumers of the top 25 banks discussed, we removed any brand bias and searched the web for conversations about the topics. While analyzing conversations about Automated Teller Machines, First Fidelity Bank (Oklahoma) appeared multiple times. Its ATM fee policy thrilled fans enough to elicit online responses. And ones that were found by a national research focus. The insight for marketers here is that thrilling your customers creates buzz and not many of your competitors are doing that.

Advertising Works

The single biggest online conversation impact we found among the larger banks was the amount of positive conversation that focused on the advertising campaigns for Capital One and HSBC. Capital One’s “What’s In Your Wallet” vikings and Jimmy Fallon ads accounted for over 60% of the positive online conversation around the brand. But it’s not just funny TV spots that emerged as effective in driving online buzz. HSBC’s advertising campaign focuses on posters and billboards primarily placed around airports. The “Different Points of View” campaign accounted for 23% of its positive online buzz. Apparently, good ads are worth the investment.

Certainly, looking at online conversations comes with its own limitations and biases. We were not able to ask direct questions of consumers as with traditional market research made of focus groups and surveys. But with our approach comes certain bias elimination, too. Finding online conversations means the consumer isn’t biased to answer one way or another because they know they’re being monitored or interviewed. We mined raw conversations of people speaking freely on their respective social networking site, forum or blog.

This in-the-wild conversational analysis isn’t necessarily better than other forms of consumer insight. But it sure is different and as revealing. It shows us that our assumptions are often wrong, consumers will always surprise you and there are plenty of opportunities to be had for brands in the online space.

Jason Falls is the CEO of Social Media Explorer and author of The Conversation Report: What Consumers Are Saying About Banking, a new market research report from his company. You can find Jason on Twitter @JasonFalls, Facebook or connect with him on his blog, Social Media Explorer.

 

 

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Key Social Media Trends Affecting the Wealth Management Industry

In 2011, 65% of adults used social networking sites, a dramatic increase from 29% just 5 years earlier. Additionally, 50% of adults actively used social media last year.*  Growth is expected to increase in 2012, as Twitter adds 500,000 users per day on a worldwide basis.* Online discussions related to full service investors is heavily focused on advisors/brokers.  Consumers discussing full service investor experiences online often reference “financial advisors,” “investments,” and “wealth management,” as illustrated in the following word cloud:*

Research conducted by our Consumer Insights and Strategy (CIS) Department, which provides social media analysis and reporting to understand consumer attitudes and behaviors relative to brands, products, services, and current topics, identifies the following key trends affecting the wealth management industry among full service investment firms. All of the following comments from online consumers were gathered by the CIS Department.

1.  Trust is the most frequent theme in consumers’ online discussions.

Consumers often state that they trust their current advisor/broker. However, a lack of trust prompts many of them to look for a new advisor. New investors also ask advice from their peers when seeking a trustworthy advisor. Some financial advisors are viewed as promoting their own agenda, rather than looking out for their client’s best interests.

2.  Social media has increased the transparency of advisor plans and service levels.

Investors typically share the advice they receive with others to seek validation for their financial plan. Investors also seek feedback from others as a second opinion. Continue reading ›

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Key Banking Topics in Social Media

The challenges confronting banks that seek to bolster their bottom-line profitability, retain customers, and stay competitive in the marketplace are formidable. Research conducted by J.D. Power‘s Consumer Insight and Strategies Group to track social media activity regarding banking issues between April 2011 and March 2012 finds that:

  • Online sentiment was distinctly negative not only regarding fees, but also for bank technology
  • Complaints associated with website or online issues were a major source of discontent in technology-related messages

With customer feedback on critical topics discussed online going from technology to fees and service, banks should see the handwriting on the wall and provide an appropriate outlet for these customers, along with an acknowledgement and guidance for direction for immediate response.

Source: 2012 J.D. Power U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study

Retail Banks aren’t the only ones that have an opportunity to engage with the vocal online customer. Credit card holders appear to be even more outspoken onlinne, but card issuers appear to have learned this a bit faster than their Retail Banking peers. Continue reading ›

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How are Banks and Credit Unions Using YouTube?

In a recent New York Times special report titled  Banks Slow to Embrace Social Media, the author Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop notes that “while many consumer goods companies have embraced social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as new avenues to reach customers, financial institutions, and especially private banks, have been reluctant.”

While the article’s main point may not be too far off from reality, Jeffry Pilcher of The Financial Brand has detailed a dozen examples of noteworthy YouTube videos uploaded by financial institutions in his latest post titled, Best Of Bank Marketing On YouTube.  We were intrigued by the many creative uses of this social media channel, and thought you would be too!  Below are his top pics including overviews and commentary:

Boys choir sings options for automated phone tree

DNB recruited Norway’s most famous choir, the Norwegian Broadcasting Boys Choir, to sing all of the messages for its automated, touch-tone telebank. For the entire Christmas season, every word on DNB’s phone banking system was sung by angelic voices. The concept is brilliant, the execution is beautiful.

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Deutsche Bank guerilla experiment mocks ridiculous fees

This gutsy guerilla stunt from Deutsche Bank aims right at consumers’ pain points: fees and charges specifically in the financial industry that many people feel are absurd. In one experiment, a small boutique bakery introduces a one euro “entry fee” — just for walking in the door. Those who pay are surprised to learn there is also a one euro “exit fee.” Deutsche filmed a second experiment at a supermarket, where patrons were charged for things like using the conveyor belt in the checkout line and printing a receipt. It’s over the top, but it makes the point. Spot 1 (Bakery) | Spot 2 (Supermarket)

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Mom gets massage and makeover from bank

This two-minute video from Sainsbury Bank starts out like a documentary about the life of a busy mother. She’s a hardworking woman, but clearly worn out from her dedication to her three young children. Sainsbury ambushes her with their Makeover Mobile, a spa on wheels. She’s a lovely person, so you feel really good for her at the end when she steps out looking beautiful. Her expressions of appreciation are subtle, but incredibly powerful; it’s very engaging. It’s rare to see banks capture such emotion in their marketing.

Continue Reading

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It’s Time to Change Your Social Media Story – Part 2

By Mark Zmarzly, VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing

In the previous post It’s Time to Change Your Social Media Story – Part 1 , I made a brilliant argument for the end of the Internet.  Actually, I wrote about how Facebook’s timeline changes should give all financial institutions reason to reconsider their social media strategies, but I think you could read between the lines.  The time for reinvention is here, as is the road map below.

If you have the guts (and resources) to reinvent your narrative, here are the things to think about as you redesign and redefine your story:

  • You are not the main character in your story…
  • Your story (updates, cover photos, apps, etc) needs to reflect your customers, not your bank
  • People identify with those like them (more accurately: with people slightly better than themselves), not with their bank

Who are the main characters in the stories below?  Which story would you rather read?

Your voice needs to be authentic

Every time I see a scripted wall post that’s repeated over and over “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Please contact us at customerservice@anybank.com so we can look into your issue and work with you to resolve it.” I want to jump right into my laptop screen onto the Information Super Highway and drive down to a town I like to call Shoot Myself. Yes, discussions about personal account level data need to be taken offline but this voice is your narrator and he/she is inauthentic and not engaging. Amber Farley from Financial Marketing Solutions adds, “Not only does the voice of the bank need to be authentic and relevant, but it needs to be reflective of the bank’s overall brand. Banks shouldn’t jump into social media pretending to be something they aren’t.”

Continue reading ›

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It’s Time to Change Your Social Media Story – Part 1

By Mark Zmarzly, VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing

Here’s something most of you don’t know about me: before I entered the financial services industry, I was an English teacher and fiction writer. Why you don’t know this about me can be chalked up to one of these reasons:

  • We have a virtual relationship only. (“What are two good-looking Gravatars like us doing on this banking discussion board? Let’s take this party over to MySpace.”)
  • You rarely call anymore just to talk.
  • This background information isn’t relevant to what I do on a daily basis.

If it’s due to the first two items, I’ll forgive you – though it wouldn’t kill you to pick up the phone once in awhile or at least post on my Facebook wall. If you didn’t know about my storytelling past, then that’s about to change.

It’s about to change because of a game-changing move that Facebook made over the weekend in what appears NOT to be an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke. Of course I’m referring to its change to timeline. Or simply put, the new way to “tell your story.”

Facebook’s change to timeline may seem like a simple process change at first glance. You’re no longer allowed to decide where your new prospects will land (welcome page redirection is gone unless you use URL app redirects); you’re limited (or barred depending on how you follow the rules) in your calls to action; and you’re no longer going to have the same fan reach you used to enjoy (unless you pay for it).

I asked Ron Shevlin for his input on the changes: “The restrictions that Facebook is placing on brands — e.g., limits on apps and tabs, throttling, pinning and starring limitations — will only make it harder for brand pages to systematically support user goals for using social media. These goals include finding information about interests, interacting with groups that share my interests, and socializing with friends and family.”

He’s right, and that means this story seems to suck for financial institutions. But, perhaps it’s an unexpected gift? I argue that these changes to Facebook have given you the perfect reason to examine (maybe for the first time), the story your Social Media efforts are telling about your bank. Upon examination, most FIs would benefit from ditching their current social media efforts and starting a new story.

This is because most stories that are being told by financial institutions’ social media channels are boring and fail at engaging storytelling. Facebook’s timeline change has given everyone the opportunity to start from zero. I’d go so far as to advocate you spin your social media efforts off from normal marketing activity, give them their own P&L Statement, and 18 months to turn a significant profit. But in this case I’ll meet you half way and say that you MUST take the following steps to evaluate how your old tactics (or brand and social media strategies if you have them clearly defined) fit into the new storytelling future.

Step 1: Examine your cast of characters.

Engaging characters are the heart of any good story. You know who’s not a good character? The Bank! Other characters that may be better choices for the lead: anyone else. Banks and bankers are not engaging characters, please realize that. But, your customers, the stories they can tell when given the chance, when given (God forbid) a product or service you have that helps them craft their stories, can be engaging. People want to engage with unique characters in the hopes that they will learn new things about themselves. Ask what can your financial institution, its products, and/or its customers teach people about themselves, about savings money, about life? Be bold with your questioning and subsequent character choices! See a great example here (thanks for the reminder on this on Jeffry Pilcher!):

Jeffry Pilcher adds, “this got them a lot of good, global exposure (e.g., name awareness). Hopefully “going viral” was their goal.”

Step 2: Establish a unique voice.

If the updates on your Facebook page, blog, or Twitter stream could appear on any bank’s page, then your voice isn’t unique, engaging, or worth your effort. People listen to stories told in voices that engage them on multiple levels. They want a guide that will pull them into a new world on an emotional level or, at a minimum, will tell them something that they’ve already seen except in a new voice, from a new point of view. Third person omniscient is a bold choice in fiction…but can be wonderful, haunting, and will stay with you for years (The short story Merry-Go-Sorry by Cary Holladay has been with me since 2004). Your choice of voice needs to be bold because not everyone is good at storytelling.

Step 3: Insure that your storytelling is visual.

Facebook’s new changes have given priority to visual elements over text. Long gone are the days when “What’s everyone doing this weekend?” or another “Currency Related Trivia Tuesday Question!” will gain you much notice. AND GOOD FOR FACEBOOK in that regard! I follow about 100 FIs on Facebook and am tired of feeling bad about our industry…bad for the employees who are struggling to find trivia bits to toss out randomly every week to their hundreds of bored fans.

Step 4: You have to tell a crappy story sometimes…before you can get to where you need to go.

As a former participant in entry level fiction, I’ve written a story or two that ended in the tragic suicide of the main character. This story ending is so overused by early fiction writers that many teachers now add, “Stories cannot end in a suicide” to the class syllabus. But those stories – however tragic to read as the teacher – are necessary in your development as a writer. You need to hit bottom, and kill someone, in order to learn. Without naming Facebook page names here, I’ll say that the vast majority of community FIs in America have hit bottom. The good thing is that there’s nowhere to go but up!

Step 5: Sometimes a crappy story is just a crappy story…and it needs to die.

Be prepared to kill your story. As a writer, I’ve walked away from many a story. Whether at page 1 or page 53, sometimes it’s best to just walk away from the entire story and let those characters live in suspended animation indefinitely. Now, you most likely can’t walk entirely away from your current social media efforts, but you can re-invent them based on the new changing landscape.

According to Jeffry Pilcher of TheFinancialBrand.com, “Most FIs have no clue what ‘their story’ is. And even if they thought they knew, it isn’t likely a story that is differentiated, engaging and/or credible.”

If you’re in that boat – which is admittedly a hard fact to face but would be just the revelation you need to evolve – then Facebook has given you a gift. This gift is a revolutionary change in the main staple of social media marketing that justifies a deep reassessment of the bones of your story, its characters, and the voice of your tale.

Look for Mark Zmarzly’s follow up post about the process you need to go through to reinvent your story.

About Mark Zmarzly:

Mark Zmarzly is VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing, and an accomplished marketing, business development, banking, and creative professional with demonstrated success solving customer acquisition, marketing, and profitability problems. He has worked with financial institutions from 1 branch up to 1,700+ branches in the areas of marketing, copywriting, account management, consulting, teaching, social media, and business development. You can find his insights on issues facing the financial industry at http://ihelpbanks.com/ and on Twitter @BankMarketing. You can also connect with him On LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markzmarzly.
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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.

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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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