Social media is a term that is used to describe the type of media that is based between conversation and the interaction of people online. The media is through digital words, sounds and pictures, which are generally shared through the Internet and the value can be cultural, social or even financial.
Twitter and Facebook are the highest used social media applications, both being used for social and business purposes.
Looking at social media in a financial point of view, we have seen some banks take advantage of social media, while others have yet to take full advantage of it. Why any company wouldn’t enter the social media atmosphere is rather strange. Wouldn’t you, as a business, like to directly communicate to your consumers? Wouldn’t you like to know any issues or problems you might have? Gaps recent blunder with its logo is a prime example of the power of social media.
Twitter and Facebook is used by banks, notably the Big Six; by being dominant in these two forms of social media, it allows them to have the opportunity of building awareness around their customer’s needs. It allows them to directly ask questions, creating a dialogue and a loyalty amongst the individuals who are following them. Banks can leverage Facebook by giving out discounts to followers (this method also increases followers), it not only increases the loyalty consumers have with there bank. You also can gain new clients (financial motives). Republic of Bacon recently gave away 10,000 free packs of bacon to its facebook fans and within 48 hours had over 12,000 new fans.
[Disclaimer: WebStar Content, our parent company, manages republicofbacon.com on a daily basis for Maple Leaf Foods the owners of Republic of Bacon]
The banking world needs to look outside the financial world and see what other industries are doing to leverage social media.
How Have Banks Made use of Twitter?
In the past we have seen Scotiabank’s Caribana account as one of the liveliest of the Canadian financial institutions to dive into Twitter.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) uses the name “CIBCnews”, and informs its followers of various news, whether it is an increase in mortgage rates or CIBC is donating money to an organization. It is a great attempt to get the news out there, however, this only goes well as long as they have something to report. From examining their recent tweets, there have been no new tweets for as long as 7 days. To take full advantage of Twitter, one cannot allow themselves to fall behind the rest of the pack, they must emerge as the leader.
What Scotiabank may consider doing, rather than just release their press releases as tweets. Where the reader will end up going to the press release just to read a page of text [typically not appealing to the eyes] they can make a video summarizing the press release, even better it can be an interactive video, allowing the person watching to interact and learn in a hands on process. Many PR submission sites now allow for video additions and social media sections. Use it to your advantage!
Scotia if you want to be successful on twitter, interact with your followers. Talk to them like normal people, the more personal and less corporate you seem. The more success you will have with twitter.
Get More Clients
Big banks can earn more clients by having more interaction through Twitter by simply addressing a person’s concerns. One method do to so is search for a competitors name and you can possibly find a Twitter user who recently sent a tweet about the service with their current bank. You can tweet to them about the issue and offer advice on their problem, even if you do not get a client out of this, you are showing your followers that as a bank, you care about people, not just the clients you already have.
Dell does this specifically (helping others) they have a social media team who is dedicated to helping people online. If an individual is having an issue with an HP computer you can tweet Dell and they will help fix it for you. This provides a great deal of value to your clients and guess what… I bet you that HP owner next time they buy a computer will seriously consider Dell.
“Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.” -Matt Goulart
Outside of the Big Six, other banks have been quite successful with their use of Twitter and Facebook. One bank in particular would have to be ING Direct Canada. Their Twitter account, SuperStarSaver is constantly updated with both banking products and information. I also love the fact that they take time to answer questions sent to them from their clients. Also Peter Aceto the CEO of ING Direct Canada participates and interacts directly through Twitter, @CEO_INGDIRECT. Smart decision by Peter, this creates brand loyalty and as a CEO he can generate some free PR for his company. He might want to get his account verified by twitter. He would probably get more followers doing it.
How do Banks use Facebook?
In terms of Facebook, I can easily say that banks do take advantage of it. When it comes to Facebook, BMO (terrible job, I was actually upset looking at the fan page), ING Direct (great job), RBC (can’t find out) , Scotiabank and TD do make good use of it. From what I have seen, ING Direct, Scotiabank, and TD make the most out of it. They run contests and promotions on it, not to mention interacting with everyone that comments on their page. Just a huge bonus, remember it creates value.
Some banks do have to step their game up with Facebook; after spending a bit of time searching for the facebook pages on the banks, I found at most a page of interest, which had a company profile. I will not be naming any names, but a few banks have definitely dropped the ball when it concerns Facebook. Looking at some of the successful Facebook pages, there is daily interaction between people and the bank. Questions are being asked and answered on the same day, with activity rising as the weeks go on.
It is never too late to start using social media; it will take a bit of time to catch up with the competition but in the end it is still about pleasing the customers.
This is an important message to ALL banks (and big brands) DO NOT do what Nestle did. They decided to “manage” and control there social media platforms. Ultimately, the fans revolted and created a huge uproar. Damaging the brand awareness and reputation all at once.
Banks if you need help, just send us an email. We want to see more interaction with your clients, let us help you.
How do you feel about how banks have been using social media? Do you see room for improvement? Who is your favourite bank online?