Branching Into Social Media

Social Media is no longer a person nor is it a department. In a time where branches are closing and many banks are moving to become more centralized, social media is decentralizing. This year’s ABA conference in Florida holds an opportunity for bank marketers to to realize the impact of a growing movement of creating enterprise-wide social strategy. MktgConf-Newsbytes-Ad2-REV (1)

In the 90’s we used email much like many use social media today. We signed up for our first email account, info@_thebank.com or (bankname@aol.com) and directed our customers to send us their requests, proudly announcing that we had opened a new channel in which to communicate. Sure, there was value as our customers were learning how to email early on, but as more people became savvy and tools progressed, we brought email to the masses at our bank. Social media has begun to take much of the same course. But, here are a few of the keys that banks are beginning to implement larger social media strategies.

Delegation Today’s community managers are being asked to do a lot. Those social savvy front-lines are tasked often with creating content for multiple channels and responding to comments, questions and complaints.

One to One Communication Many social media users are choosing sites like Instagram which boasts 200 Million active monthly users. Channels like Instagram take a different level of thinking, but the level of engagement is quite high if you gain followers there. Growth still exists in Facebook’s core application as well with 1.28 Billion active monthly users this month. Some customer service teams are realizing that the value is often found when a person messages a person privately on social media, rather than simply focusing on broadcasting messages. These “private” conversations are driving much of the growth in social today.

Collaboration Content strategies need to be integrated with sales, marketing and operational goals to be effective. Gone are the days of sending the social team to simply “engage the community”. Part of what will engage your community is taking your best asset, your employees and engaging them in a broader and deeper vision for content. “When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.” -Joe Pattern

Business Communication Too many financial institutions simply see social media as a way to reach Gen Y with new lower-profit accounts. It’s time to realize that the demographics of social media can reach most demographics. Looking to connect with accountants in your community? You can find them on social. Looking for the local small business owners? They are a part of the conversation. We often see the reduction of traffic to our branches as a threat to business. It is time we begin seeing it as a cost savings and opportunity to reach customers before they make decisions. Lori Wizdo, analyst at Forrester states, “Today’s buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90 per cent of the way through their journey before they reach out to a vendor.”

It’s time to see the impact when your enterprise engages socially. Each individual can have much more reach in your community. Join me in this discussion via social media @benpankonin and at the ABA conference in September http://www.aba.com/Training/Conferences/Pages/MKTG.aspx

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