It is hard to escape, social media is everywhere. Whether you are entrenched in social media or not you are hearing about it and possibly wondering how it can help your business practices. You also might be thinking an array other things. Most likely, how do I make it work in my small, medium or large bank? Why should I bother? Isn’t that opening a can of worms we don’t want opened? If we do begin a social media strategy and what are the best practices?
There is no easy answer to any of the above questions. However, research shows that social media is not going away, on the contrary, it is getting more and more entrenched into business practices. 77% of the Fortune 500 companies have corporate Twitter accounts and 70% have Facebook accounts, and another 34% have public facing blogs. These numbers are going up each year.
1. Meeting your customers where they are.
Foot traffic of the past is dwindling. However, if you are involved in social media, the foot traffic that used to walk into your branch can now have your bank right at their fingertips on their smart phone, tablet, or other mobile device. A recent study confirmed that 93% of millennials (born 1981-2000) own a mobile device and 84% of them are on social media. 68% of them get their news from social media. I have a friend who is 39 years-old tell me recently that she gets her news from Facebook. If she notices her friends and others that she has “liked” posting information and links, she will then read about it in online news sources. This is the main way that she is getting her information and news. If you are able to meet your customers in their social world it will be sending a message to them that you understand that this is what works for them and you are willing to meet them there.
2. Building relationships through social media.
There are many different ways to engage your customers and potential customers through social media. For example, if you take a look at banks that are on Facebook you will see their strategies range from playful, funny, and silly to news and information and community involvement. People have to have a reason to “like” your Facebook page. Keep that in mind while developing a social media strategy. Many AMBA members are active on social media and it is working for them. Read this article on the successes of utilizing social media.
3. Find out about customer issues and deal with them in a new manner.
Customers will use social media to complain. This can be seen as one of the issues with social media, or as an opportunity to catch a customer issue and deal with it immediately. This does take staff time and constant monitoring. But when a complaint is posted and the bank is able to contact that person immediately to resolve the problem that is just the type of relationship building that the customer is looking for. While researching I noticed this in-action, the bank was able to contact the customer with the issue and resolve it. The customer commented on her own link later with an update about how well the bank handled her issue and resolved the problem.
When looking to implement your new social media strategy consider leveraging the talents of a current staff member. A recent American Banker article suggested finding a staff member who is already interested in and participating on social media platforms to implement the plan. This can be a great option as long as the staff member is trained to maintain the integrity of the bank’s social personality and he/she follows proper procedures.
With every light side, there is a dark. It is possible to have social media not work well for your bank. Read this article about avoiding the pitfalls of poor social media strategy planning and execution.
Above all, be honest about your situation and consider both sides of social media before you either jump in with both feet or dismiss the option completely. Just remember social media is not going away.
Andia Dinesen, AFC ®
VP Communications and Operations