10 Twitter Tips

1. Instead of answering “what’s happening?” try answering “What has your attention?” or “What is important right now?” The answer is often more useful to others. Do your best to promote other people and companies on Twitter, instead of talking only about what you are working on.

2. Twitter provides the opportunity to build relationships through conversations. Share interesting links, insights, trends, and things that are new or timely/current. Be personal, transparent and honest. Add value. Don’t link only to yourself/your blog.

3. Twitter users can benefit from thought leadership, connection to the influencers, additional message reach, access to mobile communicators, and real-time communication. Contribute to conversations that are not directly related to your specific cause, but also related topics.

4. If you want to follow a specific space, find the right people “tweeting” about that space. Again, these people are easy to find if you search keywords at Search.Twitter.com.

5. Retweet important posts that could be relevant to your community. This will foster a better business-user ecosystem on Twitter and expand the reach of your news. Remember to give credit where credit is due.

6. Follow important industry news. More and more, news organizations are using Twitter to report the news. Top financial media that you may consider following include The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ), BusinessWeek (@BW), ABA Banking Journal (@ABABankingJourn), CUInsight (@CUinsight), American Banker (@AmerBanker), and Credit Union Times (@CookeonCUs). Also check out mediaontwitter.com for local reporters who tweet or MuckRack.com for all media contacts on Twitter.

7. Think of Twitter as a networking event. In those settings, just as on Twitter, you listen first then engage in conversations. It’s best to jump in when you think you can contribute in a meaningful way versus trying to have the last word or hard-selling the person with whom you are speaking.

8. Read the bios of those who follow you as it may make it easier to engage in a dialogue and you may consider following them back.

9. On Twitter, it’s less about quantity than quality. Provide great content and the followers will come.

10. Don’t use up your 140 characters on a lengthy URL. There are several tools available to shorten a URL, including: bit.ly, TinyURL.com or SnipURL.com.

What Do Consumers Want From Their Online Banking Tools?

Based on survey results from Intuit Financial Services’ Third Annual Online Financial Management Survey, more than a third of U.S. consumers are now using financial management tools within online banking, a seven percent increase from 2009.

While these online solutions serve as a key resource for consumers, learning how to use them can vary depending on the platform and offering. Consumers want simplicity. In fact, the survey found that 84 percent of respondents believe the most useful and important aspect of the online experience is the ability to see all their finances and information in one place. That fundamental aspect of online banking will remain top-of-mind for consumers as they begin to use these tools across multiple devices and it’s already apparent with mobile banking. Survey respondents want much of the same online banking experience on their mobile devices as on their desktops/laptops.

Consumer behaviors don’t change overnight, but as more take advantage of online solutions, we’re bound to see new behaviors come to light. These developments will dictate how financial service companies can best deliver the right technologies to meet customer needs.

What capabilities will best serve your customers? Can your online solution provide the insights customers need? Which capabilities will move the needle for your financial institution? Leave us a comment below.

How Do Americans Feel About the Recession?

The National Bureau of Economic Research recently reported that the recession officially ended in June 2009, after 18 months. Despite this report, as many as 14.8 million Americans[i] are without jobs and face economic hardships. A poll conducted by Mint.com last week looked at the impact of the recession on America’s finances and asked consumers to rate their personal finance situations. Americans are a resilient lot. You might be surprised by some the answers.

Now for the tough questions:  What can financial institutions do to help customer through these times? Is your institution positioning itself as a financial partner? Will it be in the right place to reap rewards tomorrow by helping customers today?

[i] U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Press Release, October 2010