Infographic: The Social Customer

Sprout Social recently released an infographic looking at the social customer and how they interact with brands. The results show some interesting stats, including a nod to the banking/finance sector, which had the highest response rate by industry in Q3 of 2013. The full infographic is below. Do you think the banking/finance sector is as responsive as it needs to be? Any of the data below stand out to you? Let us know by tweeting @bankingdotcom.

The Social Customer Infographic” by Sprout Social

The Social Customer Infographic

New Rules (with Old Problems) In Social Media

In many ways, Peach State FCU symbolizes the essence of the credit union industry: Created in 1961 with a specific goal of serving local educators in a few Georgia counties, it now has more than 41,000 members, while employees of all sponsor Boards of Education and select groups and associations are also eligible to join.

Like all good businesses, Peach State likes to stay current, and that’s why, earlier this fall, it launched social media initiatives through promoted posts on Twitter and Facebook. It was working—the institution says it had soon doubled the number of followers. In November, however, Twitter instituted new rules that “restrict the promotion of financial services and related content.”

For the record, this is not an absolute ban. Financial services providers can indeed use promoted posts, but there’s an approval process that must be followed, and some products, such as short-term mortgages, still can’t be publicized.

If Peach State represents one end of the financial services spectrum—a small, focused institution serving a very specific purpose—then JP Morgan Chase surely represents the other. So what can the two have in common?

On December 6, the Wall Street behemoth sent out an innocuous Tweet from its corporate account promoting an upcoming Twitter Q&A about leadership and careers and featuring the hashtag #AskJPM. It was totally innocuous and uncontroversial. . .except for the fact that just a few minutes earlier, Twitter had gone public with underwriting help from Chase. That first Tweet didn’t get much attention, but a second one a week later certainly did. The #AskJPM hashtag soon became a minefield of nasty messages, most flailing the company for its supposed lack of ethics.

Social Media Tablet

While Chase has had its share of PR nightmares in the recent past, from bribery scandals to the Bernie Madoff fiasco, it surely wasn’t expecting this one. The company hastily scrambled to fix the damage, dropping the Q&A as a bad idea and promising to “back to the drawing board.”

Of course, it’s way too late for that. ‘Social business’ isn’t just coming, it’s been here for a while. The lines between personal and corporate communications, previously blurred by a plethora of mobile apps, have been essentially obliterated by the ubiquity of social media. And the problem isn’t that the rules have changed, it’s that they keep changing on a regular basis.

Just this month, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) released its long-awaited guidelines for this process. Officially intended for financial marketers, “Social Media: Consumer Compliance Risk Management Guidance” actually deserves a broader audience in that it provides a clear overview of this rapidly evolving field, covering both the promise and the potential pitfalls. It doesn’t outline new laws per se, but plays an invaluable role in examining common practices and helping to negotiate current regulations.

Case in point: Twitter itself, which experienced a major snafu in this same timeframe. In mid-December, the company sparked howls of protest when it instituted a rule that enabled blocked Twitter users to anonymously view or Tweet the very users who blocked them. It was done with the best of intentions—Twitter wanted to protect those who sought to filter out abusive messages but feared retaliation—but the change had the opposite effect, and the company almost immediately had to reverse course.It’s important to remember that even a document like this, comprehensive as it is, offers little more than a snapshot in time. Regulations in the traditional sense, like Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, take years to create and implement. Rules around Twitter and LinkedIn, meanwhile, can turn on a dime, evolving as fast as the technologies that enable them.

The simple truth is that new technologies will keep emerging, and the rules will keep changing. In the long run, this is a good thing—each advance fosters better communication and greater competition. But in the meantime, it’s imperative that we monitor new tools as they emerge, stay abreast of changes in user behavior and expectations, and adapt our own practices to stay both current and compliant. It’s a tall order to be sure, but vital nonetheless.

*Image courtesy of  samuiblue - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What All Financial Institutions Should Do on Social: Q&A with Sprinklr CEO

Reports claim that financial institutions are struggling on social. But why? Many brands in other industries have found creative ways to use social media to solve customer service woes, create deeper touch-points with users and keep members apprised of important information. To gain more insight on ways banks and credit unions can ramp up their social cred, we recently spoke with Ragy Thomas, founder and CEO of Sprinklr, a social relationship infrastructure company. Ragy shares his insight with us on what FIs are doing wrong, how they fix some of their biggest problems and banks and credit unions to look up to.

Ragy Thomas Sprinklr CEO

Banking.com: According to CEB TowerGroup, 65% of banks have plans to replace or adopt social networking management technology. Why do you think there is such a need to change services or adopt new ones?

Previous generations of social management technologies and solutions were designed to achieve single-issue “point” solutions, fulfilling one or two social needs such as social publishing or social analytics.

Unfortunately, their inability to work together, or solve for the many other needs mature social management requires (e.g., social engagement, compliance, workflow, listening, governance, etc.) now renders point solutions insufficient.

As in the case of other cross-department infrastructures such as CRM or knowledge management, brands need a true social infrastructure. Financial institutions are realizing they need a single, interconnected infrastructure to effectively manage conversations, campaigns, content and community at scale. They need to be able to collaborate as a team to create a unified customer experience across all channels.

What do you think the biggest challenges are for financial institutions on social?

Compliance, security and privacy are still big challenges for financial institutions when it comes to social.  To go into more depth though, people now expect every brand to know who they are, regardless of which “division” within the brand they connect with. This paradigm is particularly stressful for financial institutions, perhaps more than any other industry, who typically suffer from “business inertia” — internal departmental, divisional, and locational business groups that typically don’t work together smoothly.

Inter-departmental friction flies in the face of arguably the sharpest disruption social has created — the expectation among consumers for a “unified experience.” Regardless of whether they are talking to a teller at the branch, on the phone with customer service, or tweeting out their frustrations, people want to be recognized and cared for as individuals in a personal manner. This comes into play especially when it comes to the extreme sensitivities associated with financial matters. When internal systems are not aligned and don’t “talk” to each other, and internal divisions are not encouraged or rewarded for collaboration to meet customer expectations, customer satisfaction is likely a difficult goal to achieve.

To truly support the “omni channel customer and journey,” banks have to collaborate across teams, departments and divisions. They need to create new processes, and define “ownership” across the breadth and depth of a person’s entire brand journey. This is unfamiliar territory for most banks, with lots of land mines along the way. Given that the volume and pace of social conversations is only likely to increase in the future, the pressure to quickly put together a solution is acute.

Social can be a powerful lever for nurturing unified relationships and generating long-term, meaningful engagement. Every meaningful social conversation can be nurtured into a real relationship that can, over time, become a direct revenue opportunity, positive word-of-mouth, or direct referral. Used effectively, social can become a cost-effective lead generation and activation channel for banks. To start, banks need to build a contextually unified profile for every prospect and customer, the foundation of which is a comprehensive conversation history — combining interactions from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc. With these individual histories, banks will know exactly what has been discussed with each prospect or customer, and will have clear indicators for how to nurture relationships through social interaction.

What would you suggest as the best tactic for financial institutions when responding to negative banking experiences online?

Financial institutions need to be able to admit when something has been handled poorly and rectify it immediately. Additionally, banks must be empathetic and be willing to listen to and trust their customers. As an industry that previously championed process-based decision making, this is a radical change.

If financial institutions were to change one thing today about how they use social networks, what would it be?

Create a cross business unit team that can be an advocate for optimizing client experience across channels, teams, departments, divisions and locations. This can be headed by the chief client experience (social) officer who can champion the transformation to being a social business.

Is there an example or a few examples of banks and credit unions that are really nailing it on social?

Navy Federal Credit Union provides a great example of a financial services company that has employed a mature, holistic approach to social engagement. They intently listen to their social communities, and know which customers spend more and more time on social. As a result, NFCU today provides 24/7 customer service and have an SLA response time of less than one hour. Since 60% of their members log on to social through mobile, they also now make sure new apps work seamlessly on any mobile device.

Another example is Citibank, which serves more than 100 million customers in 40 countries. With more than a million of those customers following their social channels, there were a lot of conversations happening around the brand and it was hard to keep track of them. Citi adopted a social relationship infrastructure approach to help them provide better customer service through social. As a result, the banking giant was able to save roughly 20% of their community manager’s time that was previously devoted to customer service issues. They are now able to optimize resources to social engagement, where they are committed to creating meaningful conversations and escalating customer issues to the right people.

What these two brands have in common is that they use social to enhance the customer experience and make their lives easier. That’s what all brands should aim to do through social.

 

Banking.com, Barlow Research and Digital Insight to Host Twitter Town Hall on November 14th

Banking.com and Barlow Research SOHO Twitter Town Hall

In conjunction with Barlow Research and Digital Insight, we will host a Twitter Town Hall on Thursday, November 14th to discuss Barlow Research’s recent study of the Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) market. The Twitter Town Hall will discuss the survey results and how they tie into current banking trends, including  financial management, payment and credit card behaviors, mobile and digital banking habits.

Barlow Research recently completed a comprehensive, multi-sponsored study that gathered the information needed to segment the SOHO market, examine their financial management, payment and credit card behaviors, measure the value of the SOHO customer, analyze product usage and explore business Internet banking and mobile device habits. Banking.com will be hosting a Twitter Town Hall to discuss the study results, how banks are currently serving consumers and answer any questions about the study.

The Twitter Town Hall is open for all our readers to join and participate in the conversation. To join us and/or learn more about the event, see below

Steps to Join:

  • Twitter Town Hall: Go to www.tweetchat.com. Log in using your Twitter ID.
  • Enter the hashtag to join the conversation: #SOHOStudy
  • You can also follow the hashtag (#SOHOStudy) using Twitter applications such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck 

Details:

  • Date: Thursday, November 14th
  • Time: 10:00 am PST/1:00 pm EST
  • Hosted by: Banking.com Staff (@bankingdotcom), Joel Mueller, Research Analyst, Barlow Research (@BankingResearch), John Barlow, President, Barlow Research (@JohnRBarlow) and Digital Insight (@Digital_Insight)
  • RSVP/Add to your Calendar: You can register for the event via Eventbrite and add a reminder to your calendar. See Eventbrite link here

Additionally, if you are interested in submitting a question prior to the Twitter Town Hall, please DM us on Twitter.

We hope to “Tweet” with you on November 14th!

For more on the study, visit our earlier posts on the topic.

 

Creative Social Media Solutions for Banks

Most banks and financial institutions have a Twitter feed and a Facebook page, but not every bank is employing those social media options in the most effective way. Customers won’t pay attention to a Twitter feed just because “it’s there,” and they won’t befriend a Facebook page simply because an advertisement compels them to do so. Even a staid business like a bank needs some creativity in the realm of social media.

Here are some tips to make social media work for your financial institution.

1. Use Social Media for Research

Social media is not a one-way street, and banks can learn from what their customers say to and about the financial institution on Facebook pages. 1st Mariner Bank, a small bank in Baltimore, Maryland, decided that it would use social media to query its customers about bank features and needs.

Instead of conducting sessions with focus groups, 1st Mariner asked the entire internet what it could do better. Through questions posted on social media pages, the bank was able to determine that it needed to provide a better banking experience to teenagers and parents.

2. Expand Customer Service Options

Social media is all about the engagement and responsiveness of the bank with its customers, and the immediacy of social media like Twitter offers customers the satisfaction of quick answers to problems.

Although the information shared on social media by a bank must be controlled in such a way to ensure security and privacy, the medium remains a reliable option for communicating with customers about their problems. Bank of America recently set up an active Twitter account that took some time to develop, but which eventually turned into a valuable outlet for customer service queries. Other merchant and review sites are also using Twitter as the go-to source for customer interaction.

3. Partner with a Popular Entity

United Kingdom-based Barclays Bank took note of the popularity of football (that’s soccer to Americans) in the country and decided to buy into title sponsorship of the country’s Premier League. Out of this sponsorship came an incredibly popular Twitter feed where the bank started to offer timely updates on what was happening with the professional football league.The feed swiftly gained over a hundred thousand followers, and Barclays was able to fortify brand recognition through Twitter. Each time a fan would see a Twitter update on the football feed from Barclays, he would see the Barclays Bank logo.

There is no doubt that social media propels advertising today, but it may also help a bank to improve customer service and create personalized relationships with its depositors and customers. Today’s customers are on the internet, and it is essential for banks to be inventive and resourceful with their social media campaigns.

A bank shouldn’t see social media as a simple advertising machine but rather a conduit for the exchange of ideas with customers.

Tanner M is a web specialist and entrepreneur and runs Multiple Streams, a site about helping people with their personal finances. Tanner also writes for TopTenReviews.com.

Infographic: Top National Banks on Social Media

The financial services sector may have been slower to adopt social media, but in the past few years, many of the top banks have not only embraced social, but amassed a large following. ViralHeat compiled data on large national banks using social media to see who has the strongest social presence. The breakdown is highlighted in the infographic below.

Top National Banks on Social Media

by Viralheat.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

Getting Started with Twitter: Tips & Tricks

AllTwitter.com, a blog run by Mediabistro, is running a ten-part series on getting started with Twitter. If your financial institution has recently started a Twitter handle, or you are planning on starting one in the near future, these lessons and tips are helpful resources to “get Twitter.” Below are links to the first seven parts of the series; we will update the list as they add the remaining three.

  1. The Newcomers Guide To Twitter Part 1: Getting Started
  2. The Newcomers Guide to Twitter Part 2: Choosing The Right Username
  3. The Newcomers Guide to Twitter Part 3: Setting Up Your Profile
  4. The Newcomers Guide to Twitter Part 4: Finding Cool People, Brands and Accounts to Follow
  5. The Newcomers Guide to Twitter Part 5: How To Get More Followers
  6. The Newcomers Guide to Twitter Part 6: How To Write Great Tweets
  7. The Newcomers Guide to Twitter Part 7: Twitter Etiquette

And, here is an infographic with tips on how to get more followers on Twitter.

Social Media Statistics: By-the-Numbers, May 2013

Below are some interesting statistics on social media usage. Feel free to share your favorite social media statistics in the comments section or Tweet @bankingdotcom.

  • 500,000,000: The number of photos uploaded and shared per day in 2013. (Source: KPCB)
  • 442,000,000: The number of views per month generated by the top 500 brands on YouTube. (Source: Outrigger Media)
  • 50,000,000: The number of unique visitors per month to the Foursquare website. (Source: Foursquare)
  • 6,000,000,000: Hours of YouTube video watched per month. (Source: YouTube)
  • 5: The number of Vine videos shared every second on Twitter. (Source: Unruly)
  • 24: The percentage of online teens that use Twitter, up from 16 percent in 2011. (Source: Pew Internet)
  • 150: The number of times the typical smart phone user checks their phone per day. (Source: KPCB)
  • 645,000,000: Views of local business Facebook Pages during an average week. (Source: Facebook)

Does your financial institution use Pinterest? Here are three creative ways brands are utilizing the site from Social Media Examiner.

Social Media Chatter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of nattavut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Social Media Statistics: By-the-Numbers, March 2013

Below are some interesting statistics on social media usage. Feel free to share your favorite social media statistics in the comments section or Tweet @bankingdotcom.

  • 100,000,000: The number of active monthly users for photo-sharing service Instagram as of February 2013. (Source: Instagram)
  • 8,900,000: The number of Tweets sent on Sunday, February 24th about the 85th Academy Awards. (Source: Twitter)
  • 64: The percentage of US advertisers that plan to increase their social media ad spend in 2013. (Source: Digiday)
  • 200,000,000: Dollars in new funding for social scrapbooking site Pinterest. (Source: AllThingsD)
  • 180,000,000: The number of U.S. Internet users that watched online content videos in January 2013. (Source: comScore)
  • 36.2: Billion online content videos watched by U.S. Internet users in January 2013. (Source: comScore)
  • 191,400,000: The number of unique US visitors for Google in December 2012, making it the most visited site in the US during the month. (Source: comScore)
  • 200,000: Dollars per day to purchase a Promoted Trend on Twitter according to recent reports. (Source: AllThingsD)

Worried about having your Twitter account hacked? Here are five reminders for brands from Social Media Today.

Social Media World

Image courtesy of bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Social Media Regulation – Part I: Adapting to New Policies

This is Part I of a two part post on American Banker’s “Banking Regulatory Update: New Social Media Rules” webinar. You can view Part II here.

Last week, the Banking.com team sat in on American Banker’s webinar, “Banking Regulatory Update: New Social Media Rules,” which detailed the current policies around social media use by financial institutions. Moderated by American Banker’s own Penny Crosman, the panel of presenters included:

With content ranging from how to establish a corporate social media policy, general best practices for social media, and analyzing the FFIEC guidance  and call for feedback on social media regulation, we wanted to take a deeper dive on the content and connect with some of the experts ourselves. We first spoke with webinar moderator, Penny Crosman, editor in chief of Bank Technology News and technology editor of American Banker.

 

Q: What social media policies have you seen banks and credit unions using that you think are effective?

Most of the social media policies I know of are dry, legalistic, and boilerplate. The policies drafted by large banks and Wall Street firms seem to be draconian – many don’t allow employees to even access social media sites (except for a few people who work in customer service and marketing). One reason for this is SEC rules that require banks to archive all emails – messages stored on social networks are difficult for a bank to monitor and store. The employees of these companies sometimes use their personal smartphones and tablets to access the sites. I know of Wall Street executives who have Twitter streams under aliases and protect their streams from being viewed by any but their close friends. Commonwealth Bank of Australia last year came out with a harsh policy that insisted that employees report “inappropriate or disparaging content and information stored or posted by others (including non-employees) in the social media environment” or risk being fired. These are examples of going overboard. Banks and credit unions need to find a way to comply with the necessary rules, yet encourage natural, positive engagement on social media. Citi, for one is finding success using software to identify and catch potential rule violations and route those to its legal group, while encouraging its customer services people to maintain friendly and helpful conversations with customers on Twitter and Facebook. I think more banks will turn to software to handle policy compliance, rather than expecting employees to keep all the rules in their heads.

Q: Do you think banks and credit unions are quickly learning how to adapt to these regulations?

Banks and their compliance departments are keeping a close eye on these regulations and are sure to have their own policies in place when the FFIEC publishes its final rules. They are already used to complying with the many existing consumer protection laws the FFIEC cites in its guidance. What some of them may end up doing is freezing all social media activity until they get their policies finalized and employee training conducted.

Q: What would you recommend as the first step for banks to develop social media policies and practices?

I think the logical first step would be to canvass all current social media activity – review all social media pages the bank maintains and ask employees what they’re doing on their own. The second step would be to hire or consult with a good lawyer who can parse out which aspects of the rules apply to the bank’s activities and help create a policy that would enable compliance.

Q: How do you think upcoming Facebook payments capabilities will affect banks’ interactions with social networks?

I think banks may eventually get involved with payments over social networks, but they may be the last to the party, largely because of the regulations they need to be careful of, such as the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. There are also security issues with social media payments, as social passwords are pretty easy to game. Authentication will be tricky and important. I expect banks will be very cautious about this.

 

Interested in hearing more? Check out Part II with our interview with Carl Pry, Senior Director, Treliant Risk Advisors who spoke to us about how he counsels financial institutions on their social media activities.