Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Making Banking More Social

At the end of last week I attended the Argyle 2017 Financial Services Forum: Marketing & Technology Innovation conference to talk about making banking more social.

Speaking off the cuff in an interview format, I know there are things I could have discussed but didn’t do to the lack of having notes available.

So I decided I would hit on some of what I talked about, but also touch on things I didn’t talk about.

Banking and finance are typically not leaders when it comes to technology and digital. Often, they leverage that which has worked in other industries first. It makes sense; the risk is lower. And we’re talking about very risk-adverse folks.

Where many other brands are today in terms of social, the banking and finance world (on average) is about 5 years behind but, working to catch up. The thing is, in the digital world, 5 years is a lot. And playing catch up means you'll always be behind. Brands need to start looking at ways they can leapfrog to get ahead.

Social touches all stages of the funnel.

I will start by clarifying, the marketing funnel is not the same as a customer journey. But, if we’re thinking about how we want to create awareness, drive education, and get people to act, we have the ability to do it all in this channel. Social can also be a key component to retention, an oft overlooked, yet powerful component of the overall process.

It requires building bridges across the silos that exist within your organization. Thinking about how each touchpoint creates a full story for your brand as they see different content within their social streams.

Think how can you narrate the story in the way that best suits your business needs, as well as providing value to your customers.

Social leads your online customer service.

Understanding the role social can play in customer service is critical. Customer expect to get their issue resolved through a message on Facebook or a direct message on Twitter.

Enabling your social teams to do so, and actually take action for certain items (like a password reset), can have an incredibly positive impact on your call centers. It can also help to improve the perception of your business by being able to solve things with less back-and-forth and in a more immediate manner.

Social provides key insights through data about your customers.

Leveraging the information about your fans and followers across your social networks can provide key insights to help drive future campaigns, and product development. You can discover what other brands they like (including your competitors) and gain tremendous psychographic learnings to apply to your marketing on and off social media.

Social is emotional.

From showing empathy through customer service to showcasing emotion tied to your brand, social is driven by the heart more than the mind.

It's a place to show you understand your customers; it should be relatable and relevant. And, it's a place for customers to show how they feel about your brand.

Social requires the right mindset.

There's more to social than just putting out a post on your platforms. It is a way of thinking about your business to create and deepen connections through relationships. It's also a way to leverage data that exists and use it in ways that surprise and delight.

Just because you're in the financial industry and there are a lot of barriers with compliance and regulations, there are always opportunities to think creatively about how to use social, whether it is in a program you launch or in the way you use the API data to do something that reduces friction for customers.

Overall, there is a lot more to think about with social and banking but, this is a start. Thankfully, banks have started to look outside their own industry for inspiration as well. Other highly regulated industries like insurance, have made great strides in how they create engaging and meaningful social campaigns that deliver for the business.

Banking can get there, too.

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