It'S NO SECRET THAT SOCIAL MEDIA IS A KEY MARKETING PLATFORM due to its popularity and usage: 73 percent of adults online and 82 percent of brands use social media regularly. Those statistics alone suggest that banks should not ignore social media and, more importantly, that social media is a viable means through which to reach almost any target audience. Whether you're trying to connect with families to boost home mortgage loans or build relationships with business executives to push lines of credit, your audience is present and active on social media--so your bank needs to be there as well.
Below are six key actions that every bank (regardless of size, location or customer profile) should be doing on social media in order to effectively communicate with its target audience:
Develop a personality
When people interact with a company, they want to feel like they are speaking to a person--not a corporation--but the perception of many financial institutions is that they are impersonal. Social media is the place to dispel that myth and stand out by showing the bank's personality. Doing this helps to deepen customer relationships.
So how do you begin strategically building a brand personality?
* Conduct research. The key to any marketing effort (social media or otherwise) is to understand your audience and their preferred methods and styles of communication. Do they love a good laugh? Do they prefer wit and wisdom? Or perhaps they appreciate a very professional tone of voice? Whatever it is, that should be a guideline for crafting your brand personality.
* Know your bank. While customer preference is significant, it's also important that your bank's personality be reflective of the bank's brand. Revisit the purpose of your company, how you want to be positioned in the marketplace, your previously established brand guidelines, and use that to inform how you should be communicating in the social space.
* Develop a persona. Create a full-blown persona for your bank and "who" it is. Write it down, and share it with the marketing team. The persona should include everything from tone of voice, to imagery guidelines, to do's and don'ts for your bank when communicating online.
Remember that your biggest competitor probably offers similar (if not the exact same) services that your bank does, so any positive way in which you strengthen your customer relationships on social media and, thereby, set your bank apart is worth considering. Establishing a unique personality and voice is something that has the potential to help you develop an online niche for your bank.
Provide excellent customer service
Providing excellent customer service is critical to building long-lasting business relationships. With the social media boom, the number of ways you can communicate with your customers and clients in real time has increased. Customers not only want real-time customer service interaction, they have come to expect it.
So how do you accomplish this?
* Identify the channel through which you want to provide customer service. Do you want to start a customer service-specific Twitter handle? Do you want to create an app on Facebook dedicated to fielding and responding to customer questions? Or would you prefer to set up a customer service email? Evaluate where in the online space...