I was recently at one of the ‘big 5′ bank HQs and saw their brand new “Social Media Reporting Center” prominently displayed in the atrium. Huge video walls on two sides of a corner displaying real-time tweets and graphical categorizations of positive and negative topics that are automatically tracked. As you watch and read the posts, as well as the employee responses, the bubble graphs expand and contract. A large red circle with the text “negative bank brand” shows this ‘bad’ category trending. Just beside it a small green circle with the text “positive bank brand” shows this ‘good’ category trending. A separate bar graph displays the top categories over time (e.g. days, weeks). In short, the entire social media center was for customer service.
This is clearly a use of social media outside the realm of marketing (although there are marketing components within a social media customer service function). I also believe most community banks won’t be moving their customer service departments into this technology for at least a couple of years, although some may be preparing for it.
So what is social media used for on a community bank level? Marketing of course!
The areas of social media marketing that I’m working on and where I feel community banks can use more guidance include:
- Content development – how does a limited staff research, develop, and maintain interesting content that generates consistent fan interaction? Without fan engagement, social media is simply not social.
- Management engagement – how can (or should) management engage in social media consistently? (Think of commercial lenders on LinkedIn groups, or branch officers on Facebook.) Rather than management engagement, should management be content providers or responders?
- Social Media goals – what are the short and long term goals, and particularly the expectations of social media? It’s clear that a social media ROI to satisfy the CFO is elusive, so how should marketing establish the social media expectations for the bank? These expectations will require patience, as impact may only be shown over the long term, with intermittent bursts of short term lead generators. That is, a community bank will rightly be using social media more for community engagement and business development rather than a daily hot and heavy used-car-sales type of lead-generation tool.
There are many other ways this medium can be used. What are your ideas?
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