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May 23, 2013
Nicole DeRogatis

Shortly after implementing social media to K4’s marketing mix, I began to like & follow all of our current clients and prospects and became interested in their social media strategies.

Since Internet Marketing is my passion, I naturally began to wonder if social media and blogging could be additional services we could help our clients with.  Since we are already spearheading the design of their exterior & interior spaces, could we assist with print and digital marketing as well, creating a complete branding package and total consistency of the message?

Prior to attending the Indiana Bankers Association Mega Conference last week, while perusing the event agenda, I found many educational tracks being offered on marketing, social media & blogging.  Clearly, this is what our clients want to know about!   I became excited to attend the tracks to learn more about how we can advise our Banking clients in their branding efforts.

My General Social Media Recommendations…for any Industry

Selecting social media is like selecting any other traditional media from a rate card, each one has its own reach, demographics, etc.  The difference from traditional media – IT’S FREE!  However, it does take time and strategy to maintain.  Don’t be the manager that assigns the task of social media to the youngest person in your company, because “they know these things.”  You need a clear-cut plan and strategy with everyone on board (at least aware) from the Executive level down to the Interns.

I personally believe managing three different social media channels at a time is plenty.  The worst thing you can do is adopt a plethora of channels and not keep them current.  Be realistic about how much time and staffing you can devote to social media.

These 4 questions need to be asked when considering taking the plunge into social media.

  • Who’s your audience?
  • What do you want to market to them?
  • What tools do you have? (What social media will you use?)
  • What are your goals for this channel?

Once you have evaluated and selected the right social media for you, then it is time to:

  • Establish goals and manage expectations
  • Train employees on how to respond, if they are authorized to respond
  • Set up Google alerts to be aware of what people are saying about you online and on social media so you can respond and resolve in a timely manner.

What IBA Annual Convention speakers had to say about social media & blogging

At the Indiana Bankers Association Mega Conference last week, I attended an educational track called “The Role and Risks of Social Media in Retail Banking” with speaker Kristin Sundin Brandt of Sundin Associates, a financial marketing company offering online services & beyond.

What I learned about Social Media for Banks

Banks use social media for:

  • Awareness/Branding
  • Customer Service
  • Product Promotions

Be sure to take advantage of the ripple effect of social media.  When you see a friend likes something, her 245 other friends are seeing that she liked it too.  Imagine if what she liked was your company!

Use social media for customer service.  Who likes to call an automated help line?  No one!  Social media allows customers to identify problems to you quickly, you can respond to that issue ASAP & acknowledge that it is being given prompt attention, give status updates, and respond in a timely fashion when resolved.  Customers like to help and there have been cases when they actually troubleshoot for you!

Bank of America on Twitter is the king of customer care, they follow everyone who follows them, creating reciprocal relationships to communicate privately & trouble shoot issues.  When a customer reports a problem publicly on their Twitter, since they follow that customer, they can respond privately & get the issue offline ASAP.

The LinkedIn social media channel can be tricky for the banking industry since many banks in different states have the same or very similar names, making company identification and claiming a nightmare.

Biggest Risks of Social Media for Banks

  • Compliance – Always submit anything you want to post to compliance for approval.  Compliance is your friend!  However, customers are free to reveal info on your page, which can cause compliance issues.  Have a clear cut plan in place with compliance for how to handle these occurrences.
  • Security & Reputation – be mindful of phishing and spoofing schemes.
  • Employees – Don’t post as your bank to a personal Facebook wall, even your own.
  • Comments – People complain.  What do you do?  Respond & Fix it ASAP.  On Facebook the real name usage tends to eliminate crazies, but Twitter user names allows for some discretion.
  • Starting social media and then not doing anything with it.  This looks really bad.

Measuring social media

  • Conversations – # of replies or comments
  • Amplifications – # of retweets or shares
  • Applause – # of likes or favorites

What I learned about Blogging for Banks

Also at IBA was an educational track “Ten Corporate Blogging Secrets for Banks,” with speaker Erik Deckers of Professional Blog Service.

Why blog? (according to Erik)

  • Search Engine Optimization – search engines like regular website updates.  Blog posts are searchable, creating more online exposure through searchable content that aren’t strictly keywords.
  • Blogging gives an avenue for outreach efforts to gain links back to your website.
  • Blogging allows you to position yourself/your company  as an expert in your industry.

What to blog about?

  • React to industry news.
  • React to questions from customers.
  • Talk about your community so the search engines know where you are.
  • Add videos with helpful advice.
  • Talk about your customers!
  • Link to valuable info from other people/other companies so your followers will know you are helping people.
  • Create lists – People love easily digestible info, that’s why magazines still do them monthly.
  • Answer FAQ.
  • Preview and/or summarize events.

My General Blogging Recommendations…for any Industry

  • It’s best to engage a few different bloggers with different disciplines from your company to provide different perspective and be able to cover a wide range of topics and interests
  • Develop a blog topic schedule to stay on track
  • Be consistent with your blogging schedules

I hope to gain more insight into social media & blogging best practices for the many business sectors we serve such as health care, education, credit union, etc. during this trade show season.

Stay tuned!