social-networking-logos 3Social media has been the topic of many a marketing website, blog and industry report. You see social media nearly everywhere you turn, and yet, the number of companies [especially financial] who are able to truly access its potential, “make it real” in fact, is still disappointingly small.  With all the information available online and elsewhere about how to use this technology it’s inexcusable. It’s also a pity since social media represent an easy way to provide the kind of ‘outside-in’ thinking that is necessary for financials to succeed now and in the future.

The biggest problem:

Some banks tackle social media by treating it as just another way to distribute marketing messages. Instead, banks should begin by defining their business objectives, listening to the social conversations occurring online and creating a targeted plan to meet customer needs. By monitoring social media, you don’t have to guess what your customer wants. You can be part of the conversation as they discuss their financial goals.

Amen! This was taken from a recent article in BAI Banking Strategies. It’s identical to the kind of message we’ve been trying to get across to financials ourselves as a company whose prime objective is helping banks to connect with their customers.

So, you say, the past is the past. True. How can financials use the tools available to gain this critical outside-in thinking now? Well, according to BAI Banking Strategies they can use it to focus on:

  • Customer acquisition: Engaging brand advocates to acquire new customers and increase loan portfolios.
  • Community engagement: Building strong customer relationships through participation in local events and promotions.
  • Customer service: Providing prompt, personal attention for questions or complaints.

This last bit, refers to customer service, which is a key area that has, and does, actually impact the bottom line. Banks can use software to monitor customer responses and in effect, manage to kill two birds with one stone by responding better to customer’s needs and gaining important knowledge about who its customers are as well as what they want. This, in turn, makes it easier to sell products and services that customers will actually buy.

In short, if financials make the leap and decide to use the social media tools at their disposal, they will reap the rewards of improving the bottom line and gaining consumer insight all while helping improve customer engagement which, in the end, is what it’s all about. Right?