Banking on Social Media

History shows that banks always go where their customers go.

Since social media has reconstructed the ways in which people communicate and relate to one another, banks have also moved online to ensure that their customers banking needs are met on their preferred platforms.  This new trend has been termed social media banking. 

“Social media banking is inevitable,” so says a report by global accounting firm Deloitte. The report emphasizes that banks that want to stay competitive and differentiate themselves must begin to build a social media banking business.

And many banks are already building their businesses on social media or using social media to enhance their traditional banking services. Some of the areas that banks are using social media to drive their business include managing customer relationships, conducting market research, expanding customer base and retention, marketing the bank’s products, public relations, sales and recruiting.

American Express, for example, has created, a site that helps business owners connect with each other and offers useful advice and tips on running a business. The idea behind the website is to portray American Express as a reliable partner for small businesses.

Fidor Bank in Germany is another bank using social media to creatively interact with its customers, according to the Deloitte Report. The bank uses its social media interaction to get feedback from customers, when creating new products and even when making pricing decisions on products. The bank also builds its online community by offering higher interest payments on specific accounts to customers that have “Liked” its Facebook page.

National Australia Bank (NAB), on the other hand, is using its social media channels to deepen its customer service relationships. The bank offers customer service agents on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.  It engages its audience by accepting customer feedback and suggestions on its social media channels and it also draws customer involvement by offering economic updates and informative articles on Linkedln and videos on Youtube.

Gamification is the strategy adopted by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentina (BBVA). The bank offers its customers points, status, and badges for performing specific transactions on its website. Some of the actions that customers get points for on the bank’s website include: performing fund transfers, watching videos that promote financial literacy, inviting friends to join the bank and much more. This strategy helps in driving customer acquisition and building customer loyalty.

Building a social media marketing strategy by banks must be holistic, says Accenture. “It must connect to the firm’s digital strategy holistically, including mobile apps, website, and email, as well as its customer service channel, to begin to achieve the scale and impact desired.”

Accenture also warns that, “A lack of integration of social channels with established customer interaction channels can result in conflicting messages being sent to consumers and a bumpy, frustrating customer experience.”

By Anthony Osae-Brown
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