From mid-size community banks to multinational financial services firms -- we've seen fun and engaging social media campaigns pop up across the social networks, proving the financial industry is slowly - but surely - finding its place on social media.
If you've been itching to get your bank get started with social and are looking for inspiration, or if you're in a similarly regulated industry and want to see how others are faring, this post is for you. This collection of social media superstars knows what it takes to spark engagement, build and inform their audience, and connect with customers.
Community Banks on Facebook
Community banks are taking to Facebook like fish to water. It's the perfect place to showcase how connected the bank is within its surrounding community, introduce and personalize the team who serves the customers, and provide pertinent information (hello, weather-related-hours-of-operation-changes). Here are some great examples from three community banks.
Susquehanna Bank is a Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based bank operating over 260 branches in four states including Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and West Virginia. The bank keeps its more than 15,000 Facebook followers entertained and informed with weekly features such as "Where is it Wednesday?" and "Trivia Tuesday" -- not to mention special campaigns dedicated to helping those in need. A few recent examples? Employees paid $5 a day to wear jeans to the office, raising money to purchase warm coats for children through Operation Warm. On Superbowl Sunday, the bank donated $5 for every Facebook share, $500 for each touchdown, and $250 for every field goal scored. While you don't need to have oodles of cash to give away to charity in order to be successful on social media -- sharing any of your bank's community service efforts can really endear your company to the community it serves. And it's not all giving and games -- Susquehanna's Page also lets followers know about branch office hours, bank products and services, and responds to customer service questions, complaints, and comments.
We're definitely jealous of this community bank's location… especially in the midst of the Polar Vortex we've been experiencing here in the Midwest. Their social media presence isn't too shabby, ether! Bank of Hawaii's weekly #AlohaFriday Facebook posts bring some of the Hawaiian warmth & charm to its 19,000+ followers (plus a personal connection with various branches across the islands). Bank of Hawaii's Page also shares employees' community service efforts as well as news segment videos featuring banking-related topics.
First Tennessee Bank recognized the popularity of #ThrowbackThursday (#tbt) across the social channels and decided to share some visual gems of the bank's past with its audience, such as the first time an ATM was used in the bank's corporate headquarters. Pepper in some ticket giveaways and holiday-themed contests, and it becomes clear that First Tennessee Bank is definitely having a blast engaging with its nearly 17,000 Facebook fans.
Big Banks on Twitter
It's no surprise that the bigger banks do deal with quite a bit of negativity via social media; when you serve millions of customers in countries all over the world and are frequently in the spotlight -- it's expected that public opinion won't always be sunshine and gumdrops. Occupy Wall Street and bank bailouts have drawn increasing attention to big banks, sure. But any company that deals explicitly with people's money and serves an extremely wide customer base is likely to ruffle a few feathers along the way. A strong customer service and social care presence can not only aide in helping customers get their complaints addressed, questions answered, and fears assuaged -- it can keep financial institutions compliant with regulatory guidance. Rather than ignoring the voice of the social media savvy customers, big banks are looking to interact and engage. Here, we highlight a few notable ways in which these major corporations are harnessing social media to reach their customers.
Recognizing that more and more customers are taking to social media to talk banking (whether it's to ask opinions of friends or air grievances), Chase is making a concerted effort to meet those customers where they are. Sure, some campaigns -- such as #AskJPM -- may not prove as popular as Chase's social marketing team anticipated, but that doesn't mean that all of Chase's social efforts should be denigrated.
Take the customer service efforts, for example. When you visit the bank's homepage, one of the focal points is information about @ChaseSupport, the bank's social care Twitter handle. When you visit the page, you can see exactly who you are Tweeting with (one of nine team members) as well as the hours of support availability. This leads customers to rest assured that their questions, complaints, or comments will be answered quickly. Plus, the team regularly starts and ends the workday with a cheerful Tweet, showing their approachable side.
Chase's Official Communication Twitter handle (@Chase) shares news updates, photos, videos, and community initiatives. Whether it's a new commercial, a series of photos from a recent community service event, or birthday greetings to @Chase followers, the commercial bank is regularly updating its social community on what's happening.
CapitalOne's social presence adds a bit more humor and playfulness to the mix, matching with its other marketing efforts. The current Twitter campaign centers on the hashtag #KaCHING -- tying the advertising campaign featuring Samuel L. Jackson with @CapitalOne and encouraging audience members to share what makes them go "KaCHING". @CapitalOne's team shares creative Vine videos, enticing followers to click through and find out what it's all about. There's a clear effort to meet the audience members where they are -- and CapitalOne isn't afraid to have a little fun while they do it.
CapitalOne also has a dedicated support Twitter handle, @AskCapitalOne, managed by a team of eight support staff members. Tweets are approachable and friendly, and the responses show a personal side. And in keeping with the CapitalOne brand, the support staff members are not opposed to injecting a little playful humor in their dealings with customers. While certainly a fine line to walk when dealing with the particularly peeved, a little brevity could be the difference between a lost customer and an understanding one.
@CapitalOneSpark focuses on small businesses. Similar to @ChaseSmallBiz, @CapitalOneSpark is full of links to articles, inspiring stories of success, contests, products, and services to help the small business audience connect, learn, and grow.
Small or large, these banks all have some great examples of things you can do with YOUR social media channel, whether or not your business is in a regulated industry. While each social presence had it's own take on connecting with their audiences, we noticed a few common practices that might be worth adding to your content mix.
- Customer service. It's a major, major factor of social media and business. If you're not responding to the comments that come in online, you're doing it wrong. (And according to a recent study by Simply Measured, many businesses still aren't replying to social mentions and customer questions as much as they should!) If you find you're fielding a LOT of support-related Tweets, consider creating a dedicated handle to respond. We've got 5 more customer service tips for you here.
- Weekly features. Smart Saving Saturday, Thrifty Thursday, Stellar Teller Tuesday -- business-related or not, have a little fun and set up a weekly opportunity to engage with your audience.
- Be Personal. Make sure you aren’t missing a message. Respond individually and address each concern. Don't be afraid to share a little insight with the world about the goings on at your office.
- Contests & Rewards. Don't think you need to shell out the big bucks to have an impact on your audience. Your giveaways and contests can be as varied as a pair of tickets to a local show or sporting event, a dedicated one-on-one consultation with a financial professional, swag with your brand on it, or even bragging rights. The point is to be creative and give incentive for your audience to participate.