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Banking and social media: the conversation they don’t want

Banking and social media: the conversation they don’t want

Banks are completely failing to engage with customers via social media, says Neil Svensen at Rufus Leonard. But before they rush out to engage, they need to think long and hard about strategy.

January 24, 2011 2:46 by

Here in the Gulf, there appears to be a fundamental digital disconnect between the financial services world and its customers. But there’s a social media bandwagon rolling worldwide, and local brands are jumping on; often making the leap without looking first.

What’s missing is any sense of strategy. By all means, establish a Facebook page with a brief corporate profile and slap your logo all over it. Then what? What is its true purpose? How do you intend to reach out and connect? And once you’ve established connections with interested consumers, how should they be managed and sustained, now and in the longer term?

It’s the same for Twitter. Twitter is an amazing, real-time one-to-many medium. It’s a live channel. But it’s also a digital ‘cookie monster’. And it needs to be fed. If you don’t feed a constant stream of relevant, interesting, useful tweets – complete with links – customers can (and will) desert your brand for the more connected one next door.

Better, then, to start with the basics and consider social media, and the whole digital channel, in the context of your entire brand communications strategy – for that is its rightful place. And with the digital channel comes a whole new way of speaking and relating to customers; a language, perhaps, that banking brands have yet to learn.

Viewing social media – with its boundless potential to make new friends – as an opportunity for openness and dialogue, rather than a threat to carefully constructed ‘party lines’, should give dusty, boring financial brands the opportunity for ever greater relevance and connectedness. But only if what they do in this brave new world looks, feels and sounds like it’s authentic… and truly joined-up.

Neil Svensen is CEO of Rufus Leonard.

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  1. Jeffry Pilcher | on January 24, 2011 8:00 pm

    The assumption is that banks and credit unions have been slow to embrace social media, when in reality the financial industry is the third most active in the space:

    For instance, over 700 of the 6,500 credit unions in the US are on Twitter. That’s more than 10%.

  2. Andrew on January 25, 2011 7:00 am

    Closest I’ve seen to social media in the banking industry is when ADCB had their website hacked last night. Rather amusing I must say, although it did make it a tad awkward to pay off my credit card.

  3. Danish Farhan on January 30, 2011 9:33 am

    The UAE has one prominent bank that has embraced Twitter specifically to a seldom seen otherwise engagement level.


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