By Darsana Vijay
As digital banking becomes more prevalent, bank marketers are making it a priority to improve the entire customer journey and experience. Social media plays an important role in achieving this—and a strategic approach can have a lasting effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Currently, 80% of all banks use social media to engage with their customers, according to an American Bankers Association report.
Because banks are highly regulated, sales tactics are curtailed to a certain extent on social media. This leaves the door open for banks to invest efforts into building stronger relationships with their audience, fostering brand loyalty and eventually turning customers into brand advocates.
To dig deeper into these social strategies, we examined how 23 major banks doing business in North America use social media. The banks analyzed include:
Bank of America, Bank of the West, BB&T, BBVA Compass, BMO Harris, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Citizens Bank, Comerica, Fifth Third Bank, Huntington, KeyBank, M&T Bank, PNC, Regions Bank, Santander Bank, SunTrust, TD, Umpqua Bank, Union Bank, US Bank and Wells Fargo.
From these insights, we identified four ways (based on real examples) that banks can successfully use social media to create a better customer experience.
- Encourage customer interactions.
Social media is a great way to nurture customer interactions. Running contests or asking your audience to comment or share your picture can boost your engagement. Every like, share, or comment on Facebook indicates that your content is relevant to your audience. The Newsfeed algorithm takes this as a hint that your audience is interested in your content and grants your content better visibility. This way, your audience will see more of your content even if you don’t boost it with paid efforts.
You can also use content to get to know your customers and their concerns better. Regions Bank does a good job using its Facebook page toward that end.
Comments on this post, for instance, can help the brand understand what their customers’ pain points are, which can be addressed in their next marketing campaign. Moreover, you get quality feedback on your content. Engagement indicates what resonates with them, and you can put more creative efforts into similar content.
Fostering a culture of interactions is essential in forging stronger ties between your brand and audience.
- Provide valuable information
Nearly a fourth of all the content published by the banks analyzed here during the first half of 2017 included tips and ideas. In the larger social media sphere, content that features things like DIY ideas and recipes have been immensely successful on social media because they provide actionable value.
In the banking sector, tips and financial advice address and offer solutions to real problems customers have. Providing helpful information (even if not a direct pitch for one of your bank’s products) helps build trust in your core competency. Here’s an excellent example from Fifth Third Bank’s Facebook page:
Empathy is a key part of this sort of content. The hook in the copy grabs attention by targeting a problem your audience faces—and then offers up useful information to solve it. You can even show how your services have helped people overcome their struggles. Your audience can, then, picture the part your solutions can play in their day-to-day.
- Spotlight company culture.
One common misstep brands make on social media is focusing content on themselves. While it’s easy to do (who knows your brand better than you?), this approach ceases to be interesting to the audience after awhile. But then, how do you let them know what your brand is all about, the services you offer, or the values you stand by?
Storytelling is an effective solution. By sharing engaging and informative stories, you can effectively communicate your brand personality. Proud displays of company culture usually involve accounts of CSR initiatives, employee stories, and awareness-building around various causes. These types of content allow you to position and share things important to your brand and employees.
Check out how Citizens Bank showcased their dedication to honoring veterans:
Aligning with causes and interest groups is crucial to community building. Your brand is not just associated with the products or services you provide, but with a set of ideals. By association, your customers can also feel like they are part of something bigger and noble.
Projecting a respectable company culture is key to converting your customers to brand advocates.
- Leverage social for customer service.
Twitter is the go-to social network to field and answer customer queries and concerns. Take a look at how efficient these brands were:
While BB&T responded to 45% of all the user tweets they received, TD Bank responded within 44 minutes on average.
Let’s take a quick look at how they usually offer assistance. Here are a few queries TD Bank received and their responses:
Faster responses should not come at the risk of quality assistance. TD Bank reassures their customers by acknowledging their problems and then directing them to the next steps to be taken.
Delivering personalized support at a quick pace is essential to enhancing your customers’ social media experience.
As your customers spend more and more time on social media, your presence on these platforms should be something they appreciate. In order to do this, consult historical data on how successful you and your peers have been in satisfying them. Further, analyze engagement patterns to understand what they expect to hear from you. This way, you can deliver an optimal customer experience.
Darsana Vijay is the resident social media journalist at Unmetric, a provider of enterprise solutions for branded content analysis and discovery.There she is responsible for handling the company’s social media presence as well as creating website and blog content. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.