An Open Letter to the CEO of Your Bank

Dear CEO,

Increasing revenue, reducing cost and mitigating risk all while delivering outstanding customer experience. Those are the main things that you care about, right? Why are you not embracing and owning the adoption of social at scale across your bank? And equally importantly, why are you not embracing social media yourself?

I get it. I suspect that you might be concerned about saying the wrong thing online that could ignite a firestorm of antagonists, dissatisfied customers, and disgruntled employees, who could threaten your company’s reputation.

Ten years ago, I would have been way more sympathetic and agreed that “being social” might be a little risky.

But it’s 2018.

Having a digital strategy integrated across multiple channels is the new mandate to neutralize criticism. It’s become critical to transparently tell the company’s story and join the conversation.

But don’t take my word for it. Research reported in the Harvard Business Review shows that employees with social CEOs say their CEOs’ social media presence makes them feel inspired (52 percent), technologically advanced (46 percent), and proud (41 percent). Sociability shows that you, as the CEO, are listening, open to engaging in two-way dialogue with stakeholders, and comfortable with change.

And in today’s battle for talent, by the way, social CEOs also help to attract and retain employees.

Still on the fence? At Cisco’s giant customer conference, Cisco Live, in 2014, John Chambers, famously delivered the dire prediction that “40 percent of businesses in [the]room, unfortunately, will not exist in a meaningful way in 10 years,” and added that 70 percent of companies would “attempt” to go digital but only 30 percent of those would succeed. He went on to warn companies that they could not “miss a market transition or a business model” or “underestimate your competitor of the future—not your competitor of the past.” He wrapped by saying: “Either we disrupt or we get disrupted.”

Fast forward four years. Participation is still low, but it is becoming increasingly more important for CEOs, like you, to step out from behind the desk and into the digital spotlights of social media.

Please do not use compliance as an excuse. That was so 2014. A truly social CEO is still rare, but there are a few leaders out there demonstrating what it looks like and how it benefits their personal and professional brands. As someone who has worked 1-on-1 with Fortune 500 CEOs, here is my advice.

Be vulnerable and get back to learning.

Take the time to learn how social media can be used to create a customer-first bank. What does that mean? Social media can be used to:

  1. Create experiences that drive customer engagement and action.
  2. Improve brand research quality and brand health measures.
  3. Drive product and service innovation.
  4. Find, reach, and sell to more customers and reduce acquisition cost.
  5. Improve productivity by connecting, unifying, and mobilizing all customer facing teams.
  6. Reduce customer churn by developing one-to-many and peer-to-peer social care.
  7. Market and recruit talent more efficiently by directly engaging customers, opinion leaders, media and job seekers.
  8. Secure the social technology ecosystem.
  9. Improve social compliance and governance.
  10. Leverage social signals to diffuse crises and protect brand reputation.

Empower your marketing and social media team.

I repeat. Empower them. They have the keys to the future success of your bank. Give them the resources they need to “be social” rather than “do social.” With the right support from you, they have the keys to help ensure your bank remains relevant by becoming truly customer first.

Thanks for reading.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Swift

Dan Swift is CEO of Empire Selling, the digital selling methodology helping sellers and companies survive and thrive in an increasingly digital world. Previously, he was a member of the senior leadership team at LinkedIn. There he launched LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Financial Services, Insurance and Banking, and created the LinkedIn profile optimization program Resume to Reputation. In 2015, Onalytica Research named Dan as one of the leading social selling influencers globally. Email: [email protected].  Phone: (347) 613-5796. LinkedIn.