Strong Bank Social Media Strategies Demand Collaboration

By Doug Wilber

Social selling offers banks an effective way to drive customer engagement and trust, humanize their brands, build credibility, reach a wider audience and close more deals. The idea may be simple—employees post branded content on their personal social media accounts—but the execution takes some work, as it requires a bank’s marketing and compliance teams to work together strategically.

This isn’t always an easy feat, as the goals of marketing (creativity and quick action) can be at odds with the goals of compliance (ensuring content passes rigorous legal scrutiny). There’s tension here: Marketers will see the potential reach and engagement in encouraging employees to post branded content, while compliance teams will see every participating employee as a risk. Even one rogue employee post could land the bank in trouble, after all.

In short, marketers can feel like compliance is holding them back, even though compliance is simply doing its job in protecting the bank from unnecessary exposure. It’s up to bank leaders to ease the tension between teams and help them work together to balance the risks and rewards of a social selling campaign to ensure the strategy reaches its full potential.

Balancing risk and reward for social selling success

Social media has become an increasingly essential part of a bank’s marketing strategy. Banks may have been hesitant a decade ago, but they’ve since learned to embrace the medium as an effective way to reach customers. At the same time, investment in holistic compliance programs is up, as banks have learned the value of bringing compliance into every facet of the business to improve processes and transparency.

And though social media can seem like a less formal mode of communication, it still needs to be up to par with local and federal regulations, especially for a highly regulated industry like banking. For example, in the U.S. alone, there are upwards of 10,000 laws governing electronic communication (which includes social media).

The consequences for compliance failure can be severe. To execute any sort of social campaign correctly, both compliance and marketing absolutely must be involved in the process, with bank leaders heading up the initiative. Here’s how to get started.

1. Actively work to understand the goals and concerns of each department.

Leaders need to support social selling campaigns, and the only way they can do that is to work closely with marketing teams to understand their objectives, vision, and strategy.

Leaders also need to protect a bank from regulatory penalties by opening up dialogues with compliance and striving to understand those concerns. By working toward a complete picture of the opportunities and potential pitfalls involved in social selling, leaders can help both teams succeed.

2. Help teams understand each other’s roles and responsibilities.

Marketing may want to run with a big new idea, but the team needs to understand why that’s not always feasible in the banking world. Marketers need to be trained in compliance requirements so they know the rules and what’s at stake.

Similarly, compliance team members may feel that social media is low on their list of concerns, but they need to appreciate the value marketing brings to the bank, how marketing timelines work and why they need to review social media content quickly. Leaders can prioritize these conversations to establish open communication between the two teams.

3. Bring the departments together to forge a strong partnership and find shared solutions.

Bank leaders should arrange working sessions between marketing and compliance to finesse the social selling strategy and make sure it works for both departments. When does compliance language need to be followed exactly? When is there wiggle room? What process will the departments use to approve content (a requirement by regulatory bodies)? What does the timeline for social selling campaigns need to look like to prevent unnecessary delays and ensure both parties have enough time to weigh in?

By encouraging marketing and compliance to collaborate on these and other key questions, leaders can accomplish two things: clear, on-brand communications that do not open the bank up to unnecessary risks and minimized tension between the two departments.

4. Invest in tools that meet each department’s needs.

Leaders can support both teams and encourage collaboration by investing in the right technology. Collaboration tools to enable easier sharing and automated approval workflows, for example, can go a long way toward easing tension and ensuring continued communication between marketing and compliance. Digital tools can help teams collaborate more efficiently, but it’s up to leadership to support that innovation and embrace new technology.

Social selling can be a big marketing win for banks—but only if the content employees are posting doesn’t land the bank in regulatory hot water. To ensure social selling success, bank leaders must bring together marketing and compliance teams, educate them on their unique goals, and encourage collaboration to draft and approve impactful, compliant social media language.

Doug Wilber is the CEO of Denim Social, a social media management software company and ABA Endorsed Solutions provider that provides tools to empower marketers in regulated industries to manage organic social media content and paid social media advertising on one platform.