Well actually, my vote is not enough...
I see a lot of finance companies and banks getting started with a token Facebook page or Twitter profile...
...I see a lot of finance houses offering some form of financial market update on a YouTube video with 17 views and the occasional blog here and there because they feel they have to.
Some are reluctantly trying, but very few are going ‘all out’ with their very own niche social network.
Interestingly, First Direct has appointed Mark Mullen, a social-media savvy former head of marketing, as its new CEO, so I watch with interest.
But, every niche market in the future will have their very own niche social network for the raving fans to live and discuss what they love talking about everyday.
The question is, will you own the social network or your competitors?
I give you a case study I know very well. In fact I have received so many Linkedin messages asking about it recently, it inspired me to post this blog.
Over the last two years, as CEO of Benedix, we have converted our entire company to run all operations completely through social networks.
If you know me, you will know that I started what is now the worlds largest training company for students and graduates seeking careers in banking with Peter Hargreaves, the founder of Hargreaves Lansdown, as my angel investor.
Today, all our customers are able to service each other on our very own social network and keep each other up to date with the latest in banking careers.
They help each other solve any problems quickly with our customer service team in the network making sure everything is OK.
I am now able to give them personal service from the CEO.
This was never possible before. But today, by simply adding comments to the groups between meetings on my smart phone, we can give customers a much superior level of service.
So, that’s customer service done to a higher standard than we ever could have done before thanks to social media, but what about marketing?
Hundreds of students and graduates find our social networks everyday through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, FourSquare, blogs and all the other hundreds of free channels available to us all.
We have gone ‘all out’ to create a complete social network to serve our niche, with hundreds joining everyday, so rather than the token Twitter or Facebook like button that most companies are using as their social media strategy in reluctance.
So now that’s customer service and marketing taken care of, but what about return on investment?
If we do a great job at delivering on our promise, as new people join our social network and groups, other happy customers encourage them to do our training. They are able to instantly friend real people that can help them enroll and give recommendations.
In fact they form their own fan groups of people exclusively for those who have purchased our products and meet up online and offline in the name of our products.
So that’s customer service, marketing and now sales taken care of thanks to the social networks, but what about future proofing and product innovation?
Any time we are doing something wrong or new products are needed, our customers become vocal and we fix them.
This tells us exactly where we need to improve and what our next product will look like.
So that’s customer service, marketing, sales and now innovation taken care of. In my book that is 80% of what’s important done.
So now we can simply get on with the important stuff, helping customers and delivering great service, knowing that there is a knock on return on investment that grows the brand.
Servicing + Marketing + Sales + Innovation = Happy Company.
This is only possible by really going ‘all out’ with integrating your social network into the DNA of your financial institution.
Once you move in this direction, you cannot imagine how other institutions do it any other way.
Many are finally deciding to go ‘all out’ now, beyond the token Facebook page or Twitter profile.
Over the next few months, watch the wave of niche social networks that will launch to dominate their niche.
I know this because with our launch of BankToTheFuture.com around the corner, we have invested heavily in building our own ‘all out’ social network, and so far I have been contacted on Linkedin by many Marketing Directors and CEO’s at financial institutions
who want to create their own niche social networks and want to know how.
Without mentioning names, just this month I have been contacted by CEO’s who want to create the worlds first social network for private traders, the worlds first social network for proprietary traders, the worlds first social network for discussing mergers
and acquisition deals, the worlds first social network for discussing online fraud issues and the list goes on.
My forecast - those who create the first ‘all out’ social network for their niches, will be the ones that dominate their niches in the future.
There is only really room for one social network in each niche.
So I return to the question I began with...
Has your niche market got a good social network yet?
If not, will you own the social network or your competitors?
Happy to connect with anybody that is thinking of launching one and would love to hear your plans