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6 out of 10 firms are social media novices. Where to start?

I don’t want Facebook controlling my finances. Nor do I want to ‘poke’ my bank or become a ‘fan’ of my chosen institution. What I do want is the choice of how I bank and for my bank to be listening to what I want. And I don’t think I’m alone.


It’s not that I have an aversion to social media; in fact it’s the opposite. I just think certain uses have more of a business benefit than others and whereas some industries might not need to worry too much about the results and consequences of experimental social media use, the financial services industry is not one of them.


While I’m all for innovation in the sector and do think there is a business case for banks and insurers to be using utilising social media, the current economic climate dictates that innovation for innovation’s sake is no longer an option and that maintaining customer trust is more important than ever. This must be kept in mind with any foray into social media so that reputations are not harmed.


According to a recent Aite Group survey, six in 10 financial services firms consider themselves to be either a ‘novice’ or ‘beginner’ in harnessing social media for marketing. So what should this group being doing if they do want to get a bit more ‘LinkedIn’?


First up marketers should be listening before engaging. In a webinar I took part in recently, the majority of the audience thought that there is ‘some’ potential for social media to improve sales. I agree. By monitoring sentiment online and benchmarking this against history, you can enable the multidimensional analysis necessary for understanding customer behaviours and in turn grow relationships with them.


However, ultimately what is said about a brand online can only be considered accurate and fair when it is based on analysis of quantitative and qualitative data and hence any steps made into the social media conundrum should be carefully planned and approached with the right tools of the trade. 

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Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 03 August, 2011, 19:04Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Astute marketers have always known and acted on the basis that 'perception is reality'. It's just that social media has the power to accelerate and magnify perception. A single negative sentiment might subsequently be proven inaccurate and unfair based on post-facto qualitative and quantitative analysis. However, before that happens, social media has the power to make it explode into a huge flood of negative perception. Banks and other companies have to listen and take remedial action (if any is merited) as such sentiments happen, even if their accuracy or fairness is as yet unknown. Postponing remedial action until after the analysis is complete might be too late. 

There's also a flipside to this. Just as negative perception can build quickly thanks to social media, it can also dissipate equally quickly. While I don't have any concrete incidents to illustrate this, I personally believe that a couple of negative flareups in social media hardly affect a brand in the medium or long term.