Banks face up to social media challenges - Finextra@Sibos

Banks face up to social media challenges - Finextra@Sibos

Citibank's marketing of Sibos on Twitter drove up visits to the bank's corporate micro-site for the international banking event by five-fold in advance of the show. The figure was divulged by Citi's managing director of marketing Leslie Klein at a Finextra-moderated Sibos panel discussion on the use of social media in financial services B2B.

Klein was speaking in front of a standing room-only crowd on a panel that included Hakan Aldrin, managing director of the Benche at SEB, Kees Moens, senior communications manager, Internet, at ING, and SunGard's director of analyst relations Alyssa Gilmore.

The panel - moderated by Finextra's very own Elizabeth Lumley and broadcast across the Web on a simicast - ranged across a variety of topics, including corporate policy and philosophy, return on investment, regulation and examples of best practice in the corporate uptake of Web 2.0 communications tools.

While the bankers on the panel described themselves as 'conservative' to 'moderate' on the use of social media by employees, SunGard's Gilmore proved an eloquent exponent of the technology as a force for good in the corporation, driving collaboration and knowledge-sharing across the group.

"We see social media as a core professional competency," she said.

Rather than discouraging employees from the channel, SunGard expects staff to play their part by joining communities of common interest and actively participating in online fora. Internally, the firm uses Yammer, an enterprise-level version of Twitter, to exchange information about projects and events and to broadcast queries across the organisation. "We've opened it up to all 20,000 of our employees worldwide and the uptake has been tremendous," she said.

Citi has been engaging in similar closed loop pilots with IBM, using Big Blue's technology to run three-day corporate 'jam sessions' on particular themes, such as innovation. Klein says the bank is learning a lot from these experiences and plans to continue to experiment both internally and externally with targeted 'micro-communities' of clients.

While Citi remains conservative in its approach - indeed the bank principally uses Web 2.0 as a means to market to rather than actively engage with clients - Klein says the bank has to be ready to move with the medium as it evolves.

All of the bankers on the panel were in accord on the tricky issue of measuring return on investment in the B2B space, with social media seen as one element of a protracted conversation with clients prior to full commercial engagement.

Instead, smaller victories are celebrated, such as Citi's success with its first Sibos Twitterfeed, using the #Sibos to drive prospects to its marketing material ahead of the show.

"It drove visits to the Website up five-fold," said Klein. "That's great ROI by any measurement"

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