Social media is an important factor for any retail banking organization’s success—whether or not you're already using debt collection software to build a multichannel approach to customer communication.
It’s important to have a social media presence and represent your organization in the best way possible. Why? Because if you’re not active on social media, conversations about your product and services take place without your involvement.
On social media platforms, you can create brand awareness, form relationships and drive traffic to your website—all in a cost-effective way. These platforms also have an added bonus: they’re where your customers spend time online. Today’s consumer no longer solely relies on traditional communication channels, even for complex transactions like retail banking. This makes social media a key way to engage with, talk to and serve existing customers, all while attracting new ones.
Think about it: If you walked past two people talking loudly outside your branch about a poor service experience, wouldn’t you want to join in, identify the problem and solve it? That conversation is happening 24/7 on social media. The retail banking organizations that apply social media best practices to their operations will win big online.
Why Should Retail Banks Be On Social Media?
Data indicates that servicing customers on social media improves customer satisfaction and purchase intent. New market entrants and disruptive tech companies are using smart social strategies to beat competitors. Banks that cater to customers on social and on the internet are ahead of the curve, and ones that don’t may struggle to capture and retain new customers.
Social media can also help close communication gaps between banks and their customers. It’s an alternate channel to the phone and offers customers 24/7 access to you and your brand. Both are musts in today’s connected world. Offering them improves customer confidence, trust and engagement.
Why Are Retail Banks Holding Back From Social Media?
Retail bankers face a lot of challenges that other industries don’t, so adopting social media might be harder for them. Some of bankers’ top concerns include:
- The time and money it takes to invest in social media.
- Transparency can be challenging and uncomfortable.
- Time or resources might not be available for the increased customer focus needed on social media.
- Using social media in a way that complies with regulatory requirements can be intimidating.
Bankers need not fear social media. By using best practices, you’ll ensure your social media presence works for your organization, not against it.
Retail Banking Social Media Best Practices
1. Implement a Supervision Policy
Establish a centralized, formal policy that regulates what is posted to social media and how employees use it. Explain repercussions for any violations of the policies in place, and train your staff properly on how to follow them.
Here are some examples of what might be included in the policy:
- Don’t collect information from anyone under the age of 13. Set requirements across your site and social platforms to provide birthdate information. Handling information of minors can be risky.
- Don’t use profanity. That includes not just inappropriate words, but rude or offensive language.
- Establish a range of topics and stick to them. A policy should be in place for both professional and personal social media accounts. Professional accounts should have a policy that includes who has the right to manage them, what industry topics are appropriate and how to engage in conversation. Most employees will have personal social media accounts that aren’t monitored by your company, but establish a standard of what is acceptable behavior on social media and what isn’t.
2. Establish Recordkeeping
Keep a detailed record of online communications. In the retail banking industry, customers will approach your bank with questions, transactions and more that involve strict regulations. By keeping a consistent record of communication and promises made, you can prevent legal issues such as money laundering.
If your bank doesn’t have a specific system or software in place to do this, regularly audit social media accounts manually—as often as once a week.
3. Determine Voice and Tone
Your bank’s “voice and tone” should be established prior to creating and executing on your social media strategy. Make it a part of your policy to stick to this. Consistent voice and tone establish a coherent image of your brand, your team and your services, which in turn inspires trust and confidence in consumers.
4. Create Brand Awareness
One of the main reasons organizations join social media is to create brand awareness. Brand awareness is created and increased when companies have:
- The same profile photo on each platform and consistent logos throughout social media images.
- A link to the bank’s website and a clear, relevant description of its activities and contact information in all of its social profiles.
- Expert information to share that creates value for social media audiences—like industry news, trends and insights—not just sales-related or promotional messages that are not relevant to an everyday user.
5. Respond to Feedback
Responding to both positive and negative feedback is essential to your social media presence, and brings a set of its own best practices.
Thank positive commenters and address negative commenters appropriately. It’s important to respond as quickly as possible and direct followers to the best place to resolve their complaints.
6. Be Transparent
In order to gain followers’ trust, you must be transparent in your social media efforts. Your social media followers are likely current customers or future customers. Transparency will build your bank’s credibility and form a better relationship with your following.
There are several ways you can be more transparent:
- Create and share content that provides a “behind-the-scenes” look into the actual human beings that run your company. Put a face to the customer service rep or branch manager consumers talk to every day.
- Clearly explain terms and conditions. Don’t confuse consumers with jargon, fine print or double-talk. State what you mean plainly on social media, whether you’re informing someone about a product or answering a question.
- Provide clear, responsive contact methods on all social profiles, whether that is an email address, customer support hotline, physical location or chat service. There’s nothing worse than a bank saying it’s transparent, then being impossible to reach.
7. Talk To Your Audience
Don’t just broadcast links, messages and information to your audience. Have conversations with them. Use the platform’s search and tagging functions to find relevant conversations happening among your audience. Then, create value in those conversations by being either helpful (in the case of questions, complaints, etc.) or value-added (share information that adds to a conversation or debate).
8. Share Valuable Resources
Promote content from sources you trust. If you find the information valuable, your followers most likely will, too. The more often you share content and tag the source, the more likely they will return the favor. It’s a quick and easy way to deliver value to your audience while amplifying your organization’s reach.
Retail banks can also leverage technology and best practices to not only improve social media, but their overall debt collection efforts. Learn how in this guide.
Image Credit: Jason Howie via Flickr