Two phrases together such as social media and banking industry may not seem like the most natural of partnerships. However, like every other sector, banking has been forced to jump feet first into this new social world – and many businesses have discovered just how many benefits this offers. So, where has the social impact been most felt in banking?
Engaging with customers
The banking sector has a long history of failing to genuinely engage with customers and social media has provided a huge opportunity to change that. Platforms such as Facebook and YouTube have proven the most popular and effective, with Twitter not far behind. The most positive aspect of social media is its availability to all institutions, from a two-branch bank, to a global multinational. Indian banks provide a stellar example of how the industry has used social media to engage with customers: ICICI bank has 2 million Facebook fans, for example, with a combination of promotions, questions to fans and contests proving the most popular posts.
Providing customer service
Overwhelmingly, customer service is the area in which social media has made the biggest impact on the banking industry. Free, fast and relatively simple to operate, platforms like Twitter offer a speedy way for customers to get in touch. This has enabled the banks who embrace social to cut down on time spent on email and telephone interaction and boost customer satisfaction levels. Heading off complaints quickly and giving customers immediate attention is very effective, whether the social platform is responding to a request for information or dealing with an issue.
Smart banks have begun to use social media to understand their customers better. Social listening and monitoring have made it easier to carry out market research and gather essential data for planning new products and services, as well as defining genuinely useful support strategies. This social intelligence represents the kind of data that banks would have paid good money for several years ago but now it’s available for free. The insights this offers have created a whole new way for banks to research and plan strategy.
Improving brand perception
Social media is a great leveler and even the biggest brands have to work to get ahead on these platforms. The challenge of being human and interacting authentically is one that many banks have faced on social platforms – done well, this offers huge benefits in terms of brand perception. Strong social relationships with customers lead to loyalty, referral, and brand advocacy, all of which serve to strengthen the brand IRL.