Financial questions surround nearly every life decision. Many of these decisions and plans play out over the very long term. Unfortunately, this means that customers have ample time and opportunity to switch services when they are motivated by a better offer, or worse, turned off by poor service. Financial services need to develop trust. Trust comes from credibility that you consider your customers as people with needs, not numbers or sources of revenue. Luckily for those of us working in financial services, social media has given us a powerful new tool to develop credibility and deepen relationships with customers.
1. Think of the customer experience as a journey
Developing a relationship with a potential customer can take years in the financial world. Even though customers have an abundance of choice, decision-making can be paralyzing. In order for a customer to have the confidence to select a financial partner, a lot of credibility needs to already be established. For a customer to remain with a financial partner, they must continue to derive value from a strong relationship.
2. Create strong relationships through a quality experience
For your existing customers, your financial service prides itself on its customer service. Social media is an extension of customer service that gives you insight into your customer’s habits and needs. Being responsive is critical. Facebook has been rolling out a responsive score for the admins of Pages, as a way to boost responsiveness and hold Pages and brands accountable to their customers. This is the perfect opportunity for a financial service to shine.
Being responsive is only part of it. Social media lets you see what people are saying about your service. You can study this information to anticipate your customers needs.
3. Make it a member-focused
Quality begins with understanding who you’re dealing with. Social media provides a portal into who your potential customers are. What do they like? What other products have they talked about? Have they ever mentioned you? Keeping your ears to the ground will help you identify moments to further connect with your customers. Can youdiffuse a situation by immediately providing support? What about a personalized message to your top customers? These above-and-beyond customer service moments are made possible when an organization embraces social media.
“Above-and-beyond customer service moments are made possible when an organization embraces social media. – Tweet This
4. Deliver valuable content
￼￼￼The backbone of effective social media strategy is providing customers with high-quality financial literacy content, like savings tips, retirement whitepapers, or tax calculators. You can create helpful, well-produced video content that not only educates but can also entertain. This content lives on social media and is shared between new potential customers, making it often their first impression of your company.
Since it’s often the first impression, it’s a great opportunity to gain credibility. You can easily create content thataddresses things like common mortgage questions which will calm fears. You can produce infographics that explain different savings options, the type of content that people will want to store away for later reference. You can even inspire, by profiling local businesses who have benefitted from your know-how. The key is to be consistent and reliable.
The key to using social media for financial services brands is to be consistent and reliable. – Tweet This
5. Establish credibility
When people see valuable, useful content on social media, they reciprocate by giving you their time. They either connect with you by liking your page, or they might even share your content. Most importantly, they give you their respect, and will be more likely to engage positively with your other promotional efforts.
6. Lead the way
Once you have established credibility and your customers are following you, you can lead them through the best possible journey. You can define this journey by listening to them on social media. You can refine this journey by having conversations with your customers instantly and on services they feel comfortable. But most importantly, you will begin to see real returns on your investment, as your social media strategy reaches your reputation further and further across the web.]]>
The way we see the world, and the way the world sees us and our businesses will never be the same.
Social media is a part of our world that is not going away.
It is the way so many people communicate today, which makes it an important leadership tool.
We could spend hours discussing the qualities that a good leader needs. Many will be universal, while others only apply to specific teams and situations. There are as many leadership styles as there are leadership situations, but there is one thing we continue to see time and time again; an effective leader is always an effective communicator no matter the medium, and effective communciation isn’t easy.
The channels are always changing and the way we communicate must also continue to change. Click To Tweet This
We are ever-evolving our social media strategies to keep pace with the changing landscape and the demands of consumers. The increasing volume of service inquiries has led to the need for more people, tools, and technology to facilitate these social interactions.
Last year Navy Federal saw a 14% jump in inquiries via social media. Because of the increase in volume, we rely on enterprise grade social media management solutions and analytics tools to monitor conversations, log service interactions, and measure the impact of these conversations.
Social media hasn’t always had organization-wide exposure and importance at Navy Federal, or at other banks or credit unions. For many financial institutions, the only users were employees who made up the first Facebook “likes”. Since then, the use and role social media plays in sustaining positive sentiment, member satisfaction, and growing the business is a vital one.
We started out with just two social media strategists, and a commitment to curating authentic content with a focus on building relationships instead of sales. We’ve multiplied to include more strategists and social care specialists, providing 24/7 coverage of our social channels.
This increase in resources – as well as having the right technological and organizational infrastructure (more details in a bit) – has allowed us to continue delivering an industry-leading response time – one of our organizational priorities.
Striking a good balance between education, entertainment, and member service led to the ground swelling of our social community. Once you’ve got that down to an art, your attention should to shift what benchmarks and measurements you are using. What are the indicators of growth? What is the overall sentiment among your users? How do you gauge your success?
With increased traffic comes the need to improve capabilities and functions across channels. We focus on integrating social with our other business units to create cross-functional teams that understand the social media landscape, while still being focused on answering questions, solving problems, and identifying member escalations.
This involves a critical partnership with our member service team and having them use the same social media management solution as we do. By getting everyone on the same platform and cross-training, they’re a dedicated, knowledgeable, and fully equipped team able to respond to inquiries and escalate messages.
We’ve also woven social listening tools into the mix. They function as an early warning system, alerting product owners to changes in the marketplace and member feedback. Using social listening data allows us to have a deeper understanding of our members and be better attuned with their needs.
The next steps brands should focus on is the integration of social marketing platforms with other marketing and non-marketing technologies, i.e., marketing automation platforms, content management system (CMS), and perhaps most importantly, a client relationship management (CRM) tool.
Begin a social strategy by conducting an audience analysis in order to group people by their interests and behaviors. This type of analysis allows you to reach the right audience with the right message. Also look at the conversation that is already happening around your brand before engaging in any marketing conversation. You want to be sure you understand what your members or customers are already saying about your brand, which allows you to interact with them on topics they are already discussing.
In terms of competitor analysis, keep up to date on competitors within the industry to see what types of content they are sharing and how they are engaging with their consumers. Once you’ve gathered insight on your audience, competitors, and the conversations they are having, you are now able to use this insight to create and execute the social strategy. Measure which brand activities are resonating, which posts members or customers are engaging with, and ultimately which activities are driving real business results.
The integration of all these technologies, resources, and processes produces results on social that help inform business decisions and create better goals.
Credit union members and bank customers continue to become more socially engaged, and the need to provide them with meaningful brand experiences, whether in a branch or online, continues to grow. In fact, according to CEB TowerGroup, half of all banking customers who use social have used it to research or discuss a product or service in the past six months. You have to know who your audience is, and where they’re hanging out on social media in order to continue engaging with them.
One way to continue to engage and build real relationships with your membership or customer base is through user-generated content.
As an example, we recently launched the #JoinTheFamily membership campaign, which features an immersive photo gallery environment for our members and prospects to share a story about their families, and explore the stories of other members. By inviting members to share their stories, and using our social presence to highlight these heartwarming photos, we are building a strong sense of community and hopefully creating that emotional connection that all brands strive for.
As your social efforts mature – moving from simple amplification of existing marketing efforts to a deeper dialog with your members or customers – be sure to work to maintain a human voice on social channels while providing direct support. Focus on engagement by sharing valuable content and promote the economic wellbeing of your members or customers. You need to understand the value of connecting and engaging in real relationship building via social media.
The ultimate goal for any business is to ensure that consumers have a consistently satisfying experience. It’s why we’ve invested so much into building and maintaining our social program. We not only want to show that we stand behind our products and services, but also that we are truly committed to the member experience. As Cutler Dawson, Navy Federal’s president and CEO, said, “Social media is where we listen and learn to serve our members better.”
The new social and digital business world has to acknowledge that things are changing at a faster pace than ever before.
If there is one piece of advice other financial institutions should take to heart, it’s this: Always strive to deliver the best experiences. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m providing making the consumer better and more fulfilled?”
Is your content providing an easier way to accomplish something?]]>
I was able to lead a planning session with the team and together we developed the social media mission by setting own personal goals as well as the goals for the team. We took a long, hard and collective look at the team strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to determine the best way to move our team to the next level.
My hope is that we are able to promptly respond to our members needs or concerns via social media. We want to engage in actions that demonstrate respect and concern for our members. Our actions on social media must go beyond our self-interests and be on the look-ourt for the well-being of the larger community we serve.
I’ve learned that my new company has such a strong community of employees and members that are already involved in a real-life dialogue and interations in our branches or over the phone everyday. It only makes sense for us to help the re-imagine what these conversations look like and feel like on social media.
I have set the direction. We want to be the most socially engaged financial institution in the world. But it’s going to take more than a few of us in marketing; it’s going to take the weight of the whole company.
I believe we have the culture to foster this type of employee brand advocacy. I believe we are strong in our community and therefore we will grow the most in our areas of greatest strength; both individually and collectively as a company.
What is the difference between social media and leadership? Nothing. Authentic leaders have a steady and confident presence. They do not show up as one person one day and another person the next.
For social media to work, it must be fully transparent- the good, the bad and the ugly. It must real, and the same can be said of leadership.
This is nothing ground-breaking, it’s been said before.
The real value of social media goes way beyond marketing and communications: it is teaching us a new way to lead and manage our organizations. – Jamie Notter
I have been in my new role for a little over 3 months. My first 90 days have really been about outlining a plan to help move social media into a highy engaged marketing discipline. We are going to continue evaluating the policies, the team structure, the training, the content- but nonetheless, we know where we are headed.
Social Media= Authentic Leadership = Engaged and Trusting Employees. -” Tweet This
If you’ve heard me speak, I like to talk a lot about ’employee social advocacy’ and I truly believe this is the future – but all I’m really talking about is employees being themselves/ ourselves on social media- you can call it ‘authentic social leadership’- call it transparency, authenticity- whatever, you want to call it, we need to be Social with a capital S, and the Social Media team needs to BE social by modeling the behavior we hope to see from the rest of the organization.
We all need to be leaders by teaching those around us how to use social media. This will require each of us staying patient with the pace of change and always remembering to take the opportunity to educate our peers.
As an industry leader in social media, we must all be our authentic-selves in order to guide our organizations towards social business. I believe that social media equals authentic leadership which equals engaged and trusting employees which is how you become a social business.
In August of last year, I was offered the opportunity to lead CSC’s corporate social media program and I took the next step in my career.
I have enjoyed working with the entire team and the marketing program they have built is truly world class. I will look back on my time at CSC and remember the blazing speed we took for the redesign of csc.com, the intense focus on demand generation as well as the data-driven marketing culture we fostered.
Through these efforts, CSC is finding it’s voice in the digital world and I’m proud to have been a part of this social transformation. It has been an incredibly exciting and intellectually stimulating time to be part of the CSC marketing community.
Next Monday, March 10th I start Chapter 3 of my career. I have officially accepted the role of Social Media Manager at Navy Federal Credit Union.
Here’s a cool article that gives a glimpse of the social program at Navy Federal:
I am excited to meet the new team…many of whom have already reached out to me via Linkedin and Twitter (I wouldn’t expect anything less from a social team! : )
It’s a huge opportunity and a big chance to take some of my ideas to the next level and to help build a social community with members of the Navy Federal community.
I’m ready! Let’s do this!
I have an acute understanding of the transformative nature of this new medium. From sales to support, from marketing to management- everyone is touched by this social revolution.
Social media has disrupted the top-down communication channels that dominated the business word for the last 50 years. As this transformation comes to life inside marketing organizations across the globe, I want to help companies use digital media to tell their story in a human way- in a social way.
I want to build a transparent company with a socially engaged workforce that uses digital communication tools to collaborate and innovate, both from the inside-out, but also from the outside-in; leaning on the community for support and guidance when developing strategies and solving business challenges.
Social media drives information into the spotlight and I believe that business executives can drive their own stories of innovation and transformation by using social media to their advantage.
I started my career as a sales executive at a commercial newswire that opened my eyes to the world of well-orchestrated media campaigns and customer service. My success in client services and sales earned me the responsibility of client-facing webinars for thousands of customers where I gained the sales-savvy marketing mindset I have today.
From SEO and social media to email and web analytics; I am at the intersection of the content, delivery and measurement of news and information on the social web.
As a data-driven digital marketer, I understand my role in helping to elevate social media to true marketing discipline.
Getting excited for what’s to come,
It’s more sophisticated and personalized and I believe we have only begun to elevate the art and science of Digital Marketing.
With that in mind and end of the year predictions among us- I present to you, My Top 10 Digital Marketing Predictions for 2014.
10. Brands move into more branded content better tailored for individual networks. Infographics go on visual.ly, short video stories on Vine, photos on Facebook, tweets on Twitter ( wait?.) Yes, tweets are for Twitter. You get the idea- tailor the content for the audience and for the platform. The medium is the message.
9. Twitter figures out how to better personalize the stream to filter out the news and information that I want, when I want to see it and from the people I care about. Twitter also pushes hard on the Social TV phenomena and leverages the partnership with the networks to be the official social network of the 2014 Olympic Games.
8. Mobile First becomes a reality as mobile web traffic overtakes desktop viewing for most brands for the first time. ComScore predicted this event nearly 2 years ago. For websites that didn’t take this seriously. Time’s up.
7. Privacy and security implications for digital marketing and digital tracking take on a heightened importance as more and more big brand companies push to reform Government Surveillance.
6. Digital Marketing is the new Content Marketing.
5. ‘Omni-Channel Marketing’ gains popularity as an industry buzzword.
4. SEO Dies. So does the press release. Content remains King.
3. Social Media becomes more and more integrated into everything we do and everything we do is easily broadcasted and shared with our friends. These moments in time, these short videos, or filtered photographs or short bursts of wittiness take part in all aspects of life, be it -work, family, hobbies, business, schools- all aspects of life itself. Take the idea of ‘Social Business‘ which, perhaps could be a bonus prediction on it’s own- Social Business, is just that, business- one aspect of our life that can ALSO be shared socially.
2. Analytics and measurement become more sophisticated and predictive, allowing marketing departments to better determine a prospects buying behavior. Retailers had this science figured out years ago; B2B marketing is catching up and using this type of Big Data analytics.
……. and Number 1
Digital Platform Management as a Service: DPMaaS. Think about it. Your Digital Marketing platform, your Digital Recruiting platform, your Digital Sales platform- merged into one-cohesive project management, social content, funnel pushing, sales producing, digital machine. Everything working together.
What else do you expect to see in Marketing or PR in the New Year? What’s changing in your industry?]]>
The Monday after we returned, we hit the ground running. On top of catching up on all the work we had missed, our friends came up from Richmond to see a concert at the 930 club in DC. Prior to leaving for the show we wanted to listen to some music, except we were moving and our apartment was almost 80% packed up- making it difficult to find anything. So we sat there with the Samsung smart TV, an iPad, three iPhones and a Droid and SOMEHOW – we couldn’t get the phones to play music through the TV speakers. We just couldn’t. I’m usually pretty good at these sorts of things and find a way to hack the audio cables so that it just works, but this time it didn’t work.
The 5s wouldn’t connect to the the old Apple dock, the HDMI adapter wouldn’t let the iPhone 4s play through the speakers and Samsung Smart TV wouldn’t connect to the Amazon Cloud music player. Trust me. It wouldn’t work.
So there we sat, four friends with the most technologically advanced equipment in the palm of our hands, listening to music out of a red plastic cup. Yup, a red plastic cup you see, acts as an amplification device with the sound waves reverberating off the rounded tube. It works.
So, the next time something technology related won’t work for you- just stop and grab a red cup and maybe fill it up? Just relax, it’ll be okay if you don’t have your phone, or your laptop, or your tablet, it’ll be fine- I promise.]]>
In May of this year I attended the The What’s Next DC conference with some colleagues from CSC. It was one of the most creative conferences around Washington D.C. with an amazing line up of marketers, communicators, business managers, founders, entrepreneurs and digital savy social media brains.whew.
Those two days went by fast. Monday I was the first to arrive at the Hamilton. A cool restaurant/ bar /sushi place with a gigantic venueplace right downstairs and it’s right downtown. The space was awesome and The speakers were amazing!
Here’s are few of my favorite moments from this past years conference:
I used Blackboard at JMU and it really was a new way of working with your professors. He told an amazing story about borrowing chairs for their first office and the lessons they learned while building that company. Michael is onto his newest company Social Radar, which is a location based social networking app- pretty cool stuff.
“What are the big networking events in DC going to be this year?”
I think DC is THE PLACE for Digital Marketing. Anyone else think we need a purely- Digital Marketing event?
A Social Media Event? A Blog Potomac 2.0. ? You know what I’m talking about…
To be sure, it’s all good stuff.
Work is good, life is good, business is good.
I’ve been in my current job for nearly two years and have truly built an arsenal of digital marketing skills.
Also, many of you know that I have been building and designing websites in my free time. For me, this type of work is fun and gives me a chance to repurpose some of my marketing work back into web development. Not to mention the fact that I have always wanted to build some of my own ideas on the web, and it’s good practice.
So- why all the angst?
Well- with all this knowledge and experience that I’m gaining in my job and the website building and the social media engagement I feel like I’m bottling it all up inside. I have a tendency to revert back to an introverted, more inquisitive side of my personality until I really feel confident in understanding what and whom I’m working with. I like to think before I speak.
I can now say that I’m ready to start a dialogue with my friends, family, coworkers, all of you who I’ve interacted with online or in real-life at some point in my life or career. I want to bring friends from high-school and clients from DC and digital marketing colleagues into the fold and start a real conversation.
In the recent weeks I have begun a transition into a global social media manager role at CSC. This move represents a big opportunity to shape and manage the social media capabilities of a fortune 500 company.
It feels like a tipping point for me and I want to share my experience with the corporate world, with social advocates, with SEO and web design firms, digital marketing professionals and with you!
In the end, I’ve come the the realization that I can’t be scared. This is me. I am an entrepreneur at heart and I want to be be open and transparent and have nothing to hide. I want to be me and help those around me do business better online.
I want to help CSC develop practice standards to elevate social media into a true marketing discipline across the company. This is a big challenge and will be a fun journey.
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” ~Charles R. Swindoll
It had been quite a journey to get my body to this point. I have run:
All that’s according to my Garmin Connect lifetime totals. Where I can track my running progress and see how I built up the distance over time.
Now, you may know that I like beer and that for the past year I’ve been building out my home brew operation with a Summer Ale, a Dunkel, an Imperial IPA and next up a Belgian Blonde.
Well the idea hit me to name the beer after the 26.2 moniker- and thus Marathon Blonde was born as a Belgian Blonde ale fit for any chalice.
Be Sure to check out Tonerbrewing.com for the latest home brews.