Celebrities aren’t the only ones who tweet. Twitter gets results in the form of social media followers for banks and financial services. How? They use it to launch products, enhance communications, and improve customer service.
When it comes to social media, financial services are often accused of missing the boat on Twitter, or giving up after some half-hearted effort. Bad move. Here’s a look at some banks heading in the right direction through multiple forms of customer engagement.
With over 22,000 followers, Wells Fargo’s @Ask_WellsFargo page is a good example of a bank Twitter account that works. Wells has put a lot of thought into social media.
Wells Fargo invites followers to tweet their bank-related questions for a fast online response. Wells Fargo also uses this account to ask questions and comment on each tweet. Like other banks that tweet, their Twitter stream shows they even used it to communicate with customers and make branch closure announcements after Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.
TD Canada Trust
TD Canada Trust has gained over 36,700 followers by using its @TD-Canada Twitter account as more than just another customer service access point. It engages with customers by retweeting testimonials from happy followers, and often leads customers to its own website, online tools, and calculator. Tweeting every day on a regular schedule, TD’s main Twitter page also includes a link to its other social media financial services account, the TD MoneyLounge Facebook page — which, by the way, has just under 498,000 “likes.”
What they do right
Online financial communication regulations are confusing, and customers are usually reluctant to discuss private money matters in a public arena. These reasons may explain why, in the race to embrace social media, financial services, notably banks, have been late to the starting line. Only now are they making strides in catching up.
What’s the secret to Wells Fargo and TD-Canada Trust’s growing Twitter following?
The answer is in the tweets.
While the number of social media users following banks and financial institutions is increasing, they want more than just customer service, as American Banker Magazine reported in late March, 2014. Those who do follow financial services on social media expect to see news, tips, special offers, and to communicate with a bank representative for quick communication. Wells Fargo, and TD Canada Trust offer precisely that.
Social media financial services executive tweets with style
Another thing social media users like is to put a personality to a brand. Peter Aceto, CEO of INGDirect Canada, is a bank executive who fully embraces social media. Not only was he behind the development of INGDirect’s official Twitter account, which is now @TangerineBank (15,500 followers), he also engages with customers by tweeting through his personal account.
With almost 14,300 personal Twitter followers @PeterAceto often tweets about leadership and business, with a few ING-related tweets thrown in now and then. Aceto was an early adopter of Twitter, and almost two years ago he identified a common concern among conservative bank executives. Social media can totally trash your brand.
“People are going to call you out on the things you’re not doing well,” he told The Financial Post in June 2012. “You have to be willing to confront those issues and even change some elements of your business… and if you’re not willing to do that, then social media can be a problem.”
As ING Direct Canada gets ready to rebrand as Tangerine next month in the wake of its 2012 purchase by Scotiabank, Aceto is once again popping up in mainstream news stories, often with the nickname “the tweeting CEO”.
Recently, Aceto spoke at the Empire Club in Toronto, and generated a total of nine “tweetable” quotes during his half-hour long talk, including “People have a tendency to fear the unknown. But, there are some who understand that change creates opportunities. #TransformationalChange, ” reported Yahoo Finance Canada. When asked if all CEOs should tweet, Aceto had this to say, according to Yahoo Finance.
“No. When I think of social media there is a readiness that your business needs to have. So if you’re interested in customer feedback then you must also be interested in doing something about it, and have the ability to do something about it because just listening to what people have to say and taking no action is not helpful.”
Social Media Financial Services Response Rate Stands Out
In 2014, the financial services industry is working hard to respond to customer feedback, and social media followers are taking note.
A recent Sprout Social infographic looked at consumer engagement for brands on social media. In simple terms, they studied how well different brands and industries respond to inbound communications from customers on social media. During Q3 of 2013, the Banking/Finance industry had a 28 percent response rate, the highest of the fifteen industries included.
“The Social Customer Infographic” by Sprout Social
Banks that tweet regularly and enjoy a strong social media presence have the following in common:
- Clearly defined social media strategies. They use Twitter, Facebook, and even YouTube to establish their expertise in personal finance.
- They work on creating a sense of community by involving their followers in promotions and contests
- They respond to each query from followers
- They add personality to the perception of a sterile financial institution
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Social Media Financial Services Resources
Canadian Securities Institute: Guidelines for Finance Professionals Using Social Media (Canada)
Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Social Media Consumer Compliance Risk Management Guidance (United States)
An earlier version of this post originally appeared on Digital Draw, a UBM tech site, on November 15, 2012. Digital Draw discontinued publication in March, 2013.
What is your bank or financial institution doing to connect with customers via social media? Is it working? What’s frustrating about implementing a financial services social media strategy? Let us know in the comments below.