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eBook: 10 Steps to an Effective Social Strategy for Financial Services

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Are you ready to start investing in social media? Are the challenges of compliance and regulations holding you back? Don’t get left behind. Your customers and community are already talking about …

Are you ready to start investing in social media? Are the challenges of compliance and regulations holding you back? Don’t get left behind. Your customers and community are already talking about
you, their experiences with your brand, your competitors and the overall financial industry - and
social media has provided them with a megaphone to share their voice.

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  • 1. 10 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL STRATEGY FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES BANKING ON OCIAL LISTENING
  • 2. INTRODUCTION Are you ready to start investing in social media? Are the challenges of compliance and regulations holding you back? Don’t get left behind. Your customers and community are already talking about you, their experiences with your brand, your competitors and the overall financial industry - and social media has provided them with a megaphone to share their voice. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to integrate social into customer service, marketing, crisis and reputation management and sales and HR initiatives. With the right education and technology, you can put a social listening and engagement strategy in place, start interacting more effectively with your customers and use social intelligence to achieve business results. BANKING ON SOCIAL LISTENING 10 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL STRATEGY FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 In this ebook we will help your financial services brand develop an effective social listening strategy by you showing you how to: Align social media monitoring with your business objectives Develop a strong social media policy Create an engagement playbook Understand your industry’s social media landscape Cover all channels and languages Build a community around your brand Engage with customers and prospects Archive content and engagement Be prepared for escalating crises Measure your success 1 According to a recent study by Forrester, 45% of online U.S. adults who have a Twitter account are interested in interacting with financial services firms via Twitter, and consumers also say they are interested in receiving promotional alerts, financial advice, and customer service from their financial provider via Twitter. 45%
  • 3. ALIGN SOCIAL MONITORING WITH BUSINESS OBJECTIVES To maximize insight into social media conversations be sure to define the right parameters, the most important of which is aligning your social monitoring strategy with your company’s business objectives. To do this you must first identify your business objectives and evaluate how social media can help achieve your goals. A business-aligned social media strategy justifies the business case for investing in the right social media monitoring and engagement tool that is critical to its success. DEVELOP A CLEAR SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY It’s important that everyone involved in your company’s social media efforts thoroughly understands the social media compliance regulations. If you’re using a listening platform, make sure your team is fully trained on your tools, and how it can help your company stay compliant in the social space. CREATE AN ENGAGEMENT PLAYBOOK Your social media playbook should be a “how-to” book for your employees, built on the fundamentals of your social media policy. Provide clear examples of information that can be shared on the different social media channels, and information that needs to be shared out of the social media sphere. Your playbook should also detail a process for communication with your customers, including when to take engagement offline routing them to the right customer support representative. Include a validation process for responding as quickly as possible to your consumers, and prioritizing engagement around negative feedback BANKING ON SOCIAL LISTENING 10 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL STRATEGY FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES 2 1 2 3 In a recent ABA Banking Journal blog post, CEO of Beyond the Arc, Steven J. Ramirez, noted that the best way to decide which negative comments to respond to is to simply follow a process similar to a hospital triage. “First, fix what’s obviously broken. If there is a serious complaint, engage those customers quickly.” First things first. Before you dive into listening and engaging, cover your bases. Develop and implement a clear social media communications policy to share with your employees and financial advisors. Leave no question around what company information is acceptable to share and how engagement is recorded and archived.
  • 4. UNDERSTAND THE LANDSCAPE Find out where your community “lives”. Do your customers and prospects engage on Twitter, blogs, forums or mainstream news? What keywords do they use the most? Maybe they’re discussing “banks”, “credit cards”, “investments”, “equities” or “brokers”. A listening platform will help you seek out these conversations to give you a firm understanding of who your community is, and where they are – this information will be key when you’re ready to engage. COVER ALL CHANNELS AND LANGUAGES Start by casting the net wide. Social media is bigger than Twitter and Facebook. Conversations around the financial services industry and your brand are happening on blogs, forums, message boards, LinkedIn, online communities and even international social networking sites. BANKING ON SOCIAL LISTENING 10 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL STRATEGY FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES 3 4 5 Bank BNP Paribas, well-known for its creative social media marketing initiatives, has successfully tapped into a whole new community, thanks to innovative campaigns like We Are Tennis. From taking a peek into our Synthesio dashboard, we can see that the buzz around BNP has gone from conversations around bank services and credit cards to discussions and posts about sports. BNP has found a way to expand their community-base – and social listening gives them the tools to seek out these conversations, drill down and engage. Give global reach to your company and invest in a tool that provides global coverage and language capabilities. For example, if you have customers and prospects in China, you’re missing out on a wide range of opportunities if you’re not paying attention to the Chinese sites, like Renren, Sina Weibo and Tencent. Focusing on the insights that matter most to your brand and picking the right keywords and languages will help you drill down and collect social intelligence that aligns with your business goals.
  • 5. BUILD A COMMUNITY AROUND YOUR BRAND Social media monitoring will provide you with the opportunity to get to know your community. You’ll discover who is influencing the conversations about financial services as well as conversations around your brand. These are good people to connect with for brand advocacy programs and guest blogging for your company blog - your brand advocates will be your loyal supporters on social media and beyond. ENGAGE WITH CUSTOMERS AND PROSPECTS With social listening, your customer service team can proactively seek out customer issues and collect insights to establish real-time communication between your brand and your consumers. Without discussing the customer’s private account details, a bank’s social media team can identify and evaluate customer issues as they happen, and then take the conversation offline or refer the customer to the appropriate link or customer service number. Not only will customers be delighted by efficient real-time customer service, consumer insights from social listening will also provide the intelligence your bank needs to improve service, customer satisfaction, and sales. Even despite the heavy regulations around the industry, some financial services companies have been effectively leveraging social to attract a new generation of social customers. Charles Schwab, TD Bank, Fidelity Investments, Vanguard, American Century and American Express and New York Life all use social media for customer service, thought leadership and keeping their brands front of mind. ARCHIVE CONTENT AND ENGAGEMENT The financial services regulator, FINRA, requires that all social media content is stored for at least three years. Last year, the SEC announced a ‘risk alert’ on the use of social media by financial advisors, which emphasized the importance of compliance policies including record-keeping and third-party content. It’s imperative for financial services organizations to leverage a social listening solution that will archive all company posts and engagement to ensure you and your team stay in-line with industry regulations. BANKING ON SOCIAL LISTENING 10 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL STRATEGY FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES 6 7 8 Last year, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney granted its 17,000 financial advisers partial access to Twitter and LinkedIn. In order for the tweets to comply with securities regulations, financial advisors are required to draw from a prescribed archive of Twitter messages and submit LinkedIn postings for approval – and in turn, the tweeted and posted content gets archived. 4
  • 6. BE PREPARED FOR ESCALATING CRISES Define what a crisis is for your company, and build a crisis response chart with several levels of severity – this chart should outline who will be tasked with what in each situation. For example, if your company Twitter account gets hacked or an employee sends a mistweet from a corporate handle – you need to know who will be in charge, how they will be contacted, and how they will deal with the situation at hand. Synthesio worked with a financial services client to create a social media communications plan involving a six-tiered alert process. For each tier (level of crisis) an alert system was put in place to ensure the appropriate employee for each tier was alerted at the time of crisis. MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS Create metrics and key performance indicators to track your social media success against business objectives and avoid wasting time pursuing information that doesn't matter to your brand. 5 BANKING ON SOCIAL LISTENING 10 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL STRATEGY FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES 9 10 There is nothing worse than learning of a crisis from internal company sources when you have a full-capacity social listening system in place, so it’s important to make sure you have the right alerts set up. Simple KPIs will alert you at the right time so you can avoid being overwhelmed with data at crucial times. An easy way to do this is to base your alerting on: Data spikes to watch for an unusual influx in negative online conversations pertaining to your brand Real-time alerts on your most sensitive topics Following the Parkinson’s law, leaders know that clear goals and short deadlines are a key variable to success. This rule applies to social media as well. One short-term goal at a time associated with one KPI is an effective way to keep control of your activities and teams while following a clear roadmap to achieve your long term mission. For example, if the business goal is to increase customer satisfaction, your brand should be looking to measure positive sentiment around the organization and its brands. To improve product quality, it should be measuring the number of product-related issues posted.
  • 7. 6 BANKING ON SOCIAL LISTENING 10 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL STRATEGY FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES CONCLUSION The social web has given customers a voice and a platform for feedback, opinion, discussion, and collaboration. While jumping into social media can be daunting in such a heavily regulated industry, you can start by simply listening to your community. Your community is already on social media discussing you, your competitors and your industry. At this point, financial services companies need to ask themselves, can you afford to not be listening to social media? Are you listening to what your community is saying about your financial services organization and your competitors? What’s your strategy to becoming compliantly active in social media? ABOUT SYNTHESIO Synthesio is a global social media monitoring company helping brands and agencies listen to, understand and engage with consumers worldwide. Synthesio helps clients cut through the social noise, focus on the conversations that matter most to the business, track and measure online reputation, collaborate and engage in real time, and manage consumer relationships in one single, easy to use platform. By delivering social media data of the highest quality within 190+ countries & 50 languages, clients receive crucial insights into their market’s opinions, wants and needs, to drive real business value. Driving positive business change, and building stronger relationships with consumers since 2006.