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How Social Media Can Boost Trust in Financial Services

How Social Media Can Boost Trust in Financial Services

The product development teams within the Financial Services industry are happy to build fixed rate mortgage products that last for five or more years but their communications teams should be far more flexible.

Banks and particularly building societies are increasingly looking to build online communities and engage with customers through the flexible use of social channels.

With consumers feeling a lack of trust in financial services companies, social media provides an alternative option for banks and building societies to update customers on company developments and new products and engage with customers.

Though social media, financial services organisations can engage with other stakeholders such as intermediaries, community groups, charities, journalists, and industry commentators.

Smaller institutions like building societies are able to take the lead in this field as they have shorter sign off lead times and are much more nimble in responding to online conversations. One building society is employing a multi channel campaign and is successfully building an online community consisting of customers, local people and journalists. They are fortunate in that the CEO of this particular organisation is evangelical about blogging and twitter and the whole strategy is therefore led from the top.

They appear to lead the way in the bank and building society sector on Twitter with over a 1000 followers on its various feeds. The CEO uses his Twitter feed to communicate with members and stakeholders and pages on their website provide members with information, news and a forum to share opinions.

Their Facebook and LinkedIn pages also enable it to offer customers a flavour of what the company is about, display charity work, discuss products with customers and offer an online community in which other customers can talk to one another.

Their CEO who regularly comments on the use of new media at conferences and recently spoke at a Visible Banking workshop says, “Communities are increasingly forming online as people use social networks as a way to get advice, make connections and share information. As regional building societies like ours are community driven, social media provides a great opportunity to be a part of the discussions taking place online and to communicate with our members.

“This is the approach we take with our social media presence and the success is evident with our growing Twitter following currently larger than other bank or building society.

“The economic, financial meltdown gave everyone a good sense of just how closed in many financial institutions are, and how we need to make banks and building societies more transparent, more open businesses that people can get involved with and talk to on their own terms.

“Banks and building societies can use social media to improve their service offering and if you improve your service offering and genuinely listen to your customer base, you will improve customer retention and acquisition.”

To make a success of social media, the message is clear –

– Have a strategy. Don’t go rushing into social media

– Resource it properly. It takes time and effort

– Listen and respond to what people are saying

– Be clear and transparent

– Ingrain social media into the business

– Lead from the top