We’re going to do... social media!

We’re going to do… social media!

Here we are again – at the start of another post, the second in my series looking at our bold statements. These may be brash claims made from ego, pride, or fear… they may be motivated by gain or loss.

But the different statements that are listed here have one thing in common – they can lead to damaging customer experiences, and damage to customer perceptions – and in financial services, that can have lasting brand impacts far beyond what you anticipate.

They can impact team and staff morale – which can lead to your technology, sales, marketing, and account management teams looking elsewhere. The last thing you want, in the cutthroat world of fintech, is to start to haemorrhage staff. With the pace of new entrants to the market, there will be plenty of takers!

Finally… if they are these kinds of statements – they likely won’t result in the outcome you desire. With some of these bold statements, the sad truth is that the desired outcome might not even be known. And that, right there, is a pretty certain recipe for failure.

In my first post, I discussed a bit of a blast from the past bold statement – the launch of a blog, and the impact of not thinking it through. I’d like you to remember that phrase – not thinking it through. The reason I’d like you to remember that is that it’s a bit of a theme, running through not only this post, and the previous post… but the next couple too.

Anyway! On to the next bold statement. This might be another blast from the past, but may not place me in quite as ancient an age bracket…

Everyone? Everyone, I have some AWESOME news. Because we’re a totally hip and modern financial services company or tech provider… I am delighted to announce we’re going to do social.

Hmmmm.

Let’s leave to one side the image of someone trying to “do” something like social – and demystifying this gaggle of channels is a second and far murkier kettle of fish! Still, this statement calls to mind a lot of questions that are similar to those that organisations in financial services and beyond would ask… and potentially, highlights the fact that the questions that you need to ask, haven’t been asked and answered. So, ask yourself…

Why? What is it that is so exciting and important to you about being active and present on social media? Is this in response to a key stakeholder asking that you be social…some evidence of the fact that your customers are expecting you to be there and respond, or that your market expects you to be? Are you being scared into it by the competition…and do you know if they asked themselves the right questions? Have you mitigated concerns they might have about communicating about anything related to financial products on social sites – a real concern?

Who, and who to? – This again may seem very basic. But who are you actually communicating with… and remember, this is communicating. Who are your audience and what is your relevance to you – and yours to them? If you engage with them referencing subjects that they don’t believe you can engage in… well, that will just build an even higher barrier to engagement. Also, as with blogs… who is going to actually be doing the engagement via social media? Have you understood the resource requirements?

For social media, this actually extends beyond pure outbound communication and touches on the area of escalation – especially critical with major service issues around stability of financial technology platforms. Simply having a process and resource for talking doesn’t mean you have effectively mapped what happens with user initiated discussions.

In Australia in the last few months, one of the “big four” banks was sent scrambling for crisis communications after fulfilment issues meant customers were faced with the prospect of no access to their money at all – just days before Christmas! The reality is that the issue was resolved quickly; that communication through traditional (in product) messaging did take place. But that didn’t control the story, the user experience, and certainly didn’t help them control the narrative. And on social, if you don’t control the narrative, you’re the victim of it.

So given that, ask yourself – what if there is a service, a support, or a sales enquiry… do you know where that should go? Have the other areas of the business been briefed that they might get these kinds of questions – and do they know how quickly they need to respond? Bearing in mind the manner in which social channels can amplify… having all of these questions tied up means you have a better chance of controlling the tone and conversation through your channels.

Which, and with what? – Exciting times are a-foot as you’ve answered all of these questions so well thus far. Give yourself a pat on the back, and celebrate with a well – earned iced coffee of some sort.

That’s not all, though… have you thought about which channels will be the best for you, and the most relevant? That will vary wildly depending on the country and industry you are engaged in, and is really driven by where the people – again, people are customers – you want to talk to, “hang out” from a social media context. Think of it in the physical world. If you wanted to find a whole bunch of Manchester United fans, you’d probably head to Old Trafford (or Surrey or Essex bizarrely)… but you probably wouldn’t expect to be able to speak to Manchester United fans if you turned up at, for instance, Millwall Football Club. The bottom line is… the right channel for the right people.

In addition, have you considered what kinds of content and asset will work for each channel? Video will work fantastically for YouTube – but what works best for Twitter? If you are in fintech, do the stakeholders in your potential customers even have permission to view video? And is there a different approach to the content you need… are some channels best for questions and others for providing your answers? So to extend – the question is have you got the right content, for the right channel, and for the right people?

How often? – Thinking about this is essentially the question of frequency. This is, again, dictated by your audience and what suits them. To a certain extent you can determine optimal frequency through the nature of the channel… so the number of engagements you should post to Twitter to generate activity and amplification is different to, for instance, LinkedIn. But even more crucially than this, the whole purpose of engaging on social media is to ensure that you are engaging with your customers through the channels that they use. So, why not take into account how often they want you to engage? Monitor the frequency once you have launched – you will see through falling engagements, lack of response and interaction of content, whether you’re too active – or alternatively, whether you have not successfully answered the “with what” question!

And finally…

What does success look like? – There are some pretty standard non social channel metrics for success. Ultimately, a lot of organisations, especially in the financials services or tech B2B spaces, define the success based on a growth in traffic driven to the repository of your source content – because, mostly, you will be driving people to click on a URL in your post or share, that takes them to your own site. This, of course, ignores the one to one, and news jacking, elements of social media. But for a conventional corporate account, a lot of metric measurement is around traffic. Or, alternatively, around followers – the growth in the number of fans you have who could potentially look at the content you share. Additional and more sophisticated measures focus on concepts such as Share of Voice, engagement, content interactions, and reach…

But the bottom line is, much as with blogs, social media channels are digital. That means that they both can be measured… and they should be measured. This will help you improve your engagement in the future – but defining your success means you know what you are looking to achieve.

That’s it for today… I have a couple more posts on this general subject in the pipe but in the meantime, have a lovely weekend all!

By Jethro Grainger-Marsh, director, digital business and transformation, Criterion

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