Practice Makes Perfect So… Tweet Away

There is a reason why each of us including businesses create Twitter accounts and other social media outlets. Personally we may be searching for a way to express ourselves, share, communicate or to build relationships. Businesses are looking for a way to communicate as well. They want to reach their target audiences while creating relationships and networking. Really when it comes down to it whether it be for personal or business use we all have the same desires and goal.   

Twitter gives users 140 characters (I’ve already used 88) to catch the attention of your audience. This means we must utilize the space we have properly and effectively.

There are some great ways to engage your audience in order to build relationships through Twitter. The Tao of Twitter by Mark W Schaefer (recommended read) discusses some of these best practices.

As a beginning Tweeter you may simply be looking to build your followers and network. Well the only way to do this is to get active. The Tao of Twitter says we can become pro’s in less than 20 minutes a day, sounds like a breakfast date with the computer. Or you could even break it up throughout your day. Get on there at different times of the day and see what those you follow are doing. Mix it up.

It is also important that you respond to tweets that you are @ mentioned in or that are directed towards you. IF you don’t know the answer it’s okay but don’t shoot from the hip, rather consult with someone who does. Not only is this part of public relations, it is also another part of building relationships.

Read through Tweets from those you follow. You could learn something new about your market and it also gives you the opportunity to Re-Tweet. This allows you to support your followers, give credit where credit is due and to flatter the original Tweeter. Just another way to build on those relationships. 🙂

When you tweet make it count. Ensure your tweets are relevant and not just a rant, your reputation is on the line. So Tweet with Care.

Be genuine, remember your manners and show gratitude.

There are a lot of fish in the sea, competition is high and if you aren’t meeting the expectations of your customers I can assure you someone else is promising they will. 

Twitter has a great deal of benefits BUT, it can also open the door to scrutiny. Avoid this the best way you can, by following best practices.

“Social media marketing is not something that can be taught-it has to be experienced” (Schaefer, 155)

Twitter is 7 years young, which means individuals and companies are still discovering all it has to offer. Many bigger banks have joined Twitter and others are still reluctant. Perhaps they fear the unknown or do not have the right person to take it on or maybe they fear the regulatory components of being a bank. Whatever it may be, they need to roll up their sleeves get in the know and dig in, because social media is where their customers are.

As I began my research for these blogs I delve into many banks and their Twitter pages. They were all different. Some followed best practices while others seemed jumbled and unorganized. Many of the pages lacked personal touches and were straight to business. Banking is built of the development of relationships, consumers want to trust the place they bring their money too. Twitter allows Banks the opportunity to build on these relationships. Many of them are not taking the hint nor the initiative. So whether it is a complement or complaint banks need to be genuine, thankful for the business and most importantly respond. 

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it?”
Erik Qualman

 

Schaefer, Mark W. (2012) The Tao of Twitter. McGraw Hill: New York, NY

 

Social Media May Be Risky Business

Unfortunately it seems that banks and their customers are often the target of crooked culprits looking to manipulate them any way possible so they are able to obtain personal information and their finances. Individuals must remain diligent to ensure they do not reveal information that could be used against them or in a way that may expose too much information.

Social media has its challenges and by this I mean sometimes there is simply too much information being shared over these open forums. Sometimes its even just the little things that one may not consider harmful, why can’t I tell everyone I am having a great vacation or when my birthday is, especially since some social media sites even ask for it. So why shouldn’t you post your birthday on Facebook, well criminals are pretty smart unfortunately, with that being said we “normal” people often use numbers such as our birthdays to create passwords and pin numbers, now would be a good time to rethink those passwords.

Banks have a big job to do, they are the keepers of pretty important items and information. Do you remember the last mortgage you applied for and how you thought you were going to have to “sign over your first born” just to get through the paperwork? A lot of private information is handed over to banks and it is their job to keep it confidential. There are some pretty hefty privacy policies that must be followed by the bank and their employees. For instance banks can not identify whom their customers are.

With that being said, when you go to a banks social media page you could assume that most of the individuals whom have friended or who are following the page are customers of the bank. Now like I said this is simply an assumption, however as you read through the posts and tweets you begin to see people commenting about their recent trip to their local branch or the fact that they didn’t receive their ATM card like they were supposed to. Some pretty private information to be sharing since now you just said “Hey cyber criminal keep an eye on my mail box too”.

Often we are so frustrated with situations and lack of service that we just want to vent and get it off our chest. The easiest way and most embarrassing way to expose poor service is to blast it all over the web where hundreds of people can see it and take note. Yes this could open the bank up for scrutiny, but it could also open yourself up to be a target.

Social media and banking can be a double edge sword. Social media is where the customers are, however it is also where the criminals are.

Perhaps this may wrap it up best, “Social media is too big an opportunity to pass up. The best practices to protect from legal, regulatory, operational or brand risks on social are to build a plan and policy that represents the company mission while protecting consumers”.

Banking Mobile Applications

Have you ever been standing in line at the grocery store all ready to check out and then realized that you forgot to go to the bank like you were supposed to? You have no cash and you didn’t transfer money from your savings account to your checking account so your debit card is going to be denied…. Embarrassing!!!  All these groceries, and these people are going to think I have no money.

 

We have all done it once or twice, so many things to do so little time. You simply forget what order to go in. The good thing is there is a fix! Banking Mobile Applications! There is no need to panic, once you have downloaded your bank’s mobile app you can simply sign on and transfer the monies you need to in order to cover your basket of groceries.

 

Mobile Banking Apps are a newer technology, however they are catching on quick. Many banks are offering this feature free of charge to their customers as a way to make banking even easier and more accessible.  Rumor has it over 50% of consumers are using their banks mobile app and the number of enrollees continues to rise. This is a huge figure given how new banking mobile apps are within the industry.

 

Not only does mobile a banking app offer accessibility it offers control of your money literally at your fingertips.

 

So here is what you can do with your Banking Mobile App.

 

You are able to keep track of your bank accounts and balances, which includes being able to see usage history. Save money on stamps, you can also pay your bills through the app; no more check writing for you. If for some reason you find yourself in the need of a branch or perhaps an ATM machine, with the assistance of your phones built in GPS and the mobile app you will be pointed in the right direction of the one closest to you. Like mentioned before you can conduct a transfer even while you are in line looking to make a purchase. Oh and did I mention you can even make check deposits into your accounts through your phone, simply by scanning the check with your phones camera.

 

We consumers demand convenience, it is clear that banking mobile apps give us just that. However there is still fear associated with this newfound convenience. Is it secure?

 

Encryptions and authentication ensure secure connections from smart phones to the banks online systems. And even if by chance you lose your priceless smart phone, thieves will not be able to access your account as the sign on requires a username, password, and the answer to set up security questions that you have personalized.

 

So if you haven’t joined the growing number of consumers trying out their banks mobile app, why not give it a shot.

 

                      Image via http://www.digitalopinionator.com/mobile/banking-gone-mobile-iphone-apps-for-everyone/

Social Media Applications and Banks

           

Image Via http://technorati.com/business/small-business/

Working in the banking industry for the last 13 years I have definitely seen my fair share of changes. I entered the banking in industry in 2000, a time when banks were trying to steer their customers in the way of online banking. Believe me, there was resistance, customers wanted paper statements and most importantly wanted their checks returned. Fast-forward to 2013, on entering the branch where I work today I was greeted by brochures that instructed me how to deposit my checks by using my phone. Wow where has time and technology gone.  Let the “back in my day” stories begin.

 

Social media is a great part of this and has truly transformed the way in which banks and bank customers conduct business as well as communicate. Just a few years ago customers wanted face to face contact with guided assistance on things such as how to operate the ATM machine and assistance with signing up for online banking. Now customers are asking questions like can I just do this online or do you guys offer a phone app.

Here are a few of the social media outlets that banks are utilizing to inform and communicate with their customers.

 

Linkedin – Linkedin offers Company Pages, these pages allow companies the opportunity to share their brand, products, and services. A way to interact with followers and also a connection for posting their job opportunities.  As a professional forum, Linkedin can form a large applicant pool. This social media application allows Human Resource professionals the opportunity to locate and attract candidates in state’s they may or may not sit in. Linkedin allows banks the opportunity to grow their talent pool at the click of a button.

 

Google+ – Google a company that has had rapid growths since it’s beginnings and is one of the worlds largest utilized search engines was the creator of Google+. This social media outlet is connected to Google search, which allows its users to connect easier. As one of the largest social networking sites in the world, why wouldn’t a business want to be part of this phenomenon? Through Google+ banks are able to share their brand faster and easier, through it’s connection with the Google search engine. Banks are also able to post to their accounts to share information with regard to products and services as well as what they are doing to support their local communities. Google+ offers accessibility quickly.

 

YouTube – YouTube a video–sharing website normally known for it’s comical relief and music videos, may not seem to be a useful tool for a bank at first, however when used properly it can be a clever business apparatus. YouTube allows banks the opportunity to create video’s that demonstrate how new services can be utilized. For instance a know how video could show customers how to utilize the new phone app that allows them the ability to deposit checks into their account simply by scanning it with their smart phone. YouTube also offers a way for banks to visually connect with their customers and prospects through recorded commercial and conference replays.

 

Many banks have also established Facebook and Twitter accounts as a way to stay in contact with their customers and a way to connect with new customers. Posts and Tweets can be used to examine products and services from customer service to wealth management and even life planning events. The information assembled can also be used as a way for banks to share and connect about things they are doing in the local communities.

 

Banks know Social Media is the place to be. In fact many financial service organizations have even created set funds dedicated to the development of social media efforts. Over the next year or so it will be interesting to see where banks go on social media.  

 

 

 

Social Media Tools

Image via http://nostalgicfornow.com/2012/04/15/its-war-facebook-vs-twitter/

So what you are saying is you tweet on Twitter, share on Facebook and pin on Pinterest. Who came up with all this lingo and most importantly what does it actually mean?  In this technologically savvy world there is one thing you can generally depend on, like us or follow us. Social media has truly altered the way consumers receive information. Madison Avenue has yet another medium in which to connect with the people.

 

As a novice social media user, you could say I have some catching up to do. This entails knowing and differentiating between these social media outlets and not simply thinking they are all the same.   

 

So here goes from your amateur tour guide, the difference between Facebook and Twitter.

 

An ordinary geeky college student and a couple of his close friends became extraordinary millionaires by creating a program that could only be accessed by other college students in its beginnings. A program that allowed students the opportunity to get to know one another. What started on one college campus quickly spread to other campuses, then to high schools, and eventually to anyone over the age of 13.

 

Facebook requires that potential users complete a registration process as well as create their own personal profile. Personal tweaks allow users the ability to “friend” other users, create personal status updates, send private messages, and even upload photos from your recent vacation. User profile pages allow for some pretty personal information and even recommends the input of contact information such as ones phone number. Do you really want that creepy stalker calling you? Facebook allows users to build networks, which is a socialization forum where you can chat or even just stay up to date with what your “friends” are doing. User’s News Feeds contains status updates from their friends and fan pages, birthdays, profile changes, upcoming events, and perhaps some things you really never wanted to know. Facebook even suggests “friends”, so hey maybe you can meet someone new.

 

Businesses can also utilize Facebook by creating Fan pages to keep existing customers in the know or to even attract new customers. Some companies even go as far as creating Fan pages for each product, because who doesn’t want to have the low down on Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Businesses can get the attention of page visitors by utilizing videos, attractive deals, catchy slogans and revealing special opportunities if users Like their page.

 

There are also Group Pages, although these pages are open to personal and businesses users they do have a few catches. For instance the max amount of members is 5,000, so if you are looking to attract as many potentials as possible, this is probably not the best thing to use. However if you are looking to have an outlet for employees only, this could be a great option.

 

On to Twitter.

 

Another Social Media outlet is Twitter. Who would have thought a brainstorming session could lead to one of the most viewed internet websites. Twitter also encourages users to create a profile, however without a profile one is still allowed to peruse other users tweets. So I guess the question really is what the heck is a tweet?!?! A Tweet is like a text message, they can only be 140 characters, unlike Facebook which has unlimited characters for posts. So what this means is you better use your space wisely. In fact tweeters utilize hash tags as a way to tag topics of interest and to create connection. Rather than friends in this forum you have followers, individuals that can rapidly read your tweets and even retweet them for their followers.  With just 140 words, tweets have the power to cause widespread panic and market crashes, thanks to the Associated Press.

 

Generally the “friends” we accept on Facebook are just that, friends we have met and formed a connection with. On Twitter it’s a whole different ballgame, people begin to “follow” one another based on similar interests. Generally you never know the people you are following, making your network base much larger than on Facebook.

 

Another interesting comparison between Facebook and Twitter is with regard to anonymity. Facebook prohibits fake profiles, however Twitter has no rules to this. Let the alter ego’s take flight!

 

Social media has made a notable impact on the lives of us ordinary people as well as the business world. Rather than exchange phone numbers we “followers” and “friends” will keep in contact through Facebook and Twitter.

 

Just Me

Just Me

I began working in the “banking world” in 2000 at the ripe age of 19. I have been hired by two companies but have actually worked for 6, acquisitions and mergers have helped to make this possible. Through my 13 years in banking I have seen a great deal of change and have taken on an array of positions.
Often the banking world can be quite tricky given strict regulations and privacy requirements. Seeing where Social Media lies in the mix could be very interesting.