SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

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Social Media Marketing
Of
about 7.21 billion people in the world, as at January, 2015, 3 billion people
are active internet users with slightly more than 2 billion active social media
accounts, of which 1.69 billion are active mobile social media accounts, so
says “We are Social,” a London-based social media agency in a recently released
report on figures of global social media penetration.
The
amount of people around the world that are logging in to social databases will
continue to increase. According to Accenture, by 2017, there will be 2.55 billion
active social media users.
The Power of Social
Media
Social
media’s power is in its ability to reduce “distance” in communication to a few
seconds and its capacity to create instant multi- user communication on a
single platform conferring power on customers and also opening up opportunities
for companies.
Many
financial institutions are already taking advantage of the power of social
media to redefine their relationship with their customers.
How banks are tapping
social media power
A
Deloite report titled “Who Says Banks Can’t Be Social” states  that “banks that want to stay competitive and
differentiate themselves need to begin building a social banking business,”
noting that social banking is inevitable.
The
report further states that “social” is now seen as an additional avenue to
deepen relationships with customers, to improve product innovation and to
reduce operational costs.
This
is how some banks are already tapping into the power of social media according
to the Deloitte report.  
American
Express has created www.openforum.com,
a site that helps business owners connect with each other and offers useful advice
and tips on running a business. The idea behind the website is to portray American
Express as a reliable partner for small businesses.
Fidor
Bank in Germany is another bank using social media to creatively interact with
its customers, according to the Deloite Report. The bank uses its social media
interaction to get feedback from customers when creating new products and even
when making pricing decisions on products. The bank also builds its online
community by offering higher interest payments on specific accounts to
customers who have “Liked” its Facebook page.
National
Australia Bank (NAB), on the other hand, is using its social media channels to
deepen its customer service relationships. The bank offers customer service
agents on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
It engages its audience by accepting customer feedback and suggestions
on its social media channels and it also draws customer involvement by offering
economic updates and informative articles on Linkedln and videos on Youtube.
Gamification
is the strategy adopted by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentina (BBVA). The bank
offers its customers points, status, and badges for performing specific
transactions on its website. Some of the actions that customers get points for
on the bank’s website include: performing fund transfers, watching videos that
promote financial literacy, inviting friends to join the bank and much more.
This strategy helps in driving customer acquisition and building customer
loyalty.
Steps To Create a
Social Media Marketing Strategy
Accenture
identifies four essential steps that banks should take to effectively harness
social media. The four steps include:
Define
This
revolves around identifying and setting social media marketing goals.  It also involves understanding the brand and
product characteristics that can drive value in the social media space. Four
questions must be answered at the define stage: 1. what is the goal? 2. Which
tactics, given our situation, should be employed? 3. Who are our target
customers? And 4. Which social media platforms should be used for the targeting?
Experiment
Accenture
advises that companies should first dip a toe in the social media space before
taking a plunge. Launching a pilot social media marketing process is therefore
encouraged before embarking on more elaborate social media engagement.
Extend
If
the pilot face is successful, then the extend
phase
can be engaged. This will involve decisions on broadening the social
channels in use, adding new target segments, and expanding the number of
tactics utilized online among others.
Expand
The
expand phase is when social media is transformed into an engine of growth in
the business. This will involve having a fully functional social media team and
putting in place efficient social media processes, policies and actions, with
robust key performance indicators, including both social and business metrics.
Holistic Strategy
Social
media marketing, however, must be holistic. According to Accenture, “It must connect
to the firm’s digital strategy holistically, including mobile apps, website,
and email, as well as its customer service channel, to begin to achieve the scale
and impact desired.”
Accenture
warns that, “A lack of integration of social channels with established customer
interaction channels can result in conflicting messages being sent to consumers
and a bumpy, frustrating customer experience.”

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