• Aug. 19, 2017, 5:39 pm

Banks slowly getting on social media train

Most of us are well integrated with many social media platforms. Businesses know this, and in the search to attract and maintain customers the wise ones have an active presence on social media.

They quickly learn fostering a social media presence is not like buying a cactus but more like buying a puppy. You have to pay attention to it, plan to feed it, exercise it and watch for cues as to what it needs and what works best to elicit the desirable behavior.

Like any other KPI social media effectiveness needs to be accurately measured, and that takes time. That is why there are companies who measure social media activity across hundreds of industries.

One of those companies is Engagement Labs, a Toronto-based company that helps brands cultivate a productive social media presence.

“What we do is provide social media analytics that really tries to drive a social media currency that allows marketers to understand their social media investment success,” said Engagement Labs CEO Bryan Segal. “It is a competitive landscape in a very, very busy social media world where there are lots of noise and KPIs.”

Mr. Segal said Engagement Labs helps companies develop plans to help deliver on all of their KPIs while also helping them understand their social media world. They summarize the overall effectiveness through a single eValue score ranging between 0 and 100 with the higher the score the better.

The eValue score consists of engagement, impact and responsiveness metrics. Engagement measures content interaction rates, impact assesses the reach and responsiveness measures the pace at which a company responds to communication on the various channels.

Engagement Labs tracks the global social media presence of more than 75,000 brands

Engagement Labs tracks the global
social media presence of more than
75,000 brands

An average company might have a YouTube channel, multiple Twitter feeds, a Facebook page, LinkedIn profiles for various staff and who knows what else. Mr. Segal said Engagement Labs give an eValue score for every channel so companies can compare the effectiveness of, say, their Facebook presence against their Twitter activity.

Mr. Segal said Engagement Labs measures the social media impact of 75,000 individual brands on an hourly basis. There are a few common traits effective companies display regardless of what industry they are in.

“The ones doing it well are balancing between a couple of things,” Mr. Segal offered. “Especially in social channels the ones who are doing it really well are balancing between extending social responsibility to build a persona,while also driving loyalty and customer education by weaving in corporate messages about products and services.”

Mr. Segal and I spoke shortly after Engagement Labs released a report measuring the social media presence of major banks. Yes, even the banking industry, one normally associated with a glacial response rate to anything new, have established a social media presence.

The ones faring the best are those taking an educational approach by teaching different financial concepts and providing forums for customers to discuss financial plans and share insights with staff and each other.

“TD, Sun Trust, and Regions Bank do that really well,” Mr. Segal said. “They are translating the bank into a person who’s listening and feeling, changing the bank from someone who talks to you into someone listening to you.”

Social media is clearly not a place for the hard sell, not when people can delete you, pop-ups be damned.

Engagement Labs' Bryan Segal: "For the first time ever you are allowed to talk to customers one to one in what I call direct marketing on steroids."

Engagement Labs’ Bryan Segal

“Establish a persona before selling products and services,” Mr. Segal advised. “That works really, really well. Those believing marketing is marketing and platforms are just platforms of distribution will find social media differs.”

“For the first time ever you are allowed to talk to customers one to one in what I call direct marketing on steroids.”

Mr. Segal said for the most part banks are taking a “one toe at a time” approach to cultivating a social media presence in a very differentiated world dominated by marketing kingpins like Coke, Pepsi, PG and Unilever.

Their impact is gradual and has evolved over the past half-decade he added.

TD has the highest eValue score on both Facebook and Twitter. They have scored big with their #FinancialEducation hashtag that simplifies financial terms while also providing a forum for people to share opinions and experiences with personal finance.

Ranking Facebook Twitter
1 TD Bank TD Bank
2 SunTrust Banks Regions Bank
3 Bank of America Chase
4 Citibank Wells Fargo
5 Ally Bank U.S. Bancorp
6 Wells Fargo Citibank
7 Regions Bank Ally Bank
8 U.S. Bancorp SunTrust Banks
9 PNC Bank of America
10 Chase BNY Mellon

TD places second on both Facebook and Twitter in terms of how well their customers engage with their content. SunTrust is best on Facebook while Regions Bank tops Twitter.

EngagementRanking Facebook Twitter
1 SunTrust Banks Regions Bank
2 TD Bank TD Bank
3 Ally Bank SunTrust Banks
4 Regions Bank U.S. Bancorp
5 Citibank BNY Mellon
6 Bank of America Wells Fargo
7 U.S. Bancorp Chase
8 Wells Fargo Ally Bank
9 PNC Citibank
10 Chase Bank of America

Mr. Segal said SunTrust hit it big with their #MySunnyDay hashtag which offered customers the opportunity to share what they are saving for. Their top posts stayed away from finance and focused more on life moments that may require a trip to the bank.

Regions Bank maintains a heavy sponsorship presence on campuses while also conducting regular Twitter chats on many different topics.

Mr. Segal said it is important to note banks’ social media activity is impacting all age groups in an era where they want to reduce their phone service and shorten response times.

“They can drive the response of the customers quicker, attract new customers with new ideas and get them involved in their communities  hopefully drive the bus on many fronts.”

Much has been made of the largest social media growth happening within the older demographics and companies have noticed, Mr. Segal said.

“It’s not just the 24 year-olds, it’s happening across all age groups as people invest the time and effort in the brands they like.”

Driving the conversation is crucial, Mr. Segal said.

“If you build it they will come, but if you build it and they come you also have to do something with them. It’s not about starting the conversation, it’s about continuing it.”

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