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As interest in social banking grows, retail banks must learn how to craft effective social media strategies that capitalize on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with consumers.
An estimated 90 percent of financial services firms expect to be dedicating funds for social media initiatives by 2012, yet 60 percent still consider themselves to be social media novices.
Recent growth and interest in social media is driving banks to learn more about social networking and how tools such as Facebook and Twitter can help them:
In this report, Accenture explores how clients want to interact with their financial services providers online and how banks can develop effective social media strategies that meet consumer needs and business objectives.
Recent Forrester research indicates that 42 percent of adults who use social networking sites are interested in engaging with their financial services providers online. Specifically, they want their banks to use social media to:
From a bank’s perspective, social media tools provide an opportunity to replicate the level of personal interaction traditionally associated with in-branch banking. Today, 70 percent of financial services firms have a dedicated budget or specific funding for social media initiatives. By 2012, an estimated 40 percent will be investing between 2 percent and 10 percent of their overall marketing budgets in social media.
A carefully designed social media strategy can help financial services firms achieve a wide range of operational objectives.
Specifically, banks can use social media to:
Enhance their brand, by connecting with consumers and distinguishing themselves from competitors.
Reduce costs, by using this low-cost channel to communicate information, provide customer service and supplement traditional media.
Boost innovation, by creating products and services in response to consumer demands.
Increase revenue, by encouraging consumer interaction and delivering products worth recommending.
At the same time, executing social media strategies can be challenging for banks. The industry is subject to a strict legal and regulatory framework that governs external communications and consumer data security. Sanctioned employees must be knowledgeable about products, services and rules, and be mature enough to make decisions and craft responses to difficult questions in real time.
Carving a niche in the social media space requires banks to ask themselves: what can we deliver to our customers that we don’t offer today, and how will it provide them with value?
Accenture suggests four steps that banks can take to develop an effective social media strategy:
Develop a vision to unite your social media tactics and ensure a consistent cross-channel experience for customers.
Define success and measure your progress.
Establish clear governance and a nimble organizational structure to execute your social media strategy.
Tackle technology last, beginning with basic “learning and listening” platforms and graduating to more complex tools over time.
The relative social media maturity of a bank will dictate the strategy’s focus and level of detail. Banks that are new to social media should pay particular attention to scope and concentrate on building support among leaders and key stakeholders. Those with more experience can increase the sophistication of their efforts, integrating social media tools with customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
August 12, 2011
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