While it is true that brands that tame the digital dragon are likely to succeed, we believe that the true path to success is in creating a marketing communications plan that includes a commitment to who you are, along with clearly defined conversations, a desire to create meaningful connections with employees and customers alike, and an ability to prove marketing’s contribution to the bottom line.

Banking has always been a business built on relationships and word of mouth. Indeed, you were social before the “rise” of social media. Why? Because you have always used personal, one-on-one conversations to build your reputation and sell products and services.

Social is just another way to build relationships in a digitally enabled way. Your customer-facing associates understand that to get a meeting with a prospect or customer, they must be able to have a conversation that is going to be viewed as valuable.
The same holds true for social, but instead of viewing these engagements as a meeting, we view them as content and digital experiences. And just like meetings, they must be meaningful enough to earn time with a prospect or customer.

So how can companies build their reputations in social spaces?

At KHJ, we walk our clients through a three-phase approach we call

“Crawl, Walk, Run.”

Crawl is the first step. For many, it is the second time they are taking that first step. During the crawl phase, we are digging into what our clients are doing in social today and what their competitors are doing. We are establishing baselines and best practices so that our programs are measurable and take the best of what’s out there. One of the most important questions we ask during this phase is “Why?” We have to understand why we are doing something before we can recommend the best social strategy to achieve that goal. Then we set up the basic programs in the appropriate channels, be that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or the next new platform.

Walk is when we start to create the framework for the social programs and educate people within the client organization on how to connect through social channels. Since social is really about having a meaningful engagement, our framework centers on a content strategy that has two parts:

The first part is the evergreen calendar – this is when we work to create “snackable” content that can be regularly distributed through social channels. This content is packaged differently depending on the social channel and is always ready to go to ensure our clients maintain an appropriate level of engagement.

The second category is the responsive program. For this, we work with our clients to set up the “Rules of Engagement” and identify who will respond to what type of query that is initiated in social spaces. Usually these people already exist in your organization; our job is to help you create a system to connect the dots between social channels and operational structures.

Finally, the Run phase is when we work with our clients to create social CRM programs. Right now, this is the holy grail of next-generation sales enablement, and we are just at the cusp of being able to fulfill on this promise. But we believe organizations that are starting now will be better prepared to deliver social CRM tomorrow.
In short, social is both “doable” for banks, and also necessary. However, social can’t operate in a vacuum. The conversations you host must also be part of a commitment you make to your community.

Read more about our New Rules of Bank Marketing and to get caught up, check out Rule #1 here.

Looking forward for more information on Rules 3 & 4? Subscribe to our blog to be notified when they are posted.