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Connect and Follow: Leveraging Social Media for Business Results

Banks can encourage their employees to connect with current prospective customers on social media to build relationships that are more sticky - and more lucrative.

Companies need to change the way they look at their employees, says Nathan Egan, the CEO of PeopleLinx, which provides solutions that help companies leverage social media for business and marketing. Businesses have known for several years now that their customers are on social media, and that they can glean important information from listening to their customers on those networks. Financial services firms are generally well ahead of the game in monitoring their customer interactions on social media because of compliance issues, Egan, a former sales executive at LinkedIn when the social media site was still in its infancy, observes.

[See Related: The Compliance Risk of Social Media]

But now companies need to look for ways to leverage the presence that their employees have on social media sites, he advises. “Each one of your employees [that is on social media] is potentially a website for the company,” Egan points out.

That means that companies need to have a content strategy for those nascent websites to leverage them, he adds. If a bank is running a marketing campaign, then the bank should be trying to figure out how its employees’ Twitter or LinkedIn accounts play into that campaign, according to Egan.

Employees, of course, have to buy in to using their social media accounts in this way, but Egan says that can be achieved by allowing employees to opt-in to the strategy or campaign, and incentivizing that opt-in. Simply telling employees have to tweet or post something doesn’t get the long-term commitment from the employee needed to consistently leverage social media, Egan notes.

One reason both companies and employees should be interested in using social media to develop business and marketing leads is the ability to track returns, Egan says. For instance, if a bank branch manager looks to connect with members of the community through his or her LinkedIn or Twitter account and develops a relationship with people in the community through social media, it is easy for the bank to then track how many new customers are acquired or products sold through that manager’s social media efforts, Egan explains. “It’s easier to track the marketing returns from social media connections. You can’t really track the number of new customers you get from putting up a billboard in Times Square,” he notes.

Using the example of a branch manager connecting with the community through social media, Egan explains that leveraging social media in this manner provides a better opportunity to build long-term relationships with customers than through traditional marketing campaigns. “Branch managers and sales reps should be following prospective clients on Twitter. They should be listening; just be there and observe. If one of your biggest customers tweets something, set it up to go to your email,” Egan advises.

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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Greg MacSweeney
Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
5/23/2013 | 12:33:07 PM
re: Connect and Follow: Leveraging Social Media for Business Results
Correct. However, many banks have a no social media policy (by anyone, at anytime). Blocking social media has been the initial reaction by compliance professionals at financial institutions. Flashback to the late '90s...many banks also completely blocked the Web from employees too, often under the same "compliance" rationale.

Banks need to get with the times and realize that social is part of the culture. Customers are using it. And, like it or not, employees are using it too (often on their personal devices, since they can't do it through their official company technology).
User Rank: Author
5/22/2013 | 2:55:33 PM
re: Connect and Follow: Leveraging Social Media for Business Results
Banks of course, also need to keep in mind regulatory issues around communication and make sure they are very vigilant about what they can and can't say to customers via social media.
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