Adding social media to your bank marketing strategy can be a great way to differentiate your bank brand from the competition, simply because it can allow you to form better relationships with your community, online.
The term "social media" may be one you've heard, but you're not exactly sure what it entails.
The quick answer to that is, "Any online media that allows users to interact with one another (ie socialize)."
Perhaps a better way to explain social media (also referred to as Web 2.0) is to outline some different types of social media applications.
Social networking – Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Ning
Social networking sites allow users to add friends, send messages and share content. People on social networking sites group in communities of like-minded interest. IMPORTANT: Do not assume your audience is not participating in social networking. The growth of Facebook for example is phenomenal. The rate at which it is growing with men and women in their 60's even is staggering.
Social bookmarking – Digg, Delicious
Social bookmarking applications allow users to share their favorite online content with one another while also creating online bookmarks that the user can refer to in the same way he would a bookmark created offline in his web browser.
Blogs – WordPress, TypePad, Blogger as well as non-branded blogging platforms
Blogs are online journals where the author can write (blog) about any interest he wants. The blogger can also use the blog to share content picked up from other social media sites (YouTube, Issuu) by taking advantage of the simple embed codes offered by those content hosts.
Wikis – Wikipedia
A wiki refer to content created online as a result of multiple users working on the same content, but at different times and from different places.
flickr is a popular photosharing site
Photosharing – Flickr, Photobucket
Photosharing sites are where people can upload photos to share either privately with only selected other users or publicly. Creative Commons licensing rights can grant permissions for others to use the photos by simply embedding the codes in their blogs. That is how I get most of the photos on my blog.
Video Sharing – YouTube, iMemories
Similar to photosharing. Users upload video content to a site for sharing either privately or public.
Presentation Sharing – Slideshare.net, Scribd
Slideshare.net is one of my favorite tools. I used Slideshare to embed my bank strategy social media presentations which you see on my blog. You'll notice those presentations include embed codes and email options as well, making it easy for the content to be shared online. Scribd is similar to Slideshare.net.
There are tons of social media sites online. Choosing the right social media for your bank marketing strategy comes down to knowing where your customers are online.
The most obvious place if your bank offers online banking is at your website. Online banking customers may log into their accounts multiple times a week if not weekly. So that would be a great place to start your social media presence by offering community-driven tools that empower online conversation between your bank and your customers.
The beauty of social media is that it often allows users to share content. So for example, if you were to upload a recorded video message from your bank president to your site using YouTube, you could also include the embed codes for your inbound traffic to share the presentation with their friends on other social media sites such as MySpace or Egypt Facebook.
It's word-of-mouth, only now it's digital word-of-mouth. Which can spread much faster through online channels, especially if the content is interesting and relevant within the online community where it is posted.
So what happens is, you have your bank brand's biggest fans talking up your brand. There's no better way to instill consumer trust in your bank than that.
You also can take advantage of the transaction of the sites where you post your content. Sites like YouTube and Slideshare.net have millions of people searching them daily. If your information is relevant to their search, your content may be read and shared by those users. And you'll also be building valuable links in the process.
That's how some of the more popular viral videos can end up with millions of viewers in just a matter of days.
Will your bank get millions of views to a video? Not likely.
But how many many views does it require to create extra brand awareness, all free of charge?
Social media is growing in popularity. And the banks that embrace it in their bank marketing strategies to build better relationships with their communities may grow in popularity as well.