Social media has become a full-on business necessity for optimal customer communication needs. Although social media is revolutionizing the way businesses communicate with their customers, this new frontier requires a great deal of discipline in order to be successful.
Not having a presence in social media not only prevents businesses from monitoring the conversation among their own customers, but it also leaves the door open for individuals outside the company to control the conversation.
While the benefits of launching a social media strategy for business purposes continue to increase, the real issue many companies face is determining the best ways to capture value from social media.
Step 1: Look at the Big Picture
The key to a successful social media strategy lies in having specific objectives and a program that can deliver them.
By starting off with a clearly defined game plan, banks will not only see an overall greater value from their social media efforts, but also significantly lower costs in the long run.
A well-developed social media strategy should clearly define three things:
1. Why you are launching a social media strategy.
2. What you want to achieve.
3. How you'll measure success.
However, before implementing a social media strategy, companies need to clearly understand their current customer experience. To do this, institutions need to monitor multiple touch-points and analyze the available data in order to gain a clear view. Armed with these insights, they can determine where social media can come into play.
A successful social media strategy is much more than simply being present in various social media outlets. Banks that gain the greatest benefit from this business strategy go beyond creating a Facebook or Twitter page; they collect and use customer feedback to drive action.
Step 2: Listen first, then take action
The key to best leveraging social media is to listen and learn from the data you collect. By utilizing technology such as text analytics, banks can quickly identify emerging trends and unlock the value of social data.
In addition, regularly monitoring social media, an outlet where customers often voice their opinions, and analyzing the collected data, allows banks to gain insight into what is and is not working within their branches and other aspects of their operations.
This can also specifically identify unmet needs and opportunities to grow business overall.
Banks should make sure their analytics efforts directly match with declared business objectives in order to ensure that once improvements are made, results can be measured. The key lies in clearly defining metrics and creating progress reports for the bank.
Step 3: Take it to the next level
Regular engagement and monitoring of social media allows banks to gain important insight into what customers value most about the institution's services. This analysis also provides a greater understanding of three key areas financial institutions previously did not have a clear understanding of:
1. Who is engaging with them?
2. What are they saying?
3. Why are they interacting with them?
By having answers to these three questions, the institution can then begin prioritizing areas to address first, as well as which customer segments to focus on.
Think of social media as a focus group that is available to you 24/7.
Overall, leveraging social media can actually play a significant role in transforming the success of a company in more ways than one.
By engaging in social media, banks can reap the many benefits of this continually expanding platform. Benefits include improving customer experience across multiple touchpoints; increasing customer retention and acquisition; better engaging customers; and identifying new opportunities to engage brand advocates.
What was once seen as a forum for viewing photos of friends and re-connecting with old acquaintances can truly transform the way banks conduct business by providing a level of customer and business insight previously unavailable.
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