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Three steps for tweaking the little blue bird

Maximizing Twitter for better social media success for your bank

Twitter bills itself as a destination for ideas and news relating to the things people find interesting. With more than 140 million active users, and 340 million tweets per day as of March 2012, you can see why businesses are attracted to this broad audience.

For banks, Twitter offers an expanded potential to reach customers and deliver an exceptional experience that gets people talking. However, succeeding with Twitter doesn't happen by accident. Developing a Twitter content strategy and utilizing "Voice of the Customer" analytics can help you determine what to say, who to say it to, and how to reach your targets.


1. Build a strategic content calendar
Planning a calendar of content is the first step to effectively engaging customers. Creating a schedule makes it easy to determine what to say and ensures you're sticking to your strategy.
Here are four key areas your Twitter calendar could cover:
Customer acquisition: Targeting a range of demographics to generate leads for new loans.
Examples: Tweets that provide special offers, household savings tips, and financial education to each of the segments you are targeting.
Community engagement: Strengthening your bank's reputation at the local level.
Examples: Community events, holiday celebrations, and local news to reinforce the  values you share with your customers.
Service breaks: Identifying and addressing customer service difficulties that impact customers.
Example: Alerts about a temporary branch closure, ATM network outage, or a problem with the website. Apologize for negative experiences, thank customers for alerting you to the problem if applicable, and assure them it will be fixed shortly.
Customer service: Providing prompt, personal attention for questions or complaints.
Example: Acknowledge individual customer complaints and provide ways for customers to contact service representatives for solutions.


2. Build an audience by identifying fans, customers, and detractors with analytics.
Retail banks now have the opportunity to transform a wealth of unstructured data into actionable Twitter insight to advance key business objectives. Making sense of this data, however, requires a framework to manage the customer experience and effectively focus on a Voice of the Customer (VOC) program.
In simplest terms, such programs capture your customers' experiences and feed them back into the organization to drive improvements that help grow your business. Whether customers feel good or bad about their experience with your products and services, your VOC effort enables you to hear what's being said on Twitter.
With a VOC program, you can plan content that reduces risk, leverages opportunities, and builds stronger relationships with your customers.
To filter the comments of potentially thousands--or millions--of customer Tweets, classifying and analyzing the data helps you accurately measure customer issues and track experiences over time so you can take appropriate action. You can measure the current state of the customer experience, and track your progress as you make improvements.


3. Leverage your analytics to best reach your Twitter targets.
Banks should consider using analytics software to help track issues on social media and uncover emerging issues.
Here's a look "under the hood" at how you can create classification engines to act on VOC data to maximize your Twitter efforts:
Capturing main ideas--Analytics tools out there use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to automatically capture the main ideas from customer Tweets. The NLP is augmented by business knowledge and terminology specific to each line of business in the company.
Classifying key issues--To identify key issues, a classification engine sifts through millions of Tweets to track the main ideas. Again, business knowledge is integrated to craft actionable categories. Oftentimes, this part of the work is an extension of a reporting system already in place, but one geared towards hundreds of documents rather than millions.
Aligning data with measurable outcomes--Our classification engine uses a combination of statistical and linguistic techniques to discern the most meaningful way to classify each customer Tweet.
Engaging the human touch--Customer feedback is first categorized by business experts to ensure accurate meanings are assigned to Tweets about various experiences.
With a strategic content calendar and Voice of the Customer analytics categorized to your bank's business goals, you can increase your customer engagement on Twitter and maximize its effectiveness as a tool that helps you meet your bank's objectives.

Tagged under Blogs, Social Media,

Steven Ramirez

Steven J. Ramirez is chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Beyond the Arc Inc., a customer experience and advanced analytics firm that helps financial services clients differentiate themselves in the marketplace. The agency has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Most Promising Big Data Solution Providers by CIO Review magazine. Ramirez can be reached at [email protected] Beyond the Arc can be followed on Twitter at @BeyondTheArc

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