Posted by Brad Strothkamp on October 18, 2011
No topic has straddled the chasm of hype versus ROI as social media. The last few years have been a never-ending array of stories around successes using social media as well as pundits questing the validity and value of the social area. The financial services industry is increasingly playing a role in the social space, and the last two years have also provided clarity to the value of the social channel.
Like other industries, the majority of the efforts in the social space in financial services space were initially focused on the marketing area. The last two years have resulted at least four areas that show promise for social outside of pure marketing including:
- Product development and innovation. Who better to ask about new product development or product enhancements than existing customers who own and use the product? Firms such as Chase tap social communities to drive product innovation that starts with the customer are using social very effectively
- Community support. While financial decisions may be a personal activity, the path to these decisions is often steeped in social with segments like investors or small business looking to one another for peer comparisons and best practice sharing. American Express, TradeKing, and most recently E*Trade are using closed communities to drive service utilization and segment engagement by getting customer to interact with each other in the social space.
- Customer service. The bread and butter of online strategy for financial services firms have traditionally been customer service, and that aspect is seeing an opportunity in the social space. Twitter can be a hotbed of customer concerns and questions, and a litany of financial services companies are listening and proactively helping these clients. Wells Fargo and Citibank have been leaders here in development of proactive outreach customer service strategies via Twitter.
- Online sales. Recommendations from family and friends play a key role in how consumers start the process of choosing a new provider. Social has a logical role here as social is about sharing experiences with family, friends and likeminded individuals. This role is being played at a macro level via customer ratings and reviews that are gaining traction in financial services. USAA has been a leader in this space by harnessing the good will that exists among its member to win new ones.
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