Being a blogger about banking law for over six years, I’ve developed an interested in social media use by banks, and I’ve posted about the topic on this blog (when I can tear myself away from the siren call of bashing bank regulators, stealing walkers from the elderly, and stuffing cats in the microwave). In the course of my travels around the country speaking about the legal aspects of this topic, I served on a panel with a smart, engaging speaker named Shari Storm (pictured to the left), a published author of a book on business management principles, mother of three little girls, and also the Chief Marketing Officer for Seattle-based Verity Credit Union. Verity was an “early adopter” of social media as a branding and marketing tool, including the use of blogs that are written by the institution's employees and that are hosted on the credit union's web site. When people ask me to point them to examples of financial institutions that seem to “get it” in the effective use of social media, I always point them in the direction of Verity.
Recently, I became aware of a social media campaign that Shari
developed for Verity that involved the credit union’s blog, Youtube.com videos, a
contest, and the credit union’s members competing with one another to promote
the credit union through social media. I was impressed, and although pure marketing
and branding issues are something that I only occasionally address, I asked
Shari to give a webinar for BankLawStuff on the campaign and what she and
Verity learned about social media through the process, and she agreed. It’s
being presented this Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. Central Time. If a reader of this
blog isn’t interested in the topic, he or she might pass it along to their institution’s
Computerworld ran an article Friday about the gap between the desire of consumers to interact with companies through social media and the ability for businesses to do so. Banks and other financial institutions have been notoriously slow to adopt the “new media” as compared to other business that interact with consumers and I don’t see that trend suddenly changing.
"Social media is changing the way businesses, customers and employees interact, and this creates significant opportunities for contact centers and the enterprise as a whole to leverage the integration of these tools into business processes," said Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala in a statement. "As integration of social media improves within the contact center and with unified communications and collaboration, businesses can improve customer interactions and positively impact employee productivity and collaboration."
The study notes that businesses may not be using social networking sites or adopting enterprise 2.0 tools fast enough to satisfy many of their customers.
Yankee and Siemens Enterprise reported that nearly 60% of those surveyed said company outreach through social media would make them more loyal to that company. Most of those surveyed said they want companies to monitor social networks for customer comments and complaints.
What that tells me is that those institutions that have “gotten with the program” concerning social media are opening up a wide lead on those that still start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. I think that gap may only grow wider as banks slug it out for customers in an economy that remains in the doldrums.