Social Listening for Bankers – Your Brand is Not Your Own Anymore

Bill Briggs


A couple of weeks ago we released part one of our discussion with Charlie Johnson from Flagstar Bank in Michigan and and Andy Max from First National Bank of Omaha, and their efforts around integrating within their banks. Because we just let them talk, we ended up with about 90 minutes of gold.

Part two is where the guys talk about social “listening”. Flagstar Bank started with Radian6 – which was purchased by Salesforce a few years ago and now fully integrated within their Marketing Cloud.

Andy and Charlie both agree that your bank’s brand is no longer wholly in your hands. The social side of brand strategy in the fast-moving, 21st century digital landscape is a place of enormous opportunity as well as fraught with peril.



Podcast Transcript

Charlie Johnson

As far as educating a social strategy to those who are unfamiliar with it, the best thing that we did was start integrating with Radian6, and starting to do some listening. What we were doing was aggregating the listening that we were doing, and the feedback that we were seeing in the social channels, and delivering that to the regional manager so that they could discuss those in their sales meetings.

They began to see the value of listening, right? That’s what I tell folks. I’m kind of a digital freak and had the opportunity to speak on it a few times. Even if you don’t have a well-developed social engagement strategy, at a minimum, you need to be listening because the conversation’s going on with or without you. At least being aware of the conversations that are going on about your brand in the space, that’s the first step. Then, talking about, “What is the smartest and best way for us to engage with that conversation” and “How can we steer the tone of that?”

That’s a great way to measure real success. If you’ve taken a customer from a lead, to a prospect, to a customer and actually form a relationship, all the way through to an evangelist in the social channels, man, how could that measuring win, being able to evidence that now they’re cheering your praise out there in the social space. Today, a lot of your brand’s reputation is crowd sourced, so you better be aware of what the crowd’s saying about your brand if you want to have control of your brand. It’s no longer about exposure of your brand and message. It’s about the customer’s experience with your brand and message, and what they’re saying about that experience in those channels.

Andy Max

I’ll completely agree. Yeah. That’s our goal at the bank here, as well, if you ask somebody that. Ten years ago you’d probably get a different answer because we didn’t have the tools to be able to listen and to be able to develop plans as far as how we strategically go about this issue, or that issue, or what’s going on in our community today because our feedback was surveys that you put out there. You’d get some form of feedback in return. Did we ever really do anything with it? Did we know what to do with it? There was a lot of issues that we couldn’t comprehend. Now that we can, it’s really interesting to see how we’re engaging with our clients today.

From the consumer side all the way to the commercial side, the wealth side in every business unit here at the bank, is trying to understand how they want to be communicated with. Not just that, but making sure that when we communicate with them, we have the full picture of their business in front of us too. Without being able to go out there, have a conversation about the whole relationship, and the relationship goes beyond numbers now. It goes out to, just like you said, their Twitter pages, to their comments out there on social media, to the cases that we’ve solved here at the bank, and have a full understanding of their interactions with the bank to fully be able to support that. When we have those conversations, to address those things proactively instead of hearing about it on the backside. Could you elaborate a little bit on the Radian6 piece?

Charlie Johnson

Again, of course, fully integrated in a tool fully owned by Salesforce now and part of their “Marketing Cloud” offering. It’s the capability of listening to the key words, picking up on those conversations that are occurring out there, and, then, tying them back with the identification of, “Who are those people? Are they our customers? If they are our customers, let’s identify it back to who they are and what’s their specific relationship with the bank.”

Even more so, having that awareness of and knowing your individual’s Klout scores and their influencer scores, and things such as that, in that space can steer some marketing and engagement strategy.
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If you can look at your customers who you have successful and strong relationships with and target messaging in their social channels that they’re going to respond to, that are positive to the brand or positive about how you value your relationship with them, sending that information to them, getting them to “like” that information, knowing that they are most likely connected to people who are in very similar situations with them… Of course, everybody’s connected to their family, but, typically, we’re connected with those that we have something akin with in our lifestyle.

Let’s say the bank comes out with a special Armed Forces loan, or a particular banking account that is flexible for overseas access, or whatnot, for those in the military. If I can identify through my own data mining who we have relationships with who are active military or have spouses that are in the active military, I can target their social accounts with a social marketing campaign and post it to their walls, or getting them to like it, it’s then instantly shared with everybody that they’re connect with. Well, those who are in the military normally have relationships with who? Other people in the military, right? I’m not only reaching them. The purpose of my message isn’t necessarily to up-sell them, it’s to spread my targeted awareness that I have that offering to those people that are connected to them that, most likely, are also in the military, and, therefore, would be my target market.

I know nothing of their friends. I probably don’t have any of them in my marketing database, nor can I go out and just buy them. Understanding this unbelievably connected world that we’re in and how social circles connect to social circles… I target one person who’s got that loan or that profile of that new special product that I’m rolling out, and they’re connected to 30 other people, and 10 of those other 30 are connected to 300 other people, and it’s unbelievable the reach of the social message and how far it can go. The leads can then, present themselves, especially if you have a call-to-action or a click-to-action within that messaging, you can quickly identify the results in the ROI.

The neat thing is that with today’s agility of these platforms and digital marketing, the thing is, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, and you try something else. You do A/B testing. It’s no longer investing six or eight months and hundreds of thousands of dollars into a major campaign to see it fail and everybody standing on the bridge. It’s two or three weeks. If it doesn’t work, hey, try something else. We’re more agile and more efficient in digital marketing than ever. There’s not as much financial risk and resource investment risk as there used to be.

Now, you still got to be careful. In FinServices you talked about targeting, marketing, and communications with people, both from a regulatory perspective, you’ve got to be very cautious about how you engage with folks in the public domain, but you’ve also got to be cautious about your messaging and about your reputational risk because we’ve seen brands that are much more robust and have been around for a hundred years. We’ve seen Coca-Cola and Budweiser misstep with an ill-placed Tweet that is taken or misconstrued, and they’re just roasted in the public domain. You can’t just go off firing willy-nilly. Certainly, you got to think it through, but you can execute targeted campaigning through social channels now that many people are still trying to get their hands around those strategies.

Again, I’m not saying that we’ve got a well-baked… I don’t know that it’s ever done. It’s like everybody’s trying to figure out the secret sauce, but the pallet keeps changing so fast that we can’t really get out finger directly on it. The key is that customers are now demanding one-to-one interaction. They want perfect messaging on the device that’s convenient to them at the time that’s right for them.

Andy Max

They want us to know their name. They want us to know what they’ve looked at. They want us to make an accurate recommendation. As you talked about, as far as the military loans go, they want us to know them before we almost meet them anymore.

Charlie Johnson

Absolutely, but not too much because then you’re…

Andy Max

Right. Then it scares them.

Charlie Johnson

There’s the creepy factor.

Andy Max

It is.

Charlie Johnson

If you know too much about what they’ve been doing on your website, then it’s like, “Oh, they’re watching me!” You’ve got to be cognizant of that. It’s a difficult balance to make as a marketer and as a business. I think, the key is if you’re not, at least, listening in the social channel, you’re way behind. You need to, at least, be listening, if not engaging.

Again, in FinServe many times the engagement is to engage with the customer through a different channel, especially if it’s an upset customer about a particular thing that happened with their loan, God forbid a foreclosure situation or something. You want to bring that conversation offline, and deal with that customer out of the public forum, and create a win that, hopefully, they will, then, take back to the public forum that, “You know what? That brand stood up and did the right thing. We were able to work this out.” You can’t have that back-and-forth, that tit-for-tat, in the public forum because it an turn south on you very quickly.

The post Social Listening for Bankers – Your Brand is Not Your Own Anymore appeared first on PrecisionLender.


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