Friday, April 30, 2010

Developing a Social Media Policy

We've been grappling with a social media policy for the last couple of months. It's been an interesting process. Much of the content has been gleaned from other larger corporations who publish their policies. Our goal is to provide guidance to "official" bank social media participants as well as other employees as they engage in their social networks. Very challenging.
Let's face it. The line between business and personal is so blurred when you add in the social media component. Some of the questions we are dealing with are, for example, do you prohibit or simply discourage the use of social media sites during the work day? If so, how do you monitor this and what are the consequences if you are caught? These are just two examples of the challenges facing us in this highly regulated environment. I'd love to hear from others on how they are addressing these issues.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Upcoming Social Media Conferences

I'll be participating in two conferences in the next couple of months that I thought I'd mention to the readers of my blog.

One that I'm attending for the third year is the Net.Finance 2010- Marketing for Banks "Improving Your Online And Mobile Channel Performance To Deliver A Differentiated Customer Experience", May-11-12th in Chicago. I'll be part of a panel discussion "Prioritizing Technology Investments to Gain Competitive Advantage". Also on the panel will be Mark Schwanhausser of Javelin Strategy & Research and Stu Fisher of Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union. This is always an excellent conference with great networking opportunities.

The other one is a new event from the World Research Group called "The e-Finance Marketing & Innovation Conference", June 22-23rd in New York City. I'll be joined by my colleague, Steve Kruskamp, and our topic will be "Social Media in Action: Turning Customers into Lifers". We'll have some real world examples from our experiences in the social media trenches. It looks to be a pretty good lineup of speakers including William Azaroff from Vancity Credit Union and Shari Storm of Verity Credit Union.

If you are looking for opportunities to connect with others in the financial services ecommerce area, these look to be two pretty good events to consider. Hope to see you there.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Is it time for Mobile Banking?

Mobile Banking seems ready to explode. Javelin Strategy & Research forecasts that over 191 million U.S. Consumers will have cell phones by 2012. According to the Online Banking Report, mobile banking has "reached the point where online banking was a decade ago". And, as Net Banker reported this week, Bank of America is rolling out their Text Banking service after supporting mobile (WAP and downloadable apps) for over three years.
One of the key questions is how will this new service mesh with the current online offerings. Many are suggesting that this will appeal to a different market than the current online banking customers. The Gen Y's, for example, have grown up tethered to their cell phones. Then there are the Underbanked who use mobile devices. They have found other ways to manage their personal finances without using the typical services of banks but might be open to a mobile option.
We will be introducing a mobile solution later this year. We are pretty excited about the offering and think it will help us attract and retain the younger consumers. If you are an FI with mobile banking, I'd love to hear what your experience has been.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ally Bank Redux

Back in February, during the worst winter storms we've seen in decades, I went on a bit of a "rant" abut the Ally Bank commercials. Basically, the message seemed somewhat hypocritical from a bank run by former "Big Bank" executives and supported by the U.S. Government (read: taxpayers).

So it is with a sense of irony that I received a solicitation in the mail from Ally Bank to open an interest checking account. No, they aren't stalking (mocking?) me. You see my mortgage is held by GMAC Mortgage and this offer came through them. The product itself is compelling: interest checking with no minimum balance, no ATM charges, and no monthly fees. Sounds like a pretty good deal just not sure how they can make any money on the account. But I guess they don't have to worry about that.....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Content + Visibilty + Promotion= Increased Readership

At our financial institution, we've had a Blog for over two years. Frankly, it was buried in our About Us section with little traffic to it. Recently, however, we've seen some significant increases due to two significant events. First, we posted an article discussing the Reg E changes coming up this summer and designed a banner on the home page to promote it. In a little over two weeks, this post alone has generated 601 page views and 6 comments from customers. Second, we brought the Blog "front and center" to a more prominent spot on our Home Page. Given the traffic on our home page, we think this will dramatically increase our page views and comments. We are really excited about the initial results!
And, of course, we continue to use social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to make our extended networks aware of the new posts. Let's face it, content and visibility without promotion is like a tree falling in the forest; does anybody really hear it?