Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Social Media discussion from Net.Finance

As mentioned in a previous post, I attended the Net.Finance Conference in Chicago last week. It was a very nice turnout of financial institutions, investment firms, insurance companies, and vendors. One of the personal highlights was watching a Cubs game from the Wrigley Field Rooftop Club as a guest of Rosetta, one of the long time sponsors of the event. I had the pleasure of being part of a panel discussion called Prioritizing Technology Initiatives to Gain Competitive Advantage along with Stu Fisher, SVP of Addison Avenue FCU and Mark Schwanhausser, a Research Analyst with Javelin. Social Media and Personal Financial Manager (PFM) solutions were the two primary topics. Today's post will focus on social media.

Both of our companies have been early adopters of social media including Twitter, FaceBook, and Blogs. Addison Avenue recently added some community groups and hired a social media manager to add focus to their efforts. We will be adding a Community component to our site in June. There are some compelling reasons for participating in social media. Javelin's research indicates that over 52% of all consumers are active in social networking, with the 35-44 year-old's the fastest growing segment.

While our organizations are very different, we did agree on one key point. Social media should be an extension of, and not separate from, your overall web strategy. Let's face it, bank web sites can be somewhat boring with product descriptions and (lots) of regulatory disclosures. Our goal has been to connect with customers and prospects, build the brand, and have some fun in a less formal environment. How you use it, or whether you even participate or not, depends on your overall strategy.

Next post will be on the Personal Financial Management discussion from Net. Finance.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Follow Up on the Social Media Policy

I had an opportunity to reach out to a number of local Technology people about their social media policies, including Steve Kozak of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council and Larry Fiorino, the CEO of G.1440. Here's what I've found:
  • A few companies have one. There is even a site that publishes corporate policies if you want to see some samples.
  • Other companies simply block access to the sites for all employees with no exceptions.
  • Most other companies simply don't have a policy and don't seem concerned about it.

We finalized ours this week and it is a pretty good combination of suggested behaviors (Netiguette) while addressing the compliance and legal concerns. We'll be sharing this with our employees shortly and making it part of our Employee Handbook as well. In a highly regulated industry, we think it is important.