Social media is quickly becoming the preferred method to launch new products and services across all industries. The banking and finance industries have taken notice and now plan major new product or service releases in conjunction with their social media platforms.
Avidia Bank is a $1.2 billion community bank headquartered in Hudson, MA. It launched Cardless Cash, a feature in its mobile app that allows customers to withdraw money from ATMs and branch locations using their smartphone. The majority of its marketing strategy was built around social media and in-branch posters with the hashtag #CardlessCash. The bank held a live Q&A on Periscope and hosted a battle between an ATM and Cardless Cash to prove the time saving benefits of the latter. To increase its reach, the bank repurposed this content and distributed it on other social media platforms. Its media strategy relied on organic social and influencer targeting instead of paid advertisements. Avidia used Hootsuite to locate social media influencers in the financial services market and contacted them directly to inform them about the campaign. Avidia had very successful results:
- Since introducing Cardless Cash, Avidia had a 13 percent increase in mobile app enrollments, with adopters in the age range of 17 to 79.
- The teaser post had 2,030 impressions and 10.13 percent engagement rate as compared with a traditional engagement rate of three percent.
- The company doubled its Twitter followers and grew Facebook followers by 10 percent.
- Sentiment, a social media metric, was 83 percent positive.
- Twitter engagement from Cardless Cash launch in July through September grew 101.3 percent.
The Dutch branch of the ING group discovered that its marketing campaigns were not relevant to the bank’s customers due to the lag time to market. ING centralized its content management systems and launched a real time social media campaign, which it delivered over multiple social media platforms. ING was able to launch personalized real time offers, which demonstrated its interest in fans and followers, with successful results:
- The bank increased its average campaign response rate.
- It’s projected that ING will reduce its direct marketing costs by 35 per year.
GT Bank is Nigeria’s most profitable bank and an innovator for using social media. It is Africa’s most “liked” bank on social media and one of the country’s most “liked” brands overall on Facebook. In 2009, GT Bank began to use Facebook for customer service and engagement. It recently launched a Facebook banking application so its followers can open bank accounts through Facebook. GT Bank is planning to expand the app and allow secure transfers and balance checks as well. The company asked its customers what they really wanted from a bank and used their answers to launch a successful Facebook application.
In 2013, Intuit launched a program to empower small businesses called Small Business Big Game. One small business could win an all-expense paid Super Bowl commercial. The company updated the program in 2015 and integrated it into its newly launched social community, the “OWN IT Small Business network,” which enabled small-business owners to learn from and connect with each other, with support from QuickBooks’ industry experts. Participants joined OWN IT and could complete activities to promote growth and connections. The company relaunched the Big Game promotion, but also rewarded members for participating in activities over the nine-month program. Intuit produced a series of videos that ran on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and featured businesses that had already experienced significant business growth. As entrants were narrowed down to the Top 10 Finalists, each of the Top 10 small businesses were featured in an animated video also on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. When public voting narrowed the field to the Top 3, another video was produced that showed the social media strategies each business used to get votes. Intuit had very successful results:
- The company received over 17,000 program sign-ups.
- Positive press led to 3.6+ billion impressions.
- The Big Game activities received over 9,000 responses.
- The winner’s Big Game spots has been viewed 12.9+ million times across Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and shared over 13,000 times with more than 3,000 comments.
- The Big Game winner had a 550% average increase in sales and added 40,000 subscribers to their email list. Facebook followers are now at 20,000, Twitter is up to 8,000, and Instagram is up to 5,000.
How to Utilize Social Media in Product Launches
In a report titled “Moving Beyond Listening and Monitoring: Social Media Marketing for Financial Services,” Accenture developed a four-step approach to harness social media:
- Define: You need to identify the goal, the social media platform that fits the goal best, and the target customers or prospects.
- Experiment: Use one social media platform to test the product or service launch.
- Extend: If you receive successful results in the Experiment stage, conduct due diligence and utilize new components or services.
- Expand: After completion of due diligence, launch product or service with additional social media platforms.
As illustrated in the above-mentioned examples, financial services companies can use social media to launch new products and services. This can lead to increased customer engagement and a broader reach across all platforms. It is important to remember that financial services companies must strictly adhere to all issues of compliance. However, with checks and reviews of campaigns, this can be easily accomplished to enable a successful social media campaign