Banks: Mobile Apps vs. Social Media

SmartphoneBanks are gearing up for strategic planning.  It’s the time of year where banks are evaluating ideas that have been tossed around all year and will decide what direction to take their company in 2013.  Two items that keep creating buzz inside and outside the banking industry are Social Media and Mobile Apps.  Both carry a good list of pros and cons that must be weighed out before an organization decides to test the waters.  Here are just a couple

Pros

  1. Communication: Social Media outlets are a great way to stay connected with you customers and allows customers to connect with your company in a unique way.  Until the last few years, companies sent talking points down via advertisements and press releases, but now customers can expand on talking points via twitter, Facebook and blogging platforms.  Depending on how many and what type of Mobile Apps your bank has, you can allow customers more communication to your bank.  They can check their account balances, post questions, report a stolen/lost Debit card and even deposit a check with their Smartphone.
  2. Education: Both Social Media and Mobile Apps allow you the opportunity to educate your customer base when it comes to financial responsibility, community involvement opportunities and general information about your Bank.  Banks can create a blog dedicated to establishing a “savings” mentality, or post a video on YouTube describing how to use online bill pay tools.  Mobile apps showing customers their spending habits can help people realize where they can curb unnecessary cost and improve household income.

Cons

  1. Communication: There is a possibility that a customer may give too much information.  There is also a possibility that a demented, frustrated banker may throw a wrench into your app and cause headaches for your customers.
  2. Education (or lack there of): If your bankers are unsure how to use your mobile apps, then how can they sale it?  Better yet, how can they provide customer service when someone calls about a problem?  If you have a Facebook page and no one knows about it, how effective is it?

Do the pros outweigh the cons?  Well if you ask me (a marketing/customer service driven community banker), then YES.  But that’s just one man’s humble opinion.

If you do decide to pursue either trending tech area this coming year, consider some of the following points:

  • Know Your Customer Base: If your customer base is small business owners who focus on B2B materials, would it make any sense to create a Pinterest account for your bank?  If your customer base is retail driven in a rural market, do you want to have an app specific to shopping in highly populated urban areas?  Think about your niche market first, then build around it.
  • Create a Diverse Team: I once heard a “Social Media Expert” brag about how they created their company’s Facebook page and how people in her company referred to her as that “Facebook person.”  That may have worked for that one person and may have even improved their Klout score, but would it not have been more effective if that person would have led a team of people in the company?  By pulling in people from different departments and locations, you will be able to get a better idea of what to create and know what possible obstacles lie ahead for your new app or social media site.
  • Get Buy-In from EVERY Level: From the Board of Directors to your part-time document imaging processor, everyone needs to know what is happening.  This will help with any customer issues that may come down the road and will keep everyone at your bank on the same page.

So, does your Bank plan on starting or improving your social media strategy for 2013?  Has your bank created a mobile banking plan for the coming year?

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About Jeremy M. Price
For twelve years, I had the pleasure of working in community banking. Starting in customer service, I worked my way up to a senior level marketing and human resources director. It was great leading teams that improved strategic initiatives including, but not limited to brand awareness, digital communication, employee development and product development. This experience has now led to an exciting role with CRS Data. As the Product Marketing Analyst, I am currently reviewing the company's banker suite product. This product is able to help community banks reach their fullest potential in real estate lending. I am extremely fortunate to share time with my son while enjoying life in East Tennessee. The two of us enjoy the views of the Smokey Mountains, eating good food and having fun. During my free time, I enjoy running races, traveling and listening to great live music.

2 Responses to Banks: Mobile Apps vs. Social Media

  1. simonhamer says:

    Reblogged this on Simon Hamer and commented:
    Dwolla and Square should keep them kean

  2. Pingback: Walmart in the Mortgage Race? « Heart of the Matter

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