Social media has become an important part in the lives of many and, including customers, who have managed to incorporate social media into their everyday lives. It is for this reason that it is crucial for brands across all industries and sectors to understand what it means for them.
With so many opportunities that social media presents to the market, brands need to recognize that if they can innovate and react more quickly to consumer trends, and avoid obstacles and challenges, gaining a competitive advantage will prove to be a worthwhile reward.
For those in the financial services sector, a number of challenges need to be faced in order to ensure they reach their consumers effectively. From adapting to technological changes within the industry to ensuring data privacy and clear communication. So, in order to reach their consumers, who have increasingly moved to social media platforms for customer service, how can the financial services sector use social listening to their advantage? Read on for more.
Why Social Listening?
Social media, in and of itself, is a great tool to build relationships and trust with your customers. It helps to close the gap between your customer's life journey and your brand's business architecture. When approached correctly, it allows financial services brands to:
- Re-define customer relationships and to speak to target audiences in their own language.
- Optimise content assets across the full communication spectrum
- Create and deliver a uniquely personal customer journey
In Meltwater's ebook, Social Media and Finance: 2020 and Beyond it takes a deeper dive into the benefits of using social media for those in the finance services industry, but lets take a closer look at social listening.
Social intelligence is the capacity to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments, and so when it comes to social listening tools for the financial services industry, social listening tools give you the insights to know your customers’ opinions, preferences, and needs - either in relation to your particular brand or not. By keeping a close eye on the mentions of your brand, the services you provide, the relevant topics and keywords within the industry, as well as your competitors, the insights and data you gain can include:
- the sentiment of your mentions on social media
- number of mentions and their social reach
- topics that are most often linked to your institution and its services
- where your customers are active the most (social media platforms or blogs and forums)
- top influencers that mention your institution and its services
- competitor analysis and audience insights
Using Social Listening for Market research
If you knew where your customers were looking for information the most, think about the opportunities that this could open up for your financial institution. This is why social listening tools can be really beneficial for market research within the financial industry.
In today's day and age, you need to ensure that you are getting accurate data and insight into what your customers are looking for in order to actually meet their needs. If their financial or banking desires don’t match what your institution currently offers, you could create new service or product offerings, or customise your existing ones to make them more enticing to what your customers desire.
It's also important for brands and businesses in the financial industry to know where most of their potential customers are. Knowing this, with the help of a social listening tool, will prove as useful information when creating an advertising or marketing strategy where targeted ads are required. With the help of targeted ads, you reach the exact audience that you are trying to attract and ensure that you form part of their customer journey.
Financial service providers might also want to consider the possibility that social media is becoming a more prominent place for customers who are looking for more information about their institution, and its services, but couldn't find it on your website.
This is an opportunity for you to improve on your content marketing across all your online channels. Once you've utilized a social listening tool to gauge what your customers want from your institution, you are better equipped to inform your customers on what matters to them. And if your customers your customers are sharing their experiences about your service on social media, you can pick on the sentiment of these mentions. If it's all negative talk around the service you provide, a social listening tool will pick this up and give you a reason to step up your online customer experience.
Bettering Your Customer Service
Speaking of customer service and experience, social media is known to be a platform where customers express their emotions around brands and businesses. From gratitude for a speedy delivery of a credit card to anger about bad customer service at a particular branch, social listening tools are great for identifying all the online posts where your customers mention your brand or services, providing insight into how best you can provide better customer service.
In the past, customer service from banks used to be done over the phone, by email or in the actual physical branch. Now, consumers use social media to interact with brands and companies in a more direct way, which has become a growing trend in the banking and financial industry. More and more financial institutions, like Santander Rio Bank, use their official social media pages and profiles to engage with their customers as a way of resolving any issues quickly.
Managing a Crisis with Social Listening
Spotting online mentions of certain issues that either your current clients or new consumers may face, or a bad experience that they had with your service, provides an opportunity to ensure that you work quickly to keep your reputation from walking down the path of an online crisis. Negative noise surrounding your brand can greatly affect your reputation and brand image, and can spark quite the wildfire if left unchecked. When negative mentions and comments appears online, you want to make sure that you are the first to know.
One of great benefits of using a social listening tool is being able to identify these negative mentions as soon as they happen. Real-time alerts are crucial in these situations for reputation management, as they enable you to be quick and proactive. If, for example, the number of mentions about your financial institute is higher than usual, Meltwater's mobile app can give you instant notifications on updates and new stories. Getting notifications like this can be an important part in your reputation management plan to prevent an online crisis.
How to begin using social listening for your institution
At the end of the day, social listening tools can be a great asset for financial service providers wanting to gain a better understanding of the market and their clients. If you are considering using a tool, such as Meltwater's Social Listening solution, here are some social media mentions that you might want to pay attention to:
- the name of your financial institute
- your products and services
- key influential people in banking or finance
- general news from the financial industry
From here, filter out the data that is unimportant and analyze what is, then use that to provide a customer experience tailored exactly to your clients. This may sound complicated, but with a social listening tool, it becomes much easier to get more 'bang for your buck' as a financial service provider.