Regulators of financial institutions are concerned about digital media, and while a great deal of thought has gone into maintaining security of digital banking transactions, not much has been done with social media and other “inbound marketing” tools. In the uncontrollable world of social media, bank and credit union employees, as well as their customers and members, can engage in risky behaviors without thinking about the ramifications. Yet, the financial industry needs these tools in order to communicate with customers and the public at large in the new digital world.
The fact that social media has risks need not stop a bank or credit union from embracing an inbound marketing and customer/community engagement strategy. Banks are in the business of taking risks, but they need to get a better handle on the risks associated with digital marketing. Since no money transactions occur in most social media channels, the risks are more related to the security of private information and damage to your brand.
Every financial institution needs a Social Media Policy. Regulators will be looking for one the next time they do an IT examination (funny that they think of social media as IT). The policy should address the dos and don’ts of using social media for all employees and how to deal with situations in which customers make mistakes in your branded media. Common sense should be the rule, but in today’s litigious society you need to be clear about protecting customer information and protecting the company’s reputation. In helping banks and credit unions develop these policies, we have seen good policies and policies that backfired on the Company. An Australian bank set a policy that employees could be disciplined if their friends and family members posted negative things about the bank in any social media. Employees and their union took the bank to task and the bank finally admitted it was a mistake. They changed their policy.
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. Policy guides strategy and if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy, you are likely to make mistakes in your policy. So, before a bank or credit union sets out to develop a social media policy, an important first step is to think through the overall plan for digital media, inbound marketing and use of social media. We’ll do more on bank and credit union inbound marketing strategy in future blogs.
We would love to hear from banks and credit unions about what they are doing to plan their digital media strategies and mitigate the risks. Call us at 919-732-2835 or click here and complete the form on our home page and we will contact you.