Embracing social media in an age of distrust

Bank of Queensland is embracing the opportunity to engage with its customers via social media

In an age where consumer trust in banking couldn’t be lower, Bank of Queensland is leading the way by embracing social media and making itself more available to its customers.

Far from being scared of social media commentary, Bank of Queensland is enjoying the opportunity to engage with its customers, and worked with Hootsuite to develop a solution that not only ensured compliance, but ensured a positive customer experience as well.

Jenny Devine, social business leader at Bank of Queensland (BoQ), said the bank developed a program so each branch manager would manage their own social media pages on Facebook to create the kind of word of mouth marketing that is naturally created face-to-face within communities.

“We are lucky to have a great owner/manager model at BoQ. So we created a program for each branch to manage their own social media pages for a word of mouth marketing model similar to our operation model of our local bank managers, where they are out and about in their local community networking.

“We’ve moved that networking online, so now it’s a digital community on Facebook at local levels, resulting in a high level of social media advocacy and positive sentiment,” Devine told CMO.

This involved switching up to Hootsuite’s enterprise version and plugging in around 200 Facebook and social media channels, which Devine freely admits was quite a big undertaking.

“Hootsuite actually worked with us to develop the product so it could do the things we wanted it to do. Our user case was unique in regard to being a bank and keeping things compliant. But we also wanted to use Facebook at a franchise level.

“A lot of retail outlets are realising the value of that really localised content, so they’re allowing local stores to have the local pages and social media assets, so BoQ has become a good use case.”

With so many social media pages with its branding, any other business might get nervous. But BoQ provides each brand with content they can choose from, and encourages branches to send content for use, which BoQ moderates to check for brand standards and compliance.

“It’s a great system, and importantly, it is having a positive impact on our brand nationally, as well as each local branch, which has its own personalised brand as well,” Devine explained.

“Each brand is in a different area, they know their local community, and they know how to speak to each segment they are wanting to attract. We often help coach them in how to use social and how to talk to people, and we give them content we’re created and it triggers their own ideas on how to create content that will resonate with their local communities.

“Those customer interactions with our branches tell the stories of our brand, it almost becomes our customers’ brand, and it’s great we’re able to influence it from a national level and stick to our key messaging.

“Our customers talk to us and about us online. We have a social service team to respond online to all our engagements, and also have Facebook pages for all local branches, and they can respond directly as well via an app on their phones. Now, we have a great personalised level of interaction with our customers.”

In this way, BoQ has created a group of high-level advocates, because it does not shy away from customer feedback.

“Out of all our 200 pages, we have an average of only two per cent negative sentiment, which is amazing. It’s about getting it right and engaging the right people in the community. We will post about and tag a local event, we’ll have a conversation about the town, and this resonates with the communities. It’s not just about finance at all. A recent post about the Manly community got 30,000 engagements locally.

“We measure engagements, and compare our local content as a group to the corporate channel. The local pages are organic, we have some sponsored content. Facebook gets measured around engagements, corporate sponsored content is more about segments and engaging the right people at the right stage of their journeys.

“We provide info for people when they want it, not just throwing messaging out and hoping for the best.

“We were originally a mainstream marketing channel focus, but we have evolved in the last few years, because as a business we can’t not realise the benefits of social media. We have this centralised content strategy; the channel of choice is based on what we want to communicate.”

BoQ is also a big believer in social NPS, collating the sentiment every month to get an impression of customers, what they want, and what they want to talk about.

“Most companies now realise people are going to talk to you whether you are there or not,” Devine explains.

“So you are there and available to customers to help steer the conversation in the right direction with accurate information. If you’re not there to regulate in some way, you might find information being circulated is inaccurate. Social media give opportunities to influence conversations and correct misinformation.”

Now the social media strategy is working well, Devine said she is focussed on continual improvements.

“This includes smart digital marketing, content strategy and an oscillating strategy around the key customer segments we want to work with and cater to as a bank.

“Ultimately it must come back to the customer journey in finance. I have a rule that nothing goes out unless it speaks to a customer’s particular need or stage they’re at in their life journey. This is how we make sure we’re putting the right information out.”

Roger Graham, head of Asia and senior director of marketing and growth at Hootsuite, said social media tools are growing at such a rapid rate it can be hard for companies to keep up, but they have to if they want to effectively engage their customers.

“There are continual new feature sets, and different ways for people to share their stories. Messaging apps are becoming more than a one to one communication path. AI bots, group chats, the tech continues to evolve,” he said.

“Companies are looking to continually improve ROI and customer journeys, and efficiency of engagement.

“The focus on CX is very important, companies must get a deeper understanding of the channels consumers will go through, and map their journey. AI isn’t something you can just turn on; you have to map out what impact it will have on your customers first.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

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