Posted by Cognito on Fri, May 02 2014

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Not your teenager’s social media - Key themes and takeaways from Cognito’s London Breakfast Byte

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This week Cognito hosted a London Breakfast Byte to discuss the evolving role of social media in B2B financial services. Our panellists— Rylan Holey of Hootsuite, Andrew Carrier of Deutsche Bank, and Vivienne Hsu of Cognito— boast a range of social media expertise and their discussion was filled with valuable insights.

We’ve compiled our key insights and learnings from the Breakfast Byte below. Please take a look and contact us with any questions, comments or ideas you may have!

Key themes and takeaways from the event

How has social media changed the customer journey in financial services?

Forrester research has shown that 75% of the customer journey is now happening online. Customers are making up their mind, through their own research, long before they come in direct contact with sales people. If a financial institution is not online, promoting its content and improving its share of voice, then it risks losing share of voice, consideration and sales leads to competitors that are.

Why is finance different?

In addition to the strict regulations that affect the financial services industry, there is an underlying cultural issue of conservativeness and nervousness around compliance, resulting in a reluctance to embrace new forms of communication. This can make it difficult to convince senior management that social media is worthy of investment.

However, if you aren’t joining in the conversations that are happening, your company might be missing opportunities to promote its brand and connect with potential customers. Social media does affect the business world: from Carl Icahn tweeting about Apple, to Bloomberg building in Twitter sentiment measurement into their terminals.

What are the challenges presented by social media in B2B financial services and how can we overcome them?

The main challenge facing the adoptation of social media in B2B financial services is the misconception that social media is intended for personal use and is thus not useful to B2B communications. But companies need to accept that social media is a key part of people’s day-to-day lives, and an important method of information gathering and sharing.

The issue of compliance is unique to financial services. The potential damage is great if an organisation is not compliant in every form of communication, including its social media activity. This requires companies to set clear policies and best practice guidelines for its organisations and employees. The sooner financial services companies can put these guidelines in place the better, since there is no way to ‘control’ the use of social media.

What are the challenges and opportunities around preparing your workforce in this digital age?

Employees represent a huge asset to financial services institutions as they can be powerful brand advocates. They also help to instil the company brand with more personality, an increasingly important trait for differentiation in a competitive landscape. The key question is how to leverage this benefit. Employees will be using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in their personal lives, and there is no way for companies to stop this behaviour (and they’d likely be faced with rebellion if they did). Technology that supports compliant social communications is available, but the best way to benefit and ensure compliance is to provide education and training on best practices and common sense guidance.

The future…

An interesting question was posed by a member of the audience about the effect of social media in the long term on financial services. Will the industry become more open or closed because of the effect of social media?

Though it’s difficult to predict how social media will influence the industry as a whole, the general reaction from the panel was that the market will most likely become more open - but not without experiencing growing pains. It will be critical that financial services institutions address the evolving social media behaviour of employees (and customers) through clear brand guidelines and new technologies, to support the business strategy in this new era of connectivity.

The Panel

Rylan Holey

Rylan is responsible for HootSuite’s Solution Partner Programme in EMEA, supporting agencies and consultants as they advise their clients on how Hootsuite can support their drive towards social business. Prior to Hootsuite, Rylan was a marketer across both B2B and B2C. He led digital marketing and social media at the international law firm SJ Berwin and also at Wigmore Hall, the world’s leading chamber music venue.

Vivienne Hsu

Vivienne has over 10 years of marketing and communications experience. She started her career in advertising at Y&R Canada before moving to London to work at Ogilvy, TBWA and most recently at Grey Worldwide, specialising in digital and social media consulting. Vivienne has vast experience working across FS clients, including HSBC, SWIFT, BNY Mellon, Etrali Trading Solutions and Allianz. She has extensive experience leading global and domestic accounts, and is the strategic lead on all digital and social work for Cognito.

Andrew Carrier

Andrew joined Deutsche Bank in 2012. He has global responsibility for the marketing of the Trust & Securities Services business (part of Global Transaction Banking). Before joining Deutsche Bank, Andrew built up 14 years’ of expertise in a variety of marketing and communications roles in the financial sector. A short stint in the back-office of J.P. Morgan was followed by sales & marketing jobs for financial middleware providers OpenTrade and HelioGraph, then eight years with SWIFT - ultimately as the cooperative’s global head of marketing communications.

Key quotes

"Compliance is an issue [for social media], but beyond that it is a cultural issue – banking is a conservative industry" - Andrew Carrier

"People don’t live their personal lives in a silo, we need to set best practice guidelines for employees" - Vivienne Hsu

"Businesses need to focus on what they want to achieve through social before engaging" - Rylan Holey

"What scientists call experiments, marketers call failure. We are in a phase of data-driven experimentation with social"- Vivienne Hsu

"Create a social framework for your employees - empower, educate and then trust them" - Andrew Carrier

"It is short-sighted to not see that social will have an impact on banking. I cannot see a future where social is not key" - Vivienne Hsu

Breakfast Byte, Events, Financial Services, Social Media,
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