BAI Retail Delivery

Five Steps for Effective Social Media Marketing

Develop a sound strategy before jumping on the social media bandwagon.

October 16, 2011

A well-developed social media strategy can provide the framework for logistical workflow, keeping financial institutions focused and helping them achieve their objectives.

That’s the word from Nicole Fields, Fiserv’s manager of social media marketing, and Matthew Wilcox, director of eBusiness strategy for Zions Bancorporation, addressing the Bank Administration Institute’s Retail Delivery Conference in Chicago.

“Social media has allowed us to engage on a deeper level with current and prospective clients, much more so than a piece of direct mail or e-mail blast,” Wilcox said. “We’ve developed our social platforms as alternate customer service portals which, ultimately, end up deflecting costs from our call centers. And we have been able to leverage consumer insights for things like product development and testing.”

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineWilcox and Fields advised attendees on how to monitor the social media conversation, prepare the internal groundwork for a social media launch, tailor the content and frequency of interactions to different social sites, market a social media presence, and measure results.

They said financial institutions should consider five elements for effective social media marketing:

1. Develop a social media strategy. This includes assessing customers’ current social activities, determining goals and objectives, planning for how relationships with customers will change, and selecting the right social media technologies.

2. Listen to and monitor the conversation. To get started, simply listen to what consumers are saying about their brand, their competitors, and the industry. This can be done by using a listening tool, such as or Google alerts.

Listening will reveal where customers and prospects are participating online, which may guide the decision on what sites to start with and where to focus initial efforts.

3. Lay the internal groundwork. Establish and share social media guidelines via a policy book, educational video, fact sheet, or other method of internal communication.

Also, establish a brand voice, whether it’s professional, casual, upbeat, or reserved, and create a response matrix outlining how to respond in a variety of situations. Develop a content calendar outlining future content.

4. Integrate social media marketing. Promote the financial institution's social presence in other marketing materials.

Adding social icons and links to websites, e-mails, brochures, and other materials lets consumers know the financial institution is active in social media and makes it easy for them to connect.

5. Measure and report results. The desired metrics measured will depend on the goals and objectives initially identified.

However, when starting out, financial institutions can measure social media impact by looking at how far messages are traveling, the gain in website visitors, the number of engaged discussions, and the number of users who return to financial institution social media sites.

"Social media can help financial institutions achieve their marketing goals and objectives, but social media itself should not be the goal," said Fields. "These five steps will bring banks and credit unions beyond creating basic social media accounts and into the realm of engagement and conversation with customers and prospects.”

Fiserv offers its clients access to a complimentary Social Media Playbook through the Fiserv Boardroom Series.