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Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Instagram: Even banks can save 1000 words by posting a pic

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Social media’s disruption of communication is overwhelming financial institutions and creating confusion about which social networks they should focus on. Instagram, a mobile app based photo and video sharing platform, has skyrocketed to 300 million active users thus surpassing Twitter and making Instagram an important global media platform. But the pace of change and the mind boggling competitive dynamic in the social media industry is confusing to more conservative institutions like banks and wealth managers.

As our recent report Social Media for Banks and Wealth Managers: 2014 shows, it’s especially difficult to get banks to understand the significance of social media and the relevance of different social media platforms. 95% of the banks under evaluation have launched Facebook and Twitter presences but only 45% of them have an Instagram official photo stream.

Visual social media has become crucial in developing a good social media strategy. Unlike their more text-based siblings Facebook and Twitter, these channels give access to individual images and images are known to appeal to emotions and tell a story that is easier for consumers to connect with than informational texts. It is this emotional connection that distinguishes a brand, a service, a product, or a company from its competitors. Citi or Crédit Agricole are good examples of banking players that have well-structured Instagram presences with strong corporate images and entertaining posts.

As for those who have not yet joined the bandwagon: photo-stream us! Make us stare, meditate, laugh, frown, and get interested in your brand!

 

How Social Media can dramatically lower banks’ customer service cost

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

(by Francis Groves, Senior Analyst)

Social Media Charter, formed in August to help the UK’s financial services industry to use social media compliantly and effectively, is holding a Summit event at the House of Lords on the subject of using social media responsibly.

Interviewed on the BBC this morning, Kitty Parry, the Social Media Charter Chief Executive, highlighted the upside of social media for the banking industry, including the interesting statistic that customer service interactions provided via Twitter and Facebook costs banks (presumably UK ones) an average of 75 pence a time, compared with a cost of £4.75 for an equivalent interaction conducted over the phone. She went on to mention the empowering nature of social media for bank customers as a way of comparing customer service and products between banks.

In our recently published report on ‘Social Media for Banks and Wealth Managers: 2014′, MyPrivateBanking finds that the leading banks globally are indeed focusing heavily on customer service functions in their approach to social media. In our report we provide detailed coverage of the most effective customer service strategies that our analysts encountered and the lessons to be learned from them, as well as information on how much customer query/complaint traffic is now going to banks’ social media presences. However, we also found that very few banks are using social media effectively to showcase their products and services, even new offerings. Although fear of infringing regulations in relation to marketing and social media may be one inhibiting factor, we see a more general lack of social media vision and a pervasive defensiveness in relation to their reputations as the main drag on effective involvement with social media.

 

S-Money, A New (French) Revolution in Payments

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

(by Francis Groves, Senior Analyst)

In our most recent report on Social Media in Banking & Wealth Management, MyPrivateBanking highlighted the arrival of payment processes that use social media channels, specifically the introduction by BPCE and its S-Money subsidiary of a payment service for Twitter users. This service was launched in October and is initially focused on facilitating payments in a social context such as crowd-funding, friends clubbing together to buy a gift or charity fundraising. Go to the @SmoneyFR Twitter stream at the moment and you will find them promoting the AFM Telethon campaign to raise money for families affected by rare neuromuscular diseases (especially in children) - “@SmoneyFR #envoyer X€ @Telethon_France.”

The new service is reported to rely on standard security within the payment/credit card industry. Payments to another individual are limited to €250 and are not (yet) confidential. In the future payments by direct messaging may be available. Although some reports indicate that the service is a collaboration with Twitter, we understand that it is in fact an initiative of BPCE/S-Money on their own, using publicly available Twitter documentation.

But Twitter payments are only one part of the range of recent initiatives by S-Money. At the beginning of the year they signed up with the Visa subsidiary V.me, which will allow customers to store their card details - securely - in a single place.

Then in February, ‘Dilizi’ a new system that turns merchants’ smartphones or tablets into card payment systems, was announced. This new system is particularly attractive to traders who work away from their own premises a lot, such as plumbers. It could also be used in raising money for good causes.

One particular segment of French society that has come into S-Money’s orbit this year is the country’s student population. In July, Crous, the state-owned provider of university services (such as canteen meals) chose S-Money as its e-payment manager. So, potentially, 1.6 million young people are likely to become familiar with S-Money.

At a time when there has been talk of payment processing slipping out of the hands of traditional banks, it is interesting to see that BPCE seems to have the expertise, the financial resources and corporate courage to put the understanding that it has of its home market to work to buck that trend.

 

MyPrivateBanking Research releases first Digital Wealth Survey!

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Don’t miss our new report on the digital behaviour of 1000 survey participants from China, UK, France, Germany, and the US. This survey paints a comprehensive picture of the attitudes and the behavior of the wealthy with regard to mobile technology.
Some key findings:

Chinese affluent and wealthy clearly win the race for most technology friendly respondents…

… BUT the rest of the world is about to catch up: particularly the UK survey participants surprise with their technology affinity

The trends apply to all wealth segments – for several criteria, the high-net-worth segment even is in clear lead

All age groups under 55 are heavy users of mobile technology for financial matters

Get ready for these and many more surprising results published in our new Wealth Survey!

 

Social networks offering payment solution: What will banks do?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

News about the release of Snapcash surely came as no surprise to us at Myprivatebanking Research. The integration of social media and payment systems is successfully growing and clearly challenging traditional payment players like banks, credit card providers, and older online providers like PayPal. Whereas rumors have made rounds for the last months about Facebook’s plans for a mobile payments system using its Facebook Messenger iPhone app, another popular social messenger provider has stolen the thunder: Snapcash, the product of the recent collaboration between Snapchat and Square Cash (a mobile payments company headed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey), is the latest mobile payment option that allows users to send money to friends via the app by simply typing dollar amounts into new “Snapcash” messages. For now, Snapcash is available to Snapchatters in the United States who have a debit card and are 18 or older.

Trying to keep up the pace with consumers’ increasing demand for highly innovative and convenient products, successful offers like Snapcash or Applepay challenge the banking industry to come up with similar or better solutions. It is true that banks must deal with stricter regulatory guidelines but they should also be aware that consumers have more choices than ever and won’t wait for banks to catch up. But banks – across the globe – seem not to have a strategic response. Will they get frozen out of the online payments markets like music labels have failed to conquer the online music business and traditional book stores never were able to challenge Amazon in online book selling?

Very few banks have already invested in convenient mobile payment solutions aimed at improving the customer experience. Barclays’ Pingit app is one exception. Users can send and receive money via the app without sharing bank account details and even send gifts to friends. But Barclays is the exception and not the rule in the banking industry. Will they finally give up this market to the tech players?

 

Can Banks Participate Fully in Visual Social Media?

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

(by Francis Groves, Senior Analyst)

Visual Media seems to have grown exponentially in the last few years. Instagram and Pinterest only date back to 2010 and 2011 respectively but as far back as June 2013 Pinterest has had second place - after Facebook -  as a driver of traffic on the Internet.

The power of images is often that they tell a story and, as advertisers have known a long time, pictures undoubtedly have a power to pull people’s attention. And people can process images very rapidly. For social media this has meant that all social media presences are becoming increasingly visual. Just think how rapidly images have crossed into LinkedIn and, especially, Twitter. And Facebook is now one of the Internet’s largest stores of images. Not only have images become ubiquitous in social media, the presences that specialize in images are highly effective. Buying rates (the proportion of buyers to visitors) are significantly higher for Pinterest than Facebook, as is the willingness of Pinterest visitors to affirm they are positively engaged by brands through Pins.

So where does this leave the banking industry with its somewhat abstract products and services?  Visual social media guru, Donna Moritz, lists four especially effective uses that images can be put to in social media: handy tips, how to advice, catchy quotes and checklists and a fifth, infographics, which is also effective but not in Moritz’s top 4. So, the secret of successful images could, it seems, be summed up in a word, ‘Advice’. But of these 5 tactics, banks - and then only a few of them - really only seem to be good at infographics. In the finance industry, if you want advice, you go to a YouTube channel or the blog page on the website because we all know that financial advice is complicated; it takes time to explain it and

So it seems as if banks are not yet quite getting the point of visual social media. No, you can’t say very much at a time through a picture or a graphic but the little you do say could have immense pulling power and visual social media sites like Pinterest could be used to advertise a bank’s services and expertise more directly than is currently the case. In short, banks should use their visual social media as hooks to draw people in to what they have to offer. They seem to ‘get’ this on Facebook and Twitter but not on their visual social media presences.

Congratulations to those banks that are leading the way in visual social media. Maybe now is the time to make these presences more than just pleasant places to visit for a few minutes (Pinterest visits were averaging 16 minutes in 2013) and to make them speak more directly about your service, your expertise and your messages. The good news is that some banks have a lot of original graphical material both already on social media and in their archives and the capacity to create even more. Only 20% of Pinterest content is original (as opposed to shared) so there should be plenty of scope for an institution that can use its visual image ‘capital’ effectively.

(Stay posted for our new report on Social Media in Banking which will be published later this November)

 

Social Media in Finance – Is It Time for Your Compliance Health Check?

Friday, April 4th, 2014

By Francis Groves, Senior Analyst

How far have compliance requirements for social media in finance come and exactly which are the most likely problems and the prime concerns of the regulators?

2013 saw significant strides being made towards making social media compliant in the banking and finance industry. This trend was particularly marked in the United States with the SEC signalling last spring that social media was an acceptable medium for disseminating the kind of information that could move stock prices just so long as the company’s investors were made aware that Facebook, Twitter & co. were going to be used as channels for this purpose by that company. In June the US’s Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it would be carrying out spot checks on institutions regarding compliance in the social media arena. In a separate development, in September FINRA fined a broker for Facebook remarks about a company in which he and a few dozen of his clients held investments but which he failed to disclose in the Facebook entry. Finally, in December the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), which performs a policing role in relation to corporate practices of US banks and other financial institutions, produced its own final guidance on social media practice.

Just this week, the SEC issued guidance on the use of social media by financial advisors that makes clear that they are prohibited from using social media channels to advertise or promote themselves by means of client testimonials. Although customer testimonials may seem a fairly harmless form of self-promotion, under US law, as far as financial firms are concerned, testimonials are considered too selective and unrepresentative.

So, as far as the US is concerned the regulatory framework is fairly clear and, not surprisingly, expertise and resources to help the finance industry with social media compliance have become widely available. Social media compliance practitioners in the US include i-Social Smart, Actiance, Nexgate, GremLN, Gladiator Social Media Compliance Services, Smarsh and SocialComply from Temenos, the Swiss banking systems provider. Meanwhile, in Europe the regulatory picture is less clear with legislators and regulators still looking into the issues and considering their issues. Fewer social media compliance services seem to be available although some, such as Actiance and SocialComply, which are active in North America, also operate in Europe.

So what are the key demands that regulators have or may have in relation to social media channels in finance and what effect is this likely to have?

The following seem to be the main areas of concern in relation to social media in banking and finance:
- The risk of fraud / the danger to financial brands
- The danger of failing to take responsibility for social media content because the channel is deemed to be an   external third party
- Failure to train staff properly on handling social media as company representatives
- The danger of social media using customers privacy being breached (by themselves or staff)
- The problem of institutions responding to social media communications too slowly
- The danger of security breaches

Clearly these dangers are not negligible but neither should they create enormous problems for banking and finance staff who themselves are rapidly becoming more familiar with social media in ordinary life.

At MyPrivateBanking, we have consistently identified low cost advantages as being one of the attractions of social media. Effective use of social media gives financial institutions opportunities to both identify their own customers’ needs and preferences and to keep track of competitor activity in key areas. More generally and longer term, we see the banking and finance industry’s engagement with social media as empowering for customers and as an important factor in the achievement of better financial services than ever before. It would be a pity if regulation inhibits the growth of social media in finance and, to be fair, we believe that this is unlikely to happen. Many institutions will need outside help with achieving compliance in this field but the real danger may be that financial regulation of social media becomes unduly restrictive or, even worse, an excuse to stop necessary changes to the industry.

 

What wealth managers can learn from BrewDog

Friday, January 10th, 2014

By Francis Groves, Senior Analyst

One of the success stories of 2013 was BrewDog, Scotland’s largest independent brewery, who managed to raise £4.25 million through its crowdfunding scheme ‘Equity for Punks’, ably supported by its own dedicated Twitter stream, #equityforpunks. It’s a heart -warming story and not just because of the beer! A business dedicated to craftmanship in a small community in a picturesque and remote part of the British Isles makes good with the support of loyal supporters around the world.

However, it does highlight some problems for less colorful players in the financial world. BrewDog’s success in financial AND media terms doesn’t offer helpful lessons for wealth managers just because it’s all to do with popularity. And popularity can be ‘here today and gone tomorrow.’ Not that wealth managers have to be unpopular but, in social media terms, they should aim for stimulating and interesting. Wealth managers need to be involved with social media for the long-haul in a way that matches their business. Because, in all sorts of ways - be it investment as deferred enjoyment, contrarian investing or a wealth management approach that has been refined over decades - wealth management is a longer term business.

And to make a long-term business interesting, it needs to show its customers (through social media) that its changing, developing and growing in a way that reflects its own DNA. To put it another way, wealth managers and private banks should be using social media to allow their clients and potential clients to really get to know them. As MyPrivateBanking have often said this requires authenticity on the part of the wealth manager but clients won’t get to know wealth managers through just a Twitter stream or even their Facebook Timeline. These should be used as pointers to the wealth managers expert blog, video commentary or website corporate social responsibility items.

 

Top 10 Tech-Trends in Mobile & Digital Banking 2014

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Trying to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technological development is a challenging task. In 2013 rapid movement has affected the finance industry landscape: mobile banking has established itself as a regular touch-point for customers, mobile payments have exploded and banks are wrestling big data more than ever. We have surveyed our analyst team to note down in short the most important technology trends for the banking industry in the post-PC era for 2014:

10) One interface for all channels
As digital touch points evolve, users’ tendencies to contact financial services online will grow alongside. Using a variety of different devices is one consequence. Financial providers, therefore, will have to create a uniform experience across all channels, with the same level of real-time responsiveness and personal service.

9) Financial Education goes gaming
For reaching the generation that grew up with computer games, banks will have to come up with innovative approaches. One possibility is to put the fun in finance: offering a variety of games that playfully educate not only children, but also adults.

8 ) Slimming the wallet
In the future banking technologies will mainly focus on reducing complexity and enhancing user experience. One of these gadgets will literally show how to slim your wallet: One example is the technology from start-up “Coin” based in San Francisco: the electronic card that stores multiple cards on one Bluetooth device, can merge all your credit and debit cards with the support of an adapter and a mobile app.

7) “What’s App” inspires communication channels within apps
Chat functions modeled after the popular “What’s App” will enter banking apps. Connecting with your advisor will be easier, more personal and convenient than ever. Provided banking app developers hear the call.

6) Voice command on the rise
Some banks have already come up with features that allow, for example, voice recognition for log-ins or entering simple commands. Banking apps will take this one step further and remove the need to use buttons, dials and switches completely.

5) Windows Mobile gaining market share
Of all of the leading operating systems, Windows Mobile obtained the largest year-on-year growth worldwide. A result primarily driven by the support of Nokia. Nevertheless, Windows Mobile is likely to become the 3rd most important platform next year to distribute financial apps.

4) Demand for digital advisors
Digital advisor tools will become an important part of the digital channels of bank. These include budgeting or financial planning tools, and also complex instruments for risk assessment and investment decision making are up and coming. Besides improving user experience through interactive features and personalization options, these tools create a unique overview and understanding of the user’s personal finances. Supporting customers to strengthen their own financial know-how might replace the personal advisor in some cases, but will open up valuable insights into customer behavior and increase loyalty in the long run.

3) Wearable banking
As the first banking apps for Google Glass roll out, potential customers are already excited. Wearable gadgets that allow various services through voice command or simple touch are coming to life. Although still in their infancy, these technologies will progress and soon your watch will call out when your credit card account is maxing out.

2) Digital Currencies gain Legitimacy
Although there remain serious doubts about virtual money, currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin and co. will gain popularity and legitimacy, and not just within the virtual economy. The arena is moving from online gaming platforms to real-life goods and will gain widespread use with online retailers and potentially even with banks. Will your digital channel enable Bitcoin payments soon?

1) Big Data: generating value from app-user information
The financial technology landscape is evolving, and so is competition, complexity and the amount of data processed and generated every day. Particularly, information derived from mobile users has a high potential and will generate new insights. Banks will thereby be able to create completely new products and differentiate themselves on the market.

We wish all our clients and readers relaxing holidays and a happy, successful New Year!

 

Personalization – success factor in bank’s social media strategy

Friday, December 6th, 2013

The world was amazed when Richard Branson, CEO and founder of countless consumer ventures, started to tweet three years ago about his company, events and his personal life. Branson was one of the first CEOs who broke with the common practice that high ranking representatives of companies should stay out of social media. The legendary entrepreneur started tweeting and many were to follow.

Large banking groups and multinational wealth managers feel the challenge to give their firm a human face in age of digital ubiquity. Personal contact with clients, to build or launch relationships, is invaluable especially for wealth managers. With more people spending more time at their desktops, notebooks and mobile devices in the big 5 social networks offline personal contact becomes a scarce good. However, social media offer new opportunities to get close and personal to client. But corporate social media presences and company profiles on social media are not sufficient to foster a real personal relationship on a social network. Only individuals can offer that human touch: Why not follow my personal financial advisor via her Facebook updates? Why not talk to my wealth manager´s CEO via Twitter? Why not ask my bank’s head of the investment committee about the latest economic insights on LinkedIN?

Personalized social media refer to social media channels on either the local/regional level such as country, state or branch level and personal social media presences linked to one person such as a CEO, CIO, or a regular personal financial advisor. These presences bridge the gap between wealth manager and client.

The global wealth manager UBS allows clients to take a closer look at CEO Jürg Zeltner via his personalized blog on the website. Users get information about his career and development within the bank, can listen to his podcasts and read his regular updates.

Alan Higgins, UK CIO of the English wealth manager Coutts, is remarkably active on his Twitter channel. Besides financial market updates he also tweets about cultural events or “best movie of…” list. Moreover, Higgins pays attention to his users by responding quickly and casually to comments to his tweets. A lively Twitter account with high value for customers and a real personal touch are the results.

An outstanding example for local level presences is also German Commerzbank which serves its customers with channels on Facebook for its Hamburg and Munich branches. Customers can get information about opening times, the local team and contact options. The social media team invites users to local events to get to know the bank bridging the online-offline customer experience.

One can imagine many more ways to use social media as a tool to personalize the client experience. It’s up to the financial institutions to leverage this opportunity despite regulatory and other hurdles that might limit the specific content a bank can publish over social media channels.

Our new report on Social Media for Wealth Management 2013: The Train is Leaving


 
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