Banks and Social Media

Banks and Social Media
Banks that are using social media to brand themselves or to market a specific product or service have found success by integrating social tools into their existing campaigns or creating new ones that capitalize on the spirit of the community. Whether it’s by making the bank synonymous with solid financial advice or giving people the power to do some good in the world, banks have been finding that immersive marketing techniques using social media tools have brought solid results.

Higher rate of Customer Advocacy
Forrester’s 2010 Customer Advocacy rankings report, ranks nearly 50 financial services firms in the United States by the percentage customers who agree with the statement: “My financial provider does what’s best for me, not just its own bottom line.” Credit unions ranked much higher than the big banks, as they have in previous years, with 70 percent of credit union customers saying their financial institution puts their interests first. Whereas the bottom seven of this year’s rankings included Bank of America, Chase, Capital One, TD/Commerce, Fifth Third, Citibank, and in last place, HSBC. These bottom seven rated between 16 and 33 percent.
*Forester 2010 Customer Advocacy Report

Creating a community
Community building fits right in with the mission of most community banks.  The most important touch points in a customer’s life range from attending college, buying their first car, building a home, to starting a business and saving for retirement —  all of which involve a relationship with a bank.

Giving back to the community: Rally customers around a cause
For each “fan” that joints the bank’s profile page, the bank will donate $1 to a particular cause.  It also encourages consumers to invite others in their social networks in order to maximize the cause they are supporting.  The campaign would originally start from the bank with an email message to consumers , or via statement messages or stuffers. Naturally, the bank has legal considerations to ensure that the proceeds paid not only benefit the bank for a marketing perspective but also from a regulatory perspective. Success is determined by the quality of the conversations taking place, but not the number of fans or friends.

Online Forums
Create a dialogue with and among your customers. Create a group for mortgagees who want to talk to each other about the economy in the housing market and how it is affecting them.

Customer Service
For banks that are more active in engaging with their customers over social media channels about their products, real-time search can be helpful in addressing problems with customers. In other cases, a visible Twitter (Twitter) account can be a quick and easy first step in the customer service chain when people want to get specific information.

Bank of America sees many of the same questions on Twitter that they get on typical channels like via telephone or in person, according to David Knapp, who runs the bank’s Twitter account, but they are starting to see social spaces as a potential channel of choice for customers to get the information they need. However, because of the sensitive nature of banking and the openness of social media, customers need to be careful when sharing information with customer service reps on social channels. On Twitter, Knapp regularly takes conversations private using direct messages and from there to more secure communications channels to gather sensitive details.

This can also be a great way to addresss bank mergers.

Marketing & Promotion
Launching new products  —
Look at their customer’s needs and use that to build new products and services.
Promoting events
– small business workshops or other events can be posted on social media sites.  Post community events.

The current financial crisis has led many customers to distrust banks, which is one reason why many banks are now turning to social media as a way to become more transparent to customers and build trust.

Keep customers up to date on bank information. Educate your customers on new products, services and banking regulations.

Some Success Stories

1st Mariner Bank, MD
The bank was able to use social communications tools and online surveys to develop a financial life cycle for their customers and identify that many people today establish a long lasting relationship with a bank in their late teens. They also found that parents are a major influence in the decision of which bank people ultimately decide to use. At the time, they didn’t have an attractive account to market to both parents and 18-25 year olds. With more research using social tools, they identified which features and benefits were important and which combination would give them a competitive edge.

Keystone Community Bank, MI
Some community banks such as Keystone Community Banks have increased deposits 27 percent over the past five years.

Provident Bank, NY
Provident Bank  in NY has performed exceptionally well over the worst years of the financial crisis with 16 percent growth in 2008 and 4 percent growth in 2009. Compared with the negative growth in deposits from mainstream financial service providers, this sort of growth is exceptional. To be fair, there are some community banks that have suffered due to loan exposures established in 2004-2006, and a fair number of community banks that have failed, but comparatively as a group they appear to be performing robustly against mainstream financial institutions.

The Community Banker’s Guide to Social Network Marketing
. It is available for free download at,_retain_customers-19814783.html

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How to Identify your Most Profitable Target Market

Many companies can sell their solutions to multiple buyers.  Nevertheless, those that are most successful narrowly define their target market by specifying the characteristics that separate their most promising prospects from anyone else.

The most promising prospects may be those with the largest budgets, those accounts that are most likely to close quickly, and/or marquee accounts that will attract business from other accounts.

The reason narrowly defining your target market is so important is that it:

  • It enables you to concentrate your firepower for maximum impact on those that will generate the most revenue
  • Helps you sell to them in the way that they prefer to buy
  • Helps you attract other accounts just like them
  • Helps you hone your services and your marketing messages to their unique needs.

You can help pinpoint your most promising prospects by answering the following questions.

–    What is the title of decision maker (the individual who has final say on approval, often CFO)?

–       What industries will most benefit from your solutions?  Why?

–       What size companies most need your solutions?   You may choose to define size by number of employees, company revenue, and/or number of locations.  The goal is to pick a narrow specific range.

–       What unique situation do your most promising prospects have?

–       What is the current solution your target market is using?

Answering these questions will help you fine tune your marketing campaigns to address your prospects’ unique concerns and buying preferences.

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Marketing and QR Codes

QR codes

The QR (quick response) bar code was originally created by the Japanese company  Denso-Wave to keep track of inventory in the manufacturing of Toyotas. However, because QR codes allow for more data than the standard 10-digit bar code, and because scanning requires less effort than typing a URL, they have become popular in pushing out information.

Anyone with a smart phone can scan and read QR codes with the click of a camera, and anyone with access to a computer can generate a QR code. By scanning the codes, you can access images, websites and text. By creating the codes, you can produce your own messages. You can even change the color to your corporate identity.

Generating Your QR Code
If you have a smart phone, go to the app store and search for a QR code reader. There are several free apps. Open the app and then hold your phone’s camera over a QR code to read it. Most codes will take you to a URL. There are a few code generating sites where you can generate a free code such as:

Some Ways To Use a QR Code to Generate Business

• direct customers or prospects to a landing page on your site

• use the QR code to generate a free “offer” or coupon

• place it on your business card so someone can easily download all of your contact info into their cell phone

• direct customers to a you tube video

• link to a powerpoint presentation

• generate a QR code next to every product on your web site which could contain all the product details, the number to call and the URL

• or you don’t have to get fancy at all and use it as on a sandwich board on Newbury St. in Boston. (see image below)

QR Codes

Search Engines and QR Codes
If you add a QR code to your website, the search engines will see that your pages have changed, and that you are updating pages. The search engine will see a new image and index it accordingly. Eventually, the search engines will be able to recognize QR codes and index the content in them.

One thing is certain:  QR codes will certainly open the door for conversation and maybe even a potential sale.

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Don’t get Lost. Get Found on the Internet.

Here are some tips that will help your site get better visibility:

• Use approximately 500 words per page. Search engines like a lot of content. However, you don’t have to burden the reader with a lot of content. You can create sidebars for some of the text and also bullet some of the text. A blog can also add to content.

• Use words on the home page content that people will use to search for your products and services. This is known as keyword density which is the ratio of the word that is being searched for (the keyword) against the total number of words appearing on your web page. If your keyword occurs only once in a page of one thousand words, it has a lower keyword density than a keyword that occurs four times in a page of similar length.  Try to create sentences that use those keywords.

• Create text links in the content that will drive traffic to another page.

• Create links to other web sites and have sites link back to you.

Posted by Angela Rutzick, Co-founder and Director of C-Level Clone

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Outliers — The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body. A statistical observation that markedly differs in value from the others of the sample.

“The lives of outliers-those people whose achievements fall outside normal experience- follow a peculiar and unexpected logic; and in making that logic plain Gladwell presents a fascinating and
provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential.”

Outliers takes you on a trip that transforms the way you view success, and en route boggles your mind.

Recommended by Stanley Shein, co-founder & director, C-Level Clone

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Private Capital Funding

On occasion, privately owned companies of all ages, start-ups to established, need to raise capital.  Normally in such situations the company will prepare a PPM (Private Placement Memorandum).

A private placement, also known as an initial private offering is the issuance and sale of stock of a company to an institutional investor, accredited and/or non-accredited investor to procure financing and raise capital. The Offering Memorandum should outline the terms of the investment securities being offered non-publicly. The structure of the private placement somewhat resembles a business plan in both layout and detail, allowing a company the ability to raise capital through the sale of equity or debt securities compliant with the SEC’s Regulation D.

For virtually all entrepreneurs, the most efficient mechanism to procure equity financing under an exemption is through the use of Regulation D (Reg D), which is a limited offer and sale of their company’s stock, or securities, without registration under the Federal Securities Act of 1933.

PPM’s normally have the following categories:

• Company profile and history

• Funding desired and intended use

• Management

• Product/Service marketplace

•Uniqueness of Product or Service

• Competition

• Investor buy-out provisions

• Financial information, historical and projected

Prior to the Internet, the preparation of a PPM was a burdensome process.   Now, there are numerous generic PPM documents available through the Net at a cost of a couple hundred dollars or less.  Most are offered by law firms specializing in such documents.

It is suggested you confer with your law firm on the appropriate on-line PPM for your specific needs.

posted by Michael Lombardy, co-founder & director of C-Level Clone

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Introduction of a new revenue stream from a complementary business model

As a CEO, have you considered growing your business by developing a vertical market niche that complements your other business verticals?

Speak with your lawyers, public accountants, bankers and other trusted members of your business and social network and ask for their opinions of the new vertical.  Although they may not understand the mechanics of the new vertical, more often than not they will contribute comments and opinions that you may not have considered.

Trust your instincts and those in your inner circle, more often than not you will be advised to go “outside” your company to find a team to develop and implement a new business vertical.  Use your network to provide suggestions on organizations to provide those services.

posted by Michael F. Lombardy, Co-Founder & Director, C-Level Clone

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Grow your Business via Acquisition or Merger

Senior executives are constantly reviewing ways to grow the revenue line.  An often overlooked option is to acquire or merge with a company whose product or service complements your business and immediately provides a considerable bump to revenue.

The prospecting for acquisition and/or merger candidates requires discipline, a broad network of business affiliations and the knowledge to access the candidate’s viability for such a transaction.

Meet with and discuss prospecting for acquisition and/or merger candidates with non-competing members of your business and social network.  Attend seminars on the subject and network though the crowd (many the seed for a deal has germinated via a seminar).  Arrange meetings with business corporate lawyers and ask if they or any of their fellow partners have clients that may benefit from a meeting.

Once an M&A candidate has been identified make an honest evaluation as to if you have the internal resources to manage to process.  Often a CEO will outsource parts of or the entire M&A process, depending on in-house resources.

Posted by Michael F. Lombardy, Co-Founder & Director, C-Level Clone

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Social Networking and Your Business

Today marketing is more about building a 2-way relationship with your clients or customers.  Its main thrust should be to get your customers involved in all aspects of marketing while listening to them and asking them to join the online conversation about your products and services.

Social networking is one way to achieve this by linking together individuals or organizations tied together by values, visions, ideas, financial exchanges, friendship, dislike, conflict or trade. Each day companies are learning new ways to use social networking to collaborate with customers on product development, service enhancement and promotion.

By promoting customer interaction, companies are able to get a better understanding of price points and insight for future products. Other benefits include: the ability to glean customer testimonials and other feedback, as well as expand visibility and obtain free publicity.

When implementing new processes in any business, there are questions you need to answer:
• Where does it fit within the goals and objectives contained in your marketing and business plan?
• How does it support and reinforce these efforts?
• How and when will you achieve these objectives?
• How will you recognize success?

Remember to focus on the “big picture” and don’t feel you need to reinvent the wheel. Above all, be patient and if at first you don’t succeed, don’t be afraid to change your strategy. There are many success stories out there that you can emulate to help you create a success story of your own.

posted by Angela Rutzick, Co-founder & Director of C-Level Clone

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Start Up Solutions

It’s all about execution

C-Level Clone (CLC) is built around a new business concept bringing together a small group of experienced entrepreneurs, business professionals, technology gurus and financial experts that are prepared to build businesses through the expansion of knowledge and business experience. While similar companies are simply about strategizing, CLC both strategizes and executes.

Expert solutions at every strategic move
Some of our accomplishments include:

Reduced inventory investment by $1,000,000, shipping labor by 25%;
Eliminated $1 million bank loan;
Doubled marketing ROI;
Dramatically improved retail chain liquidity;
Increased sales of existing product line in one year by 18%.

A Collaborative Approach Focused on Your Business
The CLC team applies big business knowledge and experience to your business’ unique needs. Our focus is on small to medium-sized businesses. Providing practical, proven advice we become your business partner as a member of your executive management team, for a term of service defined by an agreement between the parties.

Our assembled team of executives shares knowledge in a collaborative manner. We will provide you with the option to work one-on-one with a proven CEO, CFO, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Sales Officer, Chief Business Development Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Advertising Director or Promotions Director.

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