Market like a fintech: What are the banks and fintechs that get social media right?
Hosted by Araminta Robertson, 'Market like a fintech' is the new podcast for fintech marketing professionals and enthusiasts who want to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry, and level up their marketing knowledge. Subscribe here to never miss an episode.
In this episode of “Market like a fintech”, Araminta is chatting with Dave Wallace, the founder of NMD+, and Afshan Dalal, co-founder of Whitesight. Dave's background mainly consists of user and customer experience, and design, and has spent the last 20 years helping finance companies to get online, before founding NMD+, a creative, data and technology consultancy which enables the best Active CX for financial services. NMD+ focuses more on process optimisation and hyper personalisation, rather than developing richer relationship-based products and services for people online.
Afshan has extremely rich experience in the fintech research industry, before co-founding her new fintech research firm, Whitesight, in November 2020. Whitesight offers services such as transforming textual company data into impactful presentations; analysing rich data sets to convert them into actionable intelligence and; organising curated workshops that are contemporary, detail-oriented & thought-provoking. All these services help shape their vision of building a data bank and fintech research platform for investors and startups to make actionable decisions.
In collaboration with Whitesight, NMD+ has undertaken a wide-ranging review of 55 Banks from around the world, reviewing their social media activity. Why do this? Social dominates modern communications, and whether banks like it or not, customers are seeking them out on these various platforms. Social media has to be taken seriously, so NMD+, in collaboration with Whitesight, wanted to understand how banks are responding and benchmark their activity. Their report provides a helicopter view of what they found, and some of their findings are discussed in this podcast.
In their conversation, Araminta, Dave and Afshan talk about the fintech companies that are doing the best at social media, why incumbents struggle to get engagement, and what fintechs should do when it comes to social media.
This episode is brought to you by VC Innovations.
VC Innovations is a full-stack marketing services agency dedicated to innovation industries with a special focus on Fintech. They work with businesses across 3 key areas of marketing infrastructure, demand generation campaigns and event properties including the must-attend Fintech Talents Festival. Check out www.vcinnovations.co.uk to find out more.
"I think social is quite a good yardstick for how a bank will approach things like content."
"My conclusion was pretty much that there's very little strategy going into social media. The neobanks, the fintechs, were much further ahead in terms of what they were doing ... if you imagine that the world of financial marketing is a garden, the people doing social media were stuck in the shadow of the bottom of the garden [and] weren't very connected to what was going on around."
"Looking at the overall layout of the [social media] platform and how [banks] were using it, using the imagery, different kinds of videos, or creative images, or looking at the quality of the posts themselves, whether they were making an effort to be more customer-centric ... looking at parameters like whether the posts have a certain structure to them; were they targeted at a specific audience? Were they targeted towards a specific product of theirs?"
"Looking at things like follower numbers. Because, again, what we say is, without any effort, some banks are getting massive numbers of followers."
"I think a lot of organisations are driven by fear. They're worrying that what their customers are going to do is start complaining through these channels. But their customers are going to do that anyway. [The organisations'] job is to take that and say how do you turn that into a much more positive conversation? So, if you can impact things that are very small, the ramifications are huge going forward."
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"You would think, the Neo banks are going to perform better than the incumbent banks and they're going to have strategies which are much more vibrant and bold. There were some places where that did happen. But we were most surprised to find that in countries or regions like Latin America, Africa, and surprisingly even in Australia, the incumbent banks are outperforming the Neo banks in terms of being active on social media and doing things in a much more structured manner."
"A lot of the banks in markets such as the UK, in Europe, and the US, there are old institutions who have very set ways of doing things, they have budgets, and they're appointed, their marketing is pointing in a very distinct way. Whereas I think, in some of these other regions, there are opportunities within these perhaps smaller organisations to be a bit more innovative in terms of what they're doing."
"There's no doubt that from a consumer point of view, we've seen a massive rise in social media adoption in these channels in these countries and regions (Latin America, Africa, Australia, etc), as well."
"If anyone started a bank tomorrow, I'm pretty sure that if you thought about marketing, you're not going to think, what's the biggest billboard or the biggest TV spot that we can find? You're gonna go how do we use social media to our advantage, because we know that that's where the customer is."
I think, again, Chime, ... they're very consistent in their story. They pick up on particular themes, and like in February, which is their big thing was around tax year, and filing tax reports, there was consistency in terms of [their] messaging."
What [Monzo has] is a team, a very small team, but their team is very good at picking up the monster brand, the monster spirit, and making the most of that. So you see, they take delight in quirky posts, which people really respond to positively and the quirky posts get a lot of traction beyond the Monzo audience themselves."
"What they've (leading organisations) done with social is, they've industrialised it, they focused on it, rather than I think with some organisations, it feels like the youngest person in the banks being given an iPhone and told to come up with their social media strategy."
"I really think of the socials in the same way that mobile and the web has been the channel - it's a new way of interacting with customers. I mean, if you look at a lot of the most successful retail brands, they've pushed their stores into Instagram."
"If you look at Facebook, most of what we can see is that the banks are pumping out content and information rather than thinking about how can we engage with our customers more effectively."
"I think there's almost a mismatch between what consumers are doing, what industries like retail are doing and then what finance is doing through these social media channels."
"If I was to advise someone, I would say lean into Instagram. That would be my advice. Why? Because I think where we see banks getting the best engagement overall tends to be on Instagram ... the most commonality between followers and likes, [also] tends to be on Instagram."
"And Twitter, of course, for feedback and customer support, because that is one thing we found common across all the banks was that they were using Twitter, as a lifeline for customer support, because that is where people reached out to them with their queries."
"[And] LinkedIn for the incumbent banks specifically to showcase their CSR activities as well, because that was one thing, which was quite evident across all [banks]."
"So the quality, consistency and interaction from the bank and from the customers themselves, that is I say, the three pillars, which you need to crack the social media code."
"I think what you see is a lot of the banks themselves, get quite demotivated quickly because they assume that they're going to connect, and it just doesn't happen. So actually spending a bit of time and researching isn't a bad thing."
"I think any bank with more than10 followers should be posting two or three times every week, is my view."
"I think, even if it's not something which is a very diverse set of plans which you have, if you just start with something targeted towards a particular customer segment, or start with a particular product and build your story around it, that is when people will start seeing that. They're talking about something, and it makes sense ... And other than that, it's just the consistency of the posts, being more frequent and posting, and obviously, the quality is something which will matter eventually."
"The job of social media is around communications and servicing, it's where they meet, and I think I would go back to the values that the FinTech has, and their broader purpose and say well, how do you take that broader purpose and make that come alive through what you do?."
"You can't hide from your brand promise. Once you've made the promise, you need to start delivering it."
For more tips, listen to Dave and Afshan's complete story below.