Lucky you … your competitors in the banking and financial services sectors have woefully undervalued a prime asset: the staying power and solidarity imparted by a vibrant brand community.
And at least in part, the rules of financial markets extend into financial marketing as well. This means your competitors’ improper valuation lets you stake a position early, and ride the wave to massive value while everyone else tries to catch up. But only if you manage to spot and capitalize on this opportunity.
Here’s why your brand community represents a golden opportunity just waiting to be recognized.
How Does Free Content Marketing Sound?
It’s a truism of marketing in any sector that “content is king”. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute: 86% of businesses are leveraging a content marketing strategy, with 78% of B2C companies following suit. But that’s only a piece of the action.
A new marketing trend has entered the scene: user generated content (UGC). User generated content includes blog and forum comments, reviews, videos and other content generated directly by your users and fans. The implications for your bank are huge.
According to marketing surveys, consumers trust recommendations from people like themselves up to 12 times more when compared with traditional advertising methods. Get your user base talking through forums, blogs and other UGC portals today, and start leveraging this technique for yourself.
Your Community is an Incubator for Innovation
This point is incredibly advantageous for your bank’s overall brand, yet its line of logic is quite simple. Ideas come from people… therefore you should seek to get as many people behind you as possible. Then it’s up to you to make sure that those people are connected and in league with one another.
This builds off of our earlier point about the power of forums and blogs as connection hubs. Achieve this successfully, and here are several different ways in which innovation opportunities can emerge in these digital environments.
First, suggestions and opportunities for improvement will arise organically. Humans are social creatures and if you get enough of us together, it’s an absolute certainty we’ll start talking.
What’s more, when the conversation involves money and the institutions who handle it for us, you can be sure that people will reveal their true feelings: policies of yours that irk them, areas of your customer service that need to improve, or even positive feedback on everything you’re doing right. So be sure to have someone in charge of monitoring your user-generated content and digital presence.
Another great way to generate innovation is to personally get involved in your forums and comments sections. If a forum user brings up a valid complaint or has a suggestion, address it personally and ask for further suggestions or clarification.
This is a win-win strategy that results in heightened customer satisfaction, client loyalty and a significant boost to your odds for referral business.
Online Communities Represent Exponential PR Opportunities
One of the biggest advantages of fostering a vibrant digital community around your bank is that it opens up an avenue to exponential exposure. How so? The social dynamics of the web are quite similar to the social dynamics of real life—only, they’re massively magnified.
Every person chatting on your forum or commenting on your blog represents an entire connection hub. The average adult Facebook user has over 200 friends in their network, according to the Pew Research Center. Talk about expanding your reach. Matter of fact, 57% of all American adults use Facebook; 73% of those between the ages 12 to 17.
Facebook is only one small piece of the action. Your online community members, when assessed in terms of their total network capacity (so to speak), easily represent hundreds of exposure opportunities for your bank and your brand. And digital networking will only become more firmly enmeshed in the fabric of our lives with time.
Your brand community is one of the most powerful assets you have for growing your bank’s resources and reputation. User generated content provides free content marketing for your bank, in addition to fostering ideas and innovation. In addition, a strong digital community positions you to take advantage of a mammoth amount of pre-existing networks and connections.
What’s not to love? Your bottom line, your digital marketing ROI and your “intangible capital” - like loyalty and respect - are sure to soar.