SMMF Perspective- Social Media and the Financial Services Industry
The SMMF can help us to interpret the changes occurring within the financial services industry in relation to its use of social media. For an explanation of the SMMF see my previous blog post.
Compared to many industries, the manner in which financial services, particularly banks, utilise social media is incredibly controlled and traditional however they use social media to communicate their message quite regularly. This pickup in social media use has in part been spurred by the rise of financial technology firms (Fintech for short). Examples of Fintech include Bitcoin and P2P lending platforms such as RateSetter which heavily utilise social media. This blog post will focus on the social media accounts of NAB in particular as a general representation of the industry in Australia.
As you would assume, the NAB social media pages essentially just post their TV ads and an occasional photo. This doesn’t encourage two-way communication however those who do comment are nearly always replied to by a NAB employee. Furthermore, the NAB employees end their replies by signing their name, encouraging a sense of community.
Again, NAB take a very traditional approach to their social media culture. They’re literally posting their mass-communication promotional material on platforms designed for the opposite. The NAB Facebook page also does not allow for reviews to be left or a discussion section which many Facebook pages have. This demonstrates that NAB do not wish to facilitate open forums with their customers or social media users in general.
According to the page information section of NAB’s Facebook page, there are 49 individuals who have control over the page. 45 of these people are from Australia, 2 in Singapore and 1 in the UK and US. This would indicate that a fairly large team is responsible for the implementation of NAB’s social media strategies. The content of the page doesn’t really reflect the size of team controlling it. Being a bank, I would assume that the language and style of posts is heavily scrutinised and analysed before posting and that staff are unable to post whenever they’d like to.
NAB employees use fairly professional and friendly language when interacting with customers. This matches the down-to-earth image the brand attempts to portray overall. This image is also enhanced by the staff signing off on their comments. Other than that, the governance style of NAB social media accounts echoes that of competitors within the financial services sector- professional and somewhat friendly but ultimately boring.
NAB do operate social media accounts however they likely only do it to maintain a presence on the platforms. Their content is not engaging nor useful information. While some of what they post may be constrained by regulation, surely NAB could post more updates on their product offerings, organisational news, or content more targeted to social media users. There isn’t really any point following or liking a NAB social media page unless you just want to see more of their ads.
This demonstrates the attitude the financial services sector has towards social media. They only use it because in this day and age every business is expected to have a presence on social media.