Banking on social media

MUMBAI: Given the customer centric nature of banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) business, it is evident that banks need to constantly engage with their customers. And what better platform than using the digital medium that gives them the scope to interact with their customers on a regular basis.

SBI Life Insurance uses its facebook page to connect with victims of Uttarakhand tragic event to provide speedy claim assistance

It is no surprise to see the banking sector using popular outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube to connect with their customers and attract new ones. 
Here‘s how two BFSI entities - SBI Life Insurance and HDFC Bank use social media

"The digital platform is an opportunity for us. However, to unlock its potential to the maximum, it makes sense to view the possibilities holistically, rather than confining it to merely a function or limiting the scope to a single dimension. We use the digital space for customer acquisition, brand building, service and distribution," says SBI Life Insurance vice president and head-brand corporate communication and cross sell Chandramohan Mehra. 

"SBI Life Insurance uses digital space for customer acquisition, brand building, service and distribution," says Chandramohan Mehra

SBI Life Insurance which initially followed a strategy of having differentiated content on Facebook and Twitter, now with its increasing fan base is transforming it into a holistic channel. "We are now stretching the scope of social media presence to promote and facilitate online product purchase, customer education and employee and distributor recruitment," informs Mehra.

SBI Life is the only life insurance company to have a website in nine Indian languages. "This enables customers to understand our products and services in language they are most comfortable with, before taking a well-informed decision," he adds. And the company is using its social media presence to draw in potential and existing customers to its own website to keep them informed about developments, products and offerings.

The insurance company is involved in creating video content in the area of customer education and services, specifically for online visitors. "We have developed apps and games including a virtual life insurance crossword, contests on facebook, e-life insurance dictionary and tax calculator. With increasing penetration of smart phones, we have intensified our efforts on developing apps that will be relevant to both internal and external audiences," reveals Mehra.

The use of digital media has helped companies to collect sizable amount of data about the customer‘s needs. The challenge, however, is to make sense of it. "Based on web analytics, integrated with social customer relationship management, one of the possibilities that exists is reaching out to the relevant audience, with targeted message at the right place and time," Mehra opines.

SBI Life Insurance engages its employees and potential agents through testimonial videos uploaded on YouTube

SBI Life Insurance creates content for YouTube which caters to varied audiences. "While prospective customers are served through viral ads and educational videos, for existing customers we have service related videos. We engage our employees and potential agents through testimonial videos and the general public through content pertaining to awards and recent recognitions bagged by SBI Life," informs Mehra.
SBI Life Insurance, which currently has 626,272 likes (at the time of writing) on its Facebook page, feels the fans on Facebook are irrelevant if it doesn‘t engage them.

Engagement score is one of the key metrics we closely follow and we have one of the best engagement scores in the BFSI," says Mehra. The insurance company has launched many exciting online campaigns. "In light of the Uttarakhand tragic event, we have started speedy claim assistance on our Facebook page. This is one of our initiatives through which we are trying to reach out to our existing customers," he informs.

HDFC Bank also engages its customers across social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Linkedin, Google Plus, Pinterest and Foursquare. "We use updates, offers, financial awareness tips and monthly contests and applications to interact with customers on regular basis," says a senior official from HDFC Bank. HDFC Bank currently has over 1.5 million fans on Facebook and a total of over 15,000 followers on Twitter handles.

HDFC Bank gives financial awareness tips and hosts monthly contests to interact with customers

"Given the customer centric nature of business, we have to ensure that we are present where our customers are and they are present on social media, voicing their views, opinions and engaging with others," he adds. The bank posts a variety of content on various digital platforms including financial trivia, quizzes, opinion polls, offers on credit and debit cards, bank news, information about their products and services and comments around personal finance, etc.

"Impressions are generated when viewers see and react to these posts. Updates are created specific to the kind of platform being used for communication," reveals the senior official.

"We use digital media to monitor customer feedback, address customer queries/complaints, communicate our products and services and derive insights on them from customers, educate customers, increase financial awareness and also do location based targeting of offers," he adds.

HDFC Bank, through its various social networking platforms tracks, identifies and responds to various issues highlighted by customers online. "We are one of the few banks in India which allows users to post on our Facebook page and have been recognised as the most responsive brand on Facebook in India," he informs.

The bank has tailored its digital content to help customers learn about their products (including offers and deals), knowledge on managing their finances and gain insights on the economy and finance.

The digital bug has crawled into the banking sector. With the changing financial paradigm, banks have found an easy way to stay connected to its customers.

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