Financial Institutions Must Be Aware Of Social Media’s Culture And Its Risk

Financial Institutions Must Be Aware Of Social Media’s Culture And Its Risk

Sberbank Twitter Account

Daniel Gusev – Former Head of Innovation at PSBank – talks us through the importance for banks and financial services firms to be aware of social media’s culture and its risk.

Sberbank Twitter AccountOn 4th February 2012, we turned 5 on that date, I announced the launch of the ‘Visible Banking Stars‘ programme as well as the total redesign of VisibleBanking.com.

If you are interested in joining our exclusive group of guest bloggers -all bankers, insurers and financial services professionals working in digital / social media / innovation– I invite you to email us.

I am delighted to publish Daniel’s seventh exclusive article, on the risk of social media with a key focus here on twitter.

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Social media is what Y generation was born with, the ability to communicate imbued into the DNA – as it was recently shared by several polls, UK young generation now spends more time in front of their computer devices that they did in front of their “tellies”. And as they, and people in other countries, do communicate more online that in “offline” – they start to approve and follow of the “rabid” behavior – flashmobs, oversharing – or impersonating – and they don’t feel these actions to be out of the ordinary. Where stalking and mobbing is (still) regarded as indecent, joking while impersonating others is considered smart and funny.

So it happened with Sberbank and Russian Post (two Russian leading financial service providers) that there accounts were copied to start answering companies’ customers – with jokes.

Sberbank got itself nagged with a account that copied the naming (while changing several letters) as well as the logo (also slightly changed) – https://twitter.com/sbebrank – where users were duped into believing they were communicating with the bank. For example, one customer, wondering why several ATMs in his vicinity were all in “maintenance mode”, got answer to keep searching, as this is a new “geocaching quest” the bank is testing.

Russian Post also posts random tweets, pointing to Posts corporate decisions – that from customer’s point of view may sound illogical.

In two days Sberbank has submitted a complaint to Twitter, that parody account is confusing its customers and had the account suspended, while Post account is still operational.

The story about the accounts looks similar to one involving a (still operational) parody account of former President’s Medvedev – that also registered by twisting several characters in the name and commented on “official Twitter” posts by twisting the sense, imbuing them with irony. It is believed that Russians love Internet as they can vent off the critical thinking – and be off with it – so any corporation, be it political or business, should take heed and match the “digital innovativeness” with the reality of the real world.

My friend Daniel Gusev is now one of the Co-Founders at FinFit.

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So, what did you think of this PR ‘situation’?  How good is your financial institution at engaging your banking or insurance customers on twitter?  Is your team fully aware of the etiquette and the risk of social media?  Join the conversation here, via twitter or on our Facebook page.

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