RBS and NatWest are tapping social media in commercial banking with the launch of their ‘online community’ for small businesses and their suppliers, BizCrowd.
Almost two months after RBS and NatWest’s initial announcement on ‘NatWest Business Sense‘, the bank’s glorified blog for UK businesses, the two banks officially launched their free online business supplier community, BizCrowd, a glorified online marketplace with forums, which is designed to encourage collaboration between British SMEs.
BizCrowd (@bizcrowd) is a free tool that allows business owners to publish their needs, be it products or services, and is then matched with another business that provides the requested products or services. It is a free tool where all businesses can take advantage of.
To use BizCrowd, businesses need to sign up for an account and then view the noticeboards to request products or to keep track of pending requests.
The noticeboards are divided into different categories and businesses select which category their needs fit.
- Agriculture, Fisheries & Livestock Noticeboard (2 boards / twitter)
- Arts, Culture and Leisure (3 boards / twitter)
- Automotive, Transport and Storage (4 boards / twitter)
- Business and Professional (11 boards / twitter)
- Construction, Energy and Utilities (4 boards / twitter)
- Entertainment, Catering, Venues and Events (3 boards / twitter)
- Health, Care and Charities (4 boards / twitter)
- IT and Telecommunications (2 boards / twitter)
- Manufacturing (11 boards / twitter)
- Media and Creative Service (7 boards / twitter)
- Retail, Wholesale and Distribution (13 boards / twitter)
- Travel, Tourism, and Accommodation (2 boards / twitter)
A short and easy to fill out form will then be presented where users can fill in information such as what they need, a short description, business name, location, email and how long will the request will be posted on the noticeboards.
The noticeboards also have several other tabs where users can look at:
- The ‘Question’ tab, where users can pose questions and wait for an answer from other businesses and users.
- The ‘Industry News’ tab contains the latest news and articles for the particular industry the noticeboard is related to.
- The ‘Business’ tab shows the profile of a business that has joined the noticeboard.
BizCrowd has been built to help businesses connect, learn and eventually get tangible results from doing business using the site as a tool.
To reach a wider audience and expose themselves to more people, BizCrowd is using social media to their advantage. They have properties in almost all major social networks and aims to capture the imagination and help different businesses grow.
- BizCrowd has 66 Noticeboards across 12 major industry categories.
- BizCrowd’s Social Media Presence: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+
Chris Sullivan, CEO of corporate banking at RBS and NatWest: “It has always been the role of the bank manager to connect British businesses to one another, now we’re extending that support online. We hope BizCrowd helps as many SMEs as possible raise their profile and win new business.”
Rebecca Quigly, Business Communities Manager at NatWest and RBS: “The launch of Bizcrowd cements NatWest and RBS’ commitment to small and medium sized businesses across the UK, helping them to achieve their ambitions by making new connections.”
Covered by my Visible Banking Team
How much do you think a tool like BizCrowd can affect how UK companies do business? Can it significantly improve communication and collaboration among small businesses and generate a decent stream of incremental revenue?