On Tuesday, Robert Lommers, Online Communication Specialist at Rabobank invited me to deliver the keynote presentation at the bank’s 1st internal social media day.
Robert and I have been connected online for a few years now and the Visible Banking Team are closely keeping track of Rabobank’s initiatives in the social media space.
Rabobank, a Champion for Engagement
Indeed, over the year the Dutch cooperative banking group established itself as one of the most transparent and engaging financial institutions online in Europe thanks to many social media initiatives like their:
* Rabobank Utrecht blog aka ‘Raboblog‘,
* youtube channel dedicated to sport sponsoring ‘Rabosport TV‘,
* twitter presence (‘sport‘ and ‘webcare‘)
* online community for small businesses and entrepreneurs ‘starterscommunity‘…
To find out more about Rabobank, I invite you to watch my interviews withRobert Lommers on social media strategy (Deecmber 2010), Maarten Korz on Digital Innovation (May 2011), and Edwin Van Raalte on international business development (Singapore, September 2008).
Their commitment does not come as a surprise though. Social media suits cooperative banks, community banks and credit unions perfectly, because it is a natural stretch for their core DNA focused on ‘networks’ of members and local communities.
Over the last 5 years, we noticed a considerable level of social media activity from the north american credit unions. In Europe a French regional bank, Credit Agricole Pyrenees Gascogne, has proved extremely active. I invite you to check their latest project, TooKam.com, a bank based on social media and virtual currency.
300+ Participants Gathered to Share & Learn about Social Media
The event put together by Robert was a huge success with an attendance of well over 300. And the participants were super active and engaged. I’ve simple never come across an internal event with so much twitter activity (tweets and pictures)! The level of enthusiasm and passion was incredible.
Contrary to most internal digital / innovation days I contributed to over the years, which are packed with far too many presentations, Rabobank’s day wasn’t too heavy for the passionate audience. The day consisted of three presentations (mine, steven van belleghem’s and Robert’s) and a discussion panel with some Rabobank Executives.
The Rabobank Team has laid out some excellent fondations in the social media space, which positioned Rabobank very well in ‘the engagement league’ in Europe. There is still a long way to go to establish the Dutch cooperative banking group as The social media leader worldwide.
‘Cooperative banking’ is both the key strength of Rabobank and its key weakness. Indeed, the more regional banks, the more social media tactics. And you notice some dramatic differences from one bank to another: level of understanding and expertise, amount of resources available, number of initiatives…
Social media penetration and maximum size of the audience is also a challenge in remote areas. It is important to understand what the total size of your audience is and who your influencers are. Here small doesn’t mean useless.
The holding has a key advising role to play and will surely be instrumental in Rabobank’s success in social media not only in Utrecht / Head Office, but also at a regional level.
But I’m sure we’d all agree that a framework is pointless if it is not applied by the regional banks. After all, social media is all about people, behaviour and attitude. This is one of the key differentiators of Rabobank: the employees not only understand the importance of engaging through social media channels, they love social media and they are eager to better engage with their clients in a honest and transparent way.
This is employee advocacy in action. In the coming months you will see more and more rockstars, more brand ambassadors, from Rabobank!
More than ever, the bank will need to focus on three elements to roll out and implement a successful social media strategy regionally and internationally: 1. training / coaching their workforce, 2. designing a robust and engaged content strategy, 3. implement a Know-Your-Followers/Fans (KYF) strategy.
I look forward to working closely with Robert and his colleagues on those three areas. A good first step would be to provide all the Rabobank participants with a copy of my 1st book ‘Customer Experience Without Borders: a Practical Guide to Social Media in Financial Services‘.
It was a pleasure to meet the highly talented and creative Wilg aka Esther Gons, Visual Thinker and Founder of Wilgengebroed. Let me tell you that Robert was inspired when he decided to hire her.
Social media is a topic dear to Esther who covered several industry leading events like Boris ‘the Next Web’ in Amsterdam and Loic and Geraldine Le Meur’s ‘Le Web’ in Paris.
Esther did a brilliant job sketching live during our presentations. She captured very well the three stories Robert, Steven and I told the audience.
Please find below my latest presentation on slideshare.
Please find below one of Robert’s latest presentations.
Please find below one of Steven’s latest presentations.
This time I decided to crowdsource the photo coverage of the event. I invite you to check some of the best pictures from the participants directly on the Visible Banking page.