5 Ways Banks Use to Build their Social Media Team

Event management and HR / Recruitment are two of my favourite topics. Indeed, in the last five years business networks like linkedinxing orviadeo revolutionized the recruitment industry. It gave every professional the ability to better market themselve, increase their visibility, and create a trusted personal brand online. And thanks to social media (twitter,facebookyoutubeblogs), anyone can do it without being internet savvy.

In the last couple of years, more and more HR departments in banking, financial services, insurance, have started to engage on those channels hoping to improve brand perception, identify the best candidates, retain their best leaders, and stay in touch with their ex-employees. Every financial institution also aim to recruit better candidates, more quickly, and reduce their hiring costs.

Linkedin 1 – Internal Directory 0
Don’t get me started on a few other important topics in HR within your organization such as the broken internal directory, the lack of background information on your colleagues, and the inability for most companies to fully leverage the skills and previous work experience of their employees.

LinkedinProfileFor instance, I’ve been actively using linkedinsince 2004. I think it is the best business network out there, and a fantastic tool to identify and get in touch with the right person in virtual every single company all over the world.

I find it disturbing that I could always find ten times more information, and better and more actionable insights, on linkedin than on the consistently poor internal directories at my employers. Would you agree?

It is Critical to Build your Social Media Expertise Internally
I am a big advocate for building your social media expertise internally, and outsourcing content creation and community management as less as possible. Indeed, as a company it is critical to make sure your workforce understands where and how to engage with your clients, and meet the higher and higher level of expectations from your market(s). The sooner you start leveraging social media, the more significantly you increase your ability to adapt as a business.

So it is important to source social media internally, but what are the skills required? Which employees could be potential candidates? Shall you recruit externally? And how big should the team be?

Scope of Responsibilities
This post is not meant to respond to all the questions about resources, team structure and social media. But let me clarify a few things.

Based on my experience, even the largest financial institutions don’t necesseraly need a big team. They need to: * understand where the opportunity is,
* find out about the best and worst practices in the industry,
* start listening to online conversations asap,
* define a content strategy (including distribution of existing content) and a response / outreach strategy,
* focus on identifying their key influencers and know who their followers / fans are (KYF).

Size of the Team: Ownership vs Content
With social media, it is important to distinguish ownership vs content. Indeed you can give the trendy title of ‘Head of Social Media’ to one of your employees whose responsibilities will include monitoring your online reputation, evangelizing social media internally and training your employees, defining the company guidelines, producing your editorial line, but it is critical to identify a network of contributors all across your organization.

Once your processes are in place and your contributors identified and trained, your (small) dedicated team can focus on guidance, strategy and planning.

5 Ways to Recruit your Social Media Team
Please find below five ways financial institutions use to build their social media team.

5. Internally – Identify your Savviest Employees & Potential Contributors
Identify your most social media savvy employees. Invite them to declare themselves on your intranet for instance, or identify the most connected on linkedin or the most active ones on twitter. Assess the ability and the willingness of your employees to contribute and produce some content periodically. You could start with checking who are your most active contributors on your intranet.

WellsFargo-RockstarsWells Fargo, the most experienced bank in blogging, is a great example of how to give a voice to your employees and ‘turn them into rockstars’.

And even though the bank has a dedicated social media team, led by Ed Terpening who reports to Tim Collins, SVP Experiential Marketing, the genius of Wells Fargo is to urge its employees to contribute wherever they sit in the organization.

And like Societe Generale did with Frank La Pinta, who established the bank as one of the most engaging French employers thanks to social media, give your Senior Managers the opportunity to implement their vision (as long as they articulate it well). After all, we musn’t forget that social media is all about ‘live and learn’!

4. Externally – Promote your Open Positions on your Career Site & Traditional Job Boards
You could use the ‘good old-fashioned way’: produce a comprehensive, very corporate, job description and post it on your career site and on all the usual job boards online. After all not every single HR group aims to be innovative, they don’t all understand the potential of social media, and also we are in the Finance industry, right? 😉
Having said that, if you are recruiting a lot of people, it could still be an efficient way to fill your positions.

Citi-RecrutementSocialMedia-21July2010Banks like Citi, which is rapidly becoming one of the most engaging financial institutions in the US, and NAB, which is just starting with social media, have posted a few job openings on their career sites for respectivelyan Associate General Counsel Social Media Attorney and a Social Media Coordinator. Last year, Citi used online job boards to advertise a significant number of openings.

3. Headhunt an Expert
Citi-RecruitmentYou can ask a head hunter firm to find the greatest social media mind(s) to lead your social media strategy, not necesseraly from the banking industry. For instance, Citi hired Jaime Punishill and Frank Eliason, the man behind ‘ComcastCares’, and BBVA hired Jose Antonio Gallego from eBay.

2. Leverage your Own Social Media Assets
You want to recruit social media savvy people, right? Make the job posting avaiable only on your social media assets, and only invite social networkers to apply.

CIMB-Facebook-SMRecruitment-11November2010CIMB Malaysia, one of the most followed pages on our Visible Banking Facebook Watch(over 620 pages, groups, applications in 55+ countries) is looking to hire someone who will ‘spend all day on Facebook and get paid for it’.

It makes sense to create a dedicated tab on their highly popular page.

Financial institutions can also use their twitter accounts to push the job posting to their followers. As part of our Visible Banking Twitter Watch series, we are currently tracking over 30 twitter accounts dedicated to recruitment and HR in 8 countries.

If this facebook example is spot on, I would still challenge the value ofpromoting your job postings on twitter in an automated way without reaching out to your candidates and engaging in conversations.

1. Be Innovative, Organize a Contest!
The most successful way to find your best candidates and demonstrate your commitment to social media is ro organize a recurrent competition. It requires a bit more time, resources and planning, but the results can be outstanding.

StandardChartered-WCISince 2007, Severus Credit Union has organized an annual contest to recruit their official ‘Young & Free Alberta‘ spokeperson. Last week, the Breeze team at Stanchard chartered announced the winner of ‘the World’s Coolest Intern‘ contest. The campaign has been so successful (1,190 applications from 65 countries in 8 weeks) that the bank is already thinking of organizing more editions in the future.

So, how did you recruit your team? Would you consider exploring one of the most advanced options such as organizing a contest?

Leave a comment and join the conversation!

I am keen to talk to you about twitterfacebook, customer reviews, social media & social commerce in banking, financial services, and insurance.

Don’t hesitate to call me (0044 7736 446 357), send me an email (, or DM me (@Visible_Banking).

What do you think?

Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London for almost a decade, Christophe is an entertaining fintech marketing keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of digital marketing, innovation and B2B social media.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is advising a number of fintech startups on marketing and growth hacking and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Fintech Power 50, an exclusive annual programme helping fintech scale-ups to accelerate their growth globally.

Christophe's views on are his own.

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