Both approaches are, in my opinion, plain wrong. The best way to manage social media for now is to place it in your R&D / innovation lab. Why? Because in social you are constantly learning from people experience and there are people who are managing the conversation, not a bank. A Bank cannot enforce an epithany for a product by placing tweets and links about it. The products that banks have rarely are self-promotional to be cared about. The best way to manage a bank’s presense is to listen and point to best financial advise you have on the opinions expressed. You will form a loyal base if you just listen and adapt, not push. That is different from marketing goals, and non existent as a tactic in a customer service department. Such learning type of treatment is only possible in those teams that are bent on learning from experience. That is at least what we have learned at PSBank.
When doing a social media initiative, you have to win hearts inside bank – as most of the time you are relying on good professionals in different verticals that can help you with tihngs that are raised by customers. Problem resolution through social should be swift and driven by personell motivation, not just bleak performance indicators that are indifferent of one’s pain. Social is both ways – you have to believe in what you are doing, or it would be mechanic.
Banks need to be also wary that social media came at a time of the announced and heavily marketed goal to be customer centric, so there is a big incentive to spend big money for being just that, i.e. without clear understanding on how that would make the return. Most of the time return comes from associated acts but is never truly calculated directly. Keeping that in mind, always start small – if done right, aplification mechanisms of social platofms would still create the right atmospehere. PSBank has done that several times with carefully calculated items of news, or services, that were implemented with just half a man-day. Don’t go for an implementation of a big social media system if you haven’t learned on how to manage it with a pencil and a piece of paper.
Doing things small would allow your team to experiment and there is no better weapon of a bank’s social media program. Social is about learning, as any communication is – and being social is about educating a bank to engage in a conversation, not monologue. Keep it that way.