Are Banks Putting the Social in Media?

Does social media have a place in banking and the financial services industry? We think so despite all the risks that may be involved. Are we moving one step closer to helping these organizations make a successful transition into the conversation arena? The FFIEC recently released some proposed guidance on the role and practice of social media.

Financial Regulators Propose Guidance on Social Media

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) today released proposed guidance on the applicability of consumer protection and compliance laws, regulations, and policies to activities conducted via social media by banks, savings associations, and credit unions, as well as nonbank entities supervised by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state regulators.

The FFIEC is responding to requests for guidance in this area from various industry and consumer interests. The guidance is intended to help financial institutions understand potential consumer compliance, legal, reputation, and operational risks associated with the use of social media, along with expectations for managing those risks. Although the guidance does not impose additional obligations on financial institutions, the FFIEC expects financial institutions to take steps to manage potential risks associated with social media, as they would with any new process or product channel.

Significant Risk

The use of social media by a financial institution to attract and interact with customers can impact a financial institution’s risk profile. The increased risks can include the risk of harm to consumers, compliance and legal risk, operational risk, and reputation risk. Increased risk can arise from a variety of directions, including poor due diligence, oversight, or control on the part of the financial institution. The proposed guidance is meant to help financial institutions identify potential risk areas to appropriately address, as well as to ensure institutions are aware of their responsibilities to oversee and control these risks within their overall risk management program.

Grab the proposed guidance here.

Hub 81 is a digital marketing agency based in Santa Maria, California helping clients activate awesome brand experiences. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your marketing and communications needs.

Content is the No. 1 Marketing Priority for 2013

Content is paramount for marketers looking to make a splash in the eyes of consumers. Relevance and on-time engagement are an important element of a cohesive content marketing experience. Successful inbound marketing is fueled by quality content. Recent data highlights a growing focus on the importance of content marketing.

A “Quarterly Intelligence Briefing: Digital Trends for 2013,” report from Econsultancy and Adobe provides key information related to what’s becoming an increasingly important avenue for brands looking to channel their resources into relevant experiences.

“The report, which surveyed client-side marketers worldwide, found that content marketing had climbed to the top of the list of importance in terms of emerging digital trends, named as a top priority for 2013 by 39% of respondents. That compared with 29% in 2012. The other area to see a significant year-over-year jump was conversion rate optimization, which was named as a priority by 39% of respondents, compared with 34% the previous year.”

Content a priority.

Creating useful content is part of a much larger digital strategy that companies can utilize to capture awareness and increase customer consideration.

Twitter Announces Update to Embedded Tweets

Today, Twitter announced a revamped embedded tweets experience allowing you to add a bit of social pizazz to your website or blog.

“Tweets bring you closer to what’s happening around the world, from breaking news to global conversations. With embedded Tweets, you can see and interact with Tweets across the web.”

More content and context. Embedded Tweets display photos, videos, article summaries and other content shared in a Tweet, just like you see on You can also view retweet and favorite counts to better understand engagement. Twitter made some tweaks to the design so that embedded Tweets are easier to read.

Faster loading. You’ll see Embedded Tweets show up faster on the sites you visit.

Embed with ease. It’s now even easier to embed a Tweet on your own website. Just click the “More” button in any Tweet on, and then select “Embed this Tweet” to enrich your blog posts or pages.

It’s easy to embed a tweet. Here’s a recent tweet straight from Santa Maria, California (eh…!

Establishing your digital footprint and embarking on a journey of content marketing is made easier as Twitter and its social media counterparts evolve.

Facebook Shaking Things Up

The social network powerhouse recently announced a new feature called Graph Search. This new tool allows users of the site to search for friends with common interests and tap into their social graph. Is this a direct response to Google’s ongoing search dominance? Of course, but it’s a prime example of Facebook’s evolution. According to Jason Falls of the Social Media Explorer:

Facebook is now going to give you a way to see prioritized recommendations based on what your actual friends have said, done or recommended on Facebook. The data set is more limited, more meaningful and more relevant.

Access to socially fueled recommendations is another example of the importance of establishing a strong digital footprint. The ramifications for marketers are real. Those who have led the charge in building a strong social media community will thrive as the result of Graph Search. Talk about huge validation for establishing a presence on Facebook and the social media arena in general. Facebook also announced free phone calls through their messenger iphone app.

On another note, MySpace just made a comeback.

5 Key Trends Impacting Your Business in 2013

As we move toward closing the curtain on 2012, a few ideas and important trends remain top of mind and play a critical role in making sure your brand is fully primed for success in 2013. How many predictive posts and articles have you read lately? They’re sprouting up all over the place. So, without further ado, here’s our list of 5 trends to be on top of in 2013:


Targeting customers is becoming increasingly difficult thanks to a growing number of technologies and communication channels. If you’re not working on an integrated approach that unifies your brand communications across all of these touchpoints you’re on a direct path to irrelevance. Customers demand meaningful experiences at every point of interaction with your brand.


Everyone from newspapers to brick and mortar shops are now being described as media companies. Gone are the days where marketing is just about offering information and making a pitch. Enter the all important area of content development. Marketers are now required to create unique content that is inspiring, entertaining, and informative.

Responsive Design

Device agnostic experiences is a fancy term for making sure that your website looks beautiful across multiple platforms such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones. How, when, where, and when users interact with your content is super important to making sure your brand stays relevant in today’s changing new media and technology environment.


New players arise everyday and are changing the makeup of almost every industry. Think open education models and crowdfunding. These two areas alone are responsible for billions of dollars in new industry. Crowdfunding (a term that’s not even in the dictionary yet) is now a $2.8 billion dollar industry and is on pace to hit $6B plus in 2013. Open education startups such as Coursera, Udacity, and edX are new players that are sure to continue to make headlines. Smart marketers are aware of these trends and are seeking ways to create their own innovations that answer the call of progress, purpose, and social impact.

The Hispanic Market

Latinos are the fastest-growing and youngest demographic in the United States. They are trendsetters, increasingly mobile, and early to adopt new technologies. If your brand isn’t looking for ways to engage this audience you’re missing out on a $1.2 trillion dollar opportunity for impact and business growth.

At Hub 81, we are excited about what the future holds and are looking forward to continuing our work in activating awesome brand experiences.


Is Your Brand Ready for the Future Wave of Social Merchandising?

The rise of Interesante, Pinterest, Fancy, Fab, and Instagram have given way to a whole new arena of social media where visual elements contribute to a more enriching social experience. It is widely noted that visual posts do much better than plain text due in large part to our interest and desire as consumers to engage with media. However, there’s another wave of possibility and impact that is the direct result of these visually oriented social sites. Commerce.

Social media is moving from conversation and engagement to transaction fueled by the power of peer influence. Brands must strive to be relevant at the moment-of-truth or that all encompassing instance where a consumer is in full purchase intent mode. One way to do this is to take advantage of social and peer influence to drive commerce across the innovative and engaging array of social media sites that are increasingly made available thanks in large part to the explosion of mobile adoption.

“Social marketers are excited about this next wave because of its ability to drive product discovery results toward a meaningful impact on sales, making it much easier to calculate social ROI. They also are excited because social merchandising is poised to deliver much more measurable value to retailers and brands than its forefathers.” (Source)

Tapping into the social graph of consumers is a powerful play on engagement allowing for unique branding opportunities and meaningful interactions.

Is your brand ready for this new wave of social merchandising?

(Image credit.)

What Executives Should Know About Social Media

New research conducted by Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance, the Center for Leadership Development and Research at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and The Conference Board details the results of a survey of more than 180 senior executives and corporate directors of North American public and private companies. The findings reveal a disconnect between companies’ understanding of social media and the actions they are taking to apply it to their business. The report demonstrates significant room for growth in the area of practicing social media.

“Companies appreciate the potential that social media can have to transform all aspects of their business: branding, reputation, communication, outreach, and identifying strategic risks,” says Professor David F. Larcker of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and lead author of the study. “They also realize the serious threats that it can pose. They’re just not doing very much about it.”

The study provides several important steps that executives can follow to implement a winning social media strategy:

  • Assess their current capabilities with social media
  • Determine how social media fits with their strategy and business model
  • Map their companies’ key performance indicators and risk factors to information available through social media
  • Implement a “listening” system to capture social media data and transform it into metrics
  • Develop formal policies and guidelines for employees, executives, and directors
  • Consider the legal and behavioral ramifications that could be involved if the company’s board receives summary data about social media

An appreciation for social media is one thing; putting best practices in place and making full use of social is another.


Collective Intent Fueled by Multicultural Insights

The 14th largest economy in the world lies in our own backyard. Commanding over 1$ trillion in spending power, the Latino population segment is a real force oftentimes dictating the success or failure of many growth initiatives across a wide array of industry. However, there still exists a collection of brands that fail to take notice of this burgeoning group of innovators, social enthusiasts, early tech adopters, and multicultural stakeholders who have a unique propensity to lead the charge in terms of brand advocacy.

How do you move consumers to a point of advocacy? You do it through a course of engagement and brand ideals based on fueling collective intent. But to take this one step further requires that brands embrace the elements of truth when it comes to real world opportunity, namely, the Hispanic market. For this very reason, Vista Hispano has been providing insights into the trends and changing dynamics of the U.S. Hispanic market since 2007.

Thank you to all our supporters who have helped make this digital destination a legitimate resource for insights into the fastest growing population segment in America.

Un gran saludo!

José Huitron, Principal at Hub 81 and Founder of Vista Hispano.

Have You Met the New Google+ Local?

Google has done away with Google Places in favor of Google+ Local. The thinking behind this change is fueled by a desire to move closer to a true socially fueled ecosystem where Google+ plays a prominent role. We can talk about the huge SEO ramifications of this move but want to offer you a handy guide in the form a blog post with the 411 on the relatively new Google+ Local.

Google+ Local helps users discover and share places. The integration of Zagat‘s expressive 30-point scoring system gives individuals detailed insight into businesses before an actual visit, and Zagat summaries of user reviews help users decide where they want to go.

With Google+ Local, users can:

  • Get place recommendations based on their circles, past reviews, and location
  • Publish reviews and photos of their favorite places
  • Read Zagat summaries of user reviews for a place
  • View the local Google+ page for a business to see reviews, photos, and other useful information
  • Find reviews from people they know and trust highlighted in search results

The move now requires that local businesses make a special effort to optimize their Google presence and it starts with brands embracing Google+ for business and the power the social tool has for building relationships with customers.