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.

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:

Integration

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.

Content

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.

Entrepreneurship

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.

Cheers!

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.

 

Marketers Finding Value in Social Media

Recent eMarketer news paints a picture into the current value of social media for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketers. Social media is a powerful tool for engagement and top of mind awareness but many find it difficult to measure ROI. Not any longer. Recent findings suggest that marketers plan on increasing their social media budgets in 2013.

In its “State of Digital Marketing 2012 Report,” Webmarketing123 found that 52% of US B2C marketers and 41% of US B2B marketers planned to increase their social marketing budgets in 2013, while an additional 46% of B2C and 56% of B2B marketers will keep them the same. (eMarketer)

The results are no surprise as B2B marketers continue to look for ways to tap into social media as a means for creating impact across their industry pipeline. For B2C marketers, social media continues to be a major focus with Facebook leading the pack.

“These investments in social sites are showing results. Two-thirds of B2C marketers (67%) said they had generated leads from Facebook, and 39% said they saw sales as a result of outreach on the site. This was compared to 39% of B2B marketers who reported leads and 19% who reported sales. For B2B marketers, not surprisingly, LinkedIn saw the most success, with 44% of marketers seeing leads and 23% seeing sales from the site.”

A solid strategy is an important step in increasing these successes and require that marketers embrace the power of social as a legitimate tool for leads, sales, and ongoing engagement. 

(Image credit.)

Time to Make Pinterest Your Bread and Butter for Referral Traffic

We’re not going to tell you to stop pinning your marketing dollars on SEO but recent data related to Pinterest make an excellent case for rethinking where you spend time building your inbound marketing funnel. A recent article in Forbes points to the reason why a site like Pinterest needs to be in your digital marketing repertoire.

Invest in real, valuable, relevant content that your audience wants. Grow your internal thought leaders to where they can add value to your audience and positioning in the market. Follow internal SEO practices to make sure it is found and sees the light of day. Take the time to make it so compelling that people talk about it and share it. – Ken Krogue, Forbes contributor.

Exactly why a site like Pinterest is able to overtake Yahoo as a leading source of online traffic. The bread and butter of Pinterest is built on quality content in the form of visual aesthetic. Tapping into the power of niche interests is a key contributing factor to Pinterest’s rise. In fact, the site drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined!

Consumers are pinning in droves on Pinterest because of the ‘interest’ to display their interests to the masses. The dynamics of social sharing and content generation are in full effect on Pinterest making it important for today’s businesses to look for strategies to capitalize on the opportunities presented by rising online destinations like Pinterest, and maybe in the future, App.net, Branch, and Medium.

Three Reasons Why You Should Hire an Agency

Bridge

An agency is only as good as the client relationship it has manufactured. Today’s brands deserve access to knowledge, industry experience, genuine know-how, and a trusted partner to help deliver messages that resonate with audiences. The right agency should act as a bridge between a client and its target market.

The benefits of hiring an integrated marketing communications agency partner are numerous. From specialized experience to unique industry exposure, the reasons for selecting an outside agency to handle your marketing and communications needs are varied but no less important.

Speed

Access to tools, connections, industry trends, and insider know-how make the process of generating creative ideas and relevant strategies a more refined and efficient undertaking for an agency specialized in brand building.

Dedicated Focus

Great insights are found at a thousand feet. A good agency has the big picture perspective and ground level attention to generate relevant results. Stay too close to the action and you miss the grand scheme of things.

Objectivity

A good agency isn’t afraid to point out flaws and can serve as an advocate for transparency and tangible results. The agency partner isn’t afraid to ruffle the feathers of stakeholders which can prove valuable in helping brands overcome the status quo.

An integrated marketing and communications partner should be focused on a process of adding value to the client/agency relationship and recognize the dynamics of synergy.

It really does take a village to build a brand.

 

How to Lose a Fan in 10 Days

Numerous articles abound focusing on specific strategies for driving engagement and increasing revenue. Oftentimes, these helpful forms of content focus on the steps necessary to accomplish a unique set of objectives. Allow us to take the alternative route and offer a collection of equally important “what not to do’s” and marcom “no no’s”:

 

Day 1

Forgetting to say hello.

Clients are special. Treat them as such as soon as they walk through the door or visit your digital storefront. It’s the little things that count.

 

Day 2

Spending too much time in the mirror.

We understand and appreciate the fact that your widgets are game changing but let’s not forget about being selfish. A quick way to lose fans, followers, and patrons of all types is to simply offer a nice little taste of neglect.

 

Day 3

Failing to offer a smile.

We have moved long past the days of creating brands. In today’s crowded marketplace, the real secret lies in an organization’s ability to move people. Smiling and being friendly can help open the doors to making an emotional connection.

 

Day 4

Unleashing the weapons of mass boredom.

Clients want to be enchanted and go home feeling like they’ve just been hand picked for the ultimate V.I.P. experience. Companies that reach this level have an outstanding opportunity to create raving fans.

 

Day 5

Offering a little T.M.I.

Information overload can bring a rollercoaster of a ride to a screaching hault. Simplicity in design and communication help to create a winning user experience.

 

Day 6

Throwing around a bunch of gang signs.

Otherwise known as jargon and techy mumbo jumbo…spreading overly used technical terms and industry lingo can seem a bit much to visitors who are pressed for time and bombarded with the same old marketing messages.

 

Day 7

Moving too fast.

Let your Twitter followers and Facebook fans come to you for additional goods and services.

 

Day 8

Moving too slow.

Interest does not equal loyalty. Keep your audience engaged.

 

Day 9

Being dishonest.

Promise big. Deliver big. That is all.

 

Day 10

Losing site of what matters.

It’s all about value. What are you offering clients that the shop next door isn’t already broadcasting?

 

A few good tips and no no’s for those looking to make a splash in marketing of any kind.

How Agencies Add Value to Client’s Business

Benchmarks and setting a strong foundation are key drivers of success. Agencies must recognize their role in serving as an advocate and adding value to the client relationship. Just how do agencies add value to client’s business?

1. Developing and producing creative ideas that are fresh and appropriate.

2. Ensuring that agency disciplines and functions are integrated and that agency teams and divisions collaborate well on behalf of the client.

3. Working in a collaborative way with the client by creating an environment of low egos and high mutual respect.

4. Developing ideas and programs that can be integrated into multiple communication channels.

5. Assigning its best people to the client’s business and making its top executives available when needed.

6. Evaluating brand drivers like awareness, consideration, and purchase intent.

7. Providing guidance and solutions in new media and technologies.

Source: Report on the Agency-Advertiser Value Survey,” American Association of Advertisers and Association of National Advertisers, August 2007.

 

We are not social media pros

These days everyone is a social media pro. Your neighbor, that gal sitting over at the local coffee shop, the guy doing killer ab crunches at the gym, and pretty much all who tout having a Twitter or Facebook account. But you’re smarter than that and you deserve better. Anybody who says they’re an expert in social media has yet to realize that there’s much more to social media than understanding how to tweet, chirp, tout, post, poke, send, click, and any other form of digital distraction.

The truth of the matter is that social media is merely a channel and an outlet for communicating with diverse audiences. There is much to be learned and most of today’s thought leaders are barely exploring the dynamics of new media.

A strategic approach to driving conversation, sparking interest, and communicating with your audience can help propel your brand into new levels of recognition and preference. A simple social media strategy won’t work because there’s lots more to this new media arena than creating some accounts and calling it a day.

So, before you go empty your wallets on that guru expo or pro conference be sure to ask for some pudding…

Why? You might ask…

Because…as they say…the proof is in the pudding!

And remember,…we’re not pros. We are Hub 81.

Serving Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and beyond!

Building Your Brand on Facebook

Facebook Studio offers today’s individuals and organizations an excellent opportunity to learn about best practices in Facebook marketing. Fostering a strong community around your brand and connecting with your customers is a fundamental component of maintaining a social media presence. If used correctly, Facebook offers brands an outstanding opportunity to drive awareness and increase engagement.