Bank on Facebook and Twitter: That’s How Much Banking has Evolved

Financial products and services cannot leverage social media the way most sectors do. Their apparent limitations with respect to compliance, security and privacy issues have compelled them to be one of the last industries to adapt to social media. However, inspite of the delay, the BFSI sector has been applauded for their quick modifications within their social strategies.

These strategies involving a high usage of technology are shaping the way social banking is creeping into mainstream banking and the future of online banking too.

Thus, the changing financial attitudes in the system does not stem from mere adoption of social media and technology. Instead, it is laying the foundation of what will come to be recognized as a cultural shift and adoption of new behavior.

Though privacy issue is still a foremost challenge for banking institutions, there are several innovative properties that have been created to overcome these. Customer presence on social platforms and the opportunity to tap into them for potential revenue generation is fast becoming a priority among leading banks. The integration of technology and social media has ascertained them to refrain from it as only broadcasting medium.

Installing a bank and offering banking facilities to users through social media has been introduced to India. As a user, it is almost unbelievable that the BFSI sector that was skeptical to adopt to social media a few years ago has now made it an integral part of mainstream banking.

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Facebook Applications

The heart of the banking system has technology inherent in it and this is now extended to various channels like Facebook and Twitter. ICICI bank recently launched Pocket apps, which enables an ICICI account holder to use this application, facilitating small transactions on Facebook itself. A simple log in with debit card details helps a Facebook user to recharge their phone, dutch with friends or book movie tickets too. There have been 10K+ downloads on the application.

This translates to the fact that the bank is tapping into a new set of audience. Youngsters have opened up an entire new channel for the bank, set up new KPIs as well as identified better ROIs from social media.

Meeting the demands of online users with such brilliant integration leaves a lot of scope for other banks to explore. ICICI has been a trendsetter for social banking and other banks have followed suit.

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The Technology Behind Pocket Apps

The application, targeted at youngsters allows them to transfer money to their friends by generating a coupon code via SMS which can be redeemed by the latter at their bank. This is based on the SWIFT code methodology. SWIFT code is unique code generated worldwide to process immediate transfers.

This might seem as a complicated process but is infact a simple process integrated for ease of use. This was made possible by the ICICI pocket app, a convenience that drove major conversations on the platform.

Booking a movie ticket, which is another feature of the pocket app is also interesting, considering that the bank has made an interface for it. ICICI gets you a movie ticket among the movie halls it has a tie up with. Recharge works the same way too.

Apart from these, you can also create fixed deposits, start a recurring deposit, send in a cheque book request and carry out the basic banking services through Facebook.

The bank claims that no private information is shared and assures users of complete security. It has also stated that Facebook banking is similar to net banking. Infact, under Facebook settings, a user can add bank details/information and transact from Facebook directly.

Internationally, banks are routing their social banking through Facebook Graph APIs. Commbank and a few others are actively indulging in social banking.

A step further to this would be if Twitter and Foursquare were integrated with banking too. Users could then tweet about offers directly and probably even redeem location-based shopping offers while on the move.

Contemporary Banking

Reward points are an age old marketing technique. However, extending this to social media, that too by a bank is commendable.

Kotak Mahindra launched Jifi a couple of weeks back, which is positioned as a digital banking solution. Jifi which is integrated with Twitter and Facebook offers Twitter updates, points for transacting online and adding friends to networks. Jifi customers can receive account updates on Twitter as a Direct Message (DM) by simply tweeting to @KotakJifi with predefined hash-tags. The bank’s dedicated Twitter handle @kotaksync will send out these messages, thereby eliminating human intervention and maintaining confidentiality.

3K+ users are already using Kotak Jifi.

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ICICI launched a financial product, iWish in the past, which was integrated with Facebook. iWish let users choose a product they were dreaming of owning and helped them save an amount to reach up to their goal. These wishes could be shared on Facebook. The bank gives flexibility to choose any amount, offers interest on it and lets you share it with your friends.

The upshots of such properties are excellent for uplifting the brand image as well as positioning them as futuristic brands who believe in contemporary processes.

Banks Cannot work in Silo

On social media, it’s a popular saying that one size does not fit all. This is especially true in the case of banks, which have to create and sustain their properties and form individual identities. We have come far from sharing mere banking tips, hash-tag contests and a laid back attitude in customer service. Most banks need to up their game on social media and to identify the 4C’s of social media marketing – content, conversations, campaigns and community.

Apart from delivering innovating properties, banks need to constantly monitor and listen to their customers. The customer service game on social media needs to perk up. Depending on the kind of customers, their queries and patterns of questions, banks should start responding real time.

ICICI bank recognizes the value of engagement and more so the value of serving their customers with modern techniques.

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Financial institutions need a seamless integration process among cross departmental levels to execute flawless social strategies.

Every significant social discussion can be fostered into a real relationship. Such relationships can drive direct revenue opportunities along with valuable word of mouth and referrals.

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