Blogging & Banking

blog 3Blogging … sigh! Some may think it is just one of those things where you can sit down with your computer and just start typing your thoughts.  In a way, that is partially true, but there is so much more that goes in to a blog than just some quick thoughts and fast fingers.   

Anyone can write a blog.  That’s the easy part.  The hard part is getting people to read the blog, but there are ways to draw in more readers.  So let’s talk about some of the best practices of blogging. 

First things first.  The title, of course!  We need to make sure the title of our blog has some important words in it.  These important words are the words that best describe what the reader is about to read.  This is important so people can find your blog by searching for those important words. 

Now that we have perfectly described what the blog is about in our title, the next thing we have to think about it the opening paragraph (since that is the next thing the reader is going to read, unless they for some reason read from the bottom up).  Barry Feldman gives us 7 Ways to Write Better Opening Paragraphs for Your Blog Posts.

  1. Put your reader in the storyblog 2
  2. Ask a question
  3. Present interesting facts or stats
  4. Quote someone famous
  5. Offer an anecdote
  6. Bond on a problem
  7. Introduce a threat

Using any one (or two) of these seven different techniques in your opening paragraph is a sure way to draw in an audience.  Since we are writing the blog, and putting in all the effort, we want to keep our readers interested in what we have to say, right?

The rest is pretty much history.  Of course, we have to make sure we are including useful content and content that is true and correct.  We do not want to be misleading in any way to our audience. (This is a sure way to reduce the amount of readers instead of increasing the amount of readers.)  Let’s just make sure the content we write about in our blog has sources and the sources are clear and evidenced in the blog itself.  If you are still feelings a bit intimidated by the blog itself, here are 10 Tips that Will Make You a Better Blogger. Check them out!

Now that we learned some tips and tricks to writing a good blog, let’s talk about some of the best blogs in the banking industry.  The banking industry may be a bit behind the times when it comes to the idea of social media, but blogging is a whole different aspect of banking.  Here is a list of The 25 Best Financial Blogs .  Want to know the latest industry news?  Just follow these bloggers as they are some of the best in the industry.  Everything you need to know about the banking world can be found in one of these blogs.

Thanks for reading!  Now, go get blogging!

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Social Media Dos and Don’ts: Bankers Edition

As we all know, money is one of the most important things in peoples lives.  Money allows us to survive on a daily basis.  It allows us to pay for our necessities such as shelter, clothing and food, but it also allows us to enjoy our lives with entertainment and travel.  Because money is so important, we want to bemoney-under-mattress able to keep that money in a safe place.  Many people would agree that their safe place is the bank.  (We have finally realized that “under the mattress” is not really the safest place for our money.)  We all want a sense of reassurance to know that our hard earned money is going to be safe, and most banks assure their customers that it is safe. 

Banks know how important safety is for their customers, which is one of the reasons why banks are so far behind in the technology and social media areas.  With social media accounts, there is a certain amount of risk associated with each account and this can become a problem for banks; especially knowing that they have assured their customers of their safety.  Steve Culp tells us about some of the risks associated withKeep money safe social media in his blog: Is Social Media a Risk For Financial Institutions?  He gives us a more in depth idea of all the risks such as: strategic, business, regulatory, legal, and market risks. Although social media is an easy marketing tool for all companies including banks, banks and financial institutions have to be especially careful to keep their customers most prized possession (their money) safe. 

So now that we know how many different kinds of risks the banking industry faces when using social media, so let’s look at some examples of things NOT to post or do on social media. 

  1. Posting financial advice.  The last thing anyone wants to do is post financial advice all over the internet, when it could potentially be misleading.  Something as simple as posting “Now is a great time to refinance” can be misleading.
  2. Retweeting or reposting information without verifying its source.  How many times have we heard, “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet”.  The last thing a bank wants to do is post false information on their social media account without verifying that the information is true and correct. 
  3. Having a social media account and not using it.  That’s right! If you are going to have a social media account, you better believe that you must keep it updated with the most current information.  It is also a good idea to respond to customer inquiries through each social media account.  The last thing the bank wants is for their customers to feel as though they are being ignored. 

To see some other things NOT to do on social media check out 10 Things Banks Should Not Do on Social Media

The complexity of what to post and what not to post on social media can be quite overwhelming.   Even though it is social media, and we think this is a place we were can be a little more laid back with the things we post and say, banks have to be sure they are still following all of their rules and regulations; otherwise they can put themselves in the limelight for banking regulators. (Cringe!)  That is the last thing banks want!  If you are a banker and you are thinking about posting on your social media account, just think twice about what you are about to put out there for EVERYONE to see!

Follow me for more information about social media and the banking industry!

Let’s Bank! Anywhere & Anytime!

What seems like just a few years ago, banks, teller liners, and teller the drive-through lanes were jam packed with customers; especially when it was pay day.  The banks customers had no choice but to wait in those long lines if they wanted to be able to cash their paychecks, but those days are long gone.  Again, we find ourselves asking the question, well what really changed?  People are still going to work and still getting paychecks.  So, why are the teller lines so much shorter? Welcome to our new mobile world where people need bank tellers less and less thanks to banks introducing their mobile applications.

The Mobile Banking App

Mobile Banking

The mobile banking apps are almost completely capable to doing any type of transaction.  Some of these apps are so high tech that the user of the app can deposit funds through mobile check deposit, transfer funds from account to account (even if the accounts are at different banks), person to person transfers, and even set up automatic payments for specific bills through bill payment options.  These applications can do all of this and it is completely secure for the consumers.  So, now you can really see why those long teller lines and drive-through lanes are so much shorter.  People can basically do all their transactions right from their mobile phone anywhere and anytime.  According to the article, What do people really want in mobile banking?, as long as the mobile banking app is secure, user friendly, and allows the user to customize the app to their preferences, it is going to be a hit.

Good or Bad for Business?

Because the mobile banking applications have allowed us to bank anywhere and anytime, the majority of banks have adopted this technology in order to stay competitive with each other.  Although the branch transaction counts are decreasing because the world is becoming more mobile, the mobile banking apps are good for business.  The applications provides consumers and businesses with flexibility.  For instance, if someone cannot get to the bank within normal banking hours to deposit a check, they have the ability to take a photo of the check with their Smartphone and deposit it into their account electronically.  No bank necessary (even if it is on a Sunday)!  These apps provide more convenience for bank customers, and the more that is offered to them through the mobile application, the more loyal they will become.  According to Borris Shiklo in his Forbes article, Mobile Banking: Exploring Trends For Market Leadership,  mobile banking customers actually bring in more revenue than branch only customers, which was proven in several different cases.

Mobile banking applications have set the bar really high.  So, now when someone is searching for a new bank, they are looking to give their business to the bank that gives them the best experience, and that includes their mobile banking experience as well.  Here are some of the best mobile banking applications.  Check them out and see which one of them suits you and your banking needs.

Follow me for more info on the banking industry.

Are You Banking on the Inside or the Outside?

So when was the last time you stepped into a branch of your local bank to do your banking business?  I think there are many people out there that will say, “I can’t remember the last time I NEEDED to go to the bank”.  So the real question is: Why is this so?  Well, for starters, more and more banks, credit unions and financial institutions have created apps for their customers.  These apps are so high tech that it virtually eliminates the need for bank customers to ever have to step into a branch to do a transaction. Are you scratching your head yet and trying to remember the last time you were in your bank?  Well, take a look at this chart which may help answer some of our questions as to why you haven’t seen the inside the bank lately. 

Change_in_branch_use_2006-2014-565x358

From The Financial Brand

So, as you can see from the chart above, unless you are having some sort of banking issue, there has been a serious decline in the amount of bank transactions that are completed within your banking branches.  So if the transaction volume within the branches is declining, then where is it going and more importantly WHY?  Well, there are a lot of reasons that can answer this question, and one of them is that people are using their internet banking accounts and their mobile banking apps to complete all different kinds of banking transactions.  Another reason that is playing a significant role in the decline of branch transactions is the increase in social media users.  Matt Von Hoven shows us the State of Social Media in 5 Charts and one of these charts shows the increase in social media users over the years.

Total-number-of-social-media-users

Customer_service_photoMany of you may now be thinking, “Well, banking and social media are two completely different things. So, how can they be related?”  If you are thinking this, you are absolutely correct, but social media is the reason for many changes in the business world; which includes banking.  Social media started out as a platform for people to connect in real time, but throughout the years it has become so much more.  Social media has taught people to expect real time responses, so when it comes to banking (and many other industries) they have had to change their customer service strategies.  The last thing a bank wants is for their customers to be posting their bad experience all over social media for everyone to see.  I just plain looks BAD for any company.

Digital MarketingNow we know that banks are changing their customer service strategies because of social media, but another way social media has changed the banking industry is in their marketing strategies.  It is 2017, so if you are bank or work for bank and you are not using social media as a way to advertise and market the business and its products and services; this is a very good time to start considering it.  First, it’s CHEAP! Banks and other companies don’t have to worry about the high costs of developing an ad and paying high ad costs.  You can just simple create a post (you might want to add a few flashy colors and things to draw in the customers) and with a simple click of a button, you have sent off some advertising to your customers. Believe me, there are also many tools available to help companies create these flashy posts as well, so don’t worry! Another reason banks might consider social media as a new marketing strategy is because you can reach a lot of people in a short period of time.  As we saw earlier, the amount of people using some sort of social media account is growing every year, so if there are so many people using social media, it would be crazy not to use it as a channel to market the business. 

Overall, we have found that less and less people are using physical branch locations to conduct their banking business because of the increased use of internet banking accounts and mobile banking applications.  We have also found that social media, although it seems like it should have nothing to do with banking, has played a serious role in some major changes in the banking world.  Banks have had to change their customer service strategies to better meet the needs of their customers ,and they have also had to change their marketing strategies as well.  These are just a few of the changes in the banking industry, amongst the many, that social media has influenced.

So, have you thought about it yet? Have you been banking on the inside or the outside?  Stay tuned for my next blog!

Tools to Make Social Media Marketing More Effective

Social Media Marketing

Who would have thought that social media would become such a major part of our lives, but it really has. Not only has it become a major part of our personal lives, but it is now becoming ever more popular in our professional lives.  Marketing a business or product through social media (and I mean ANY business) has proven to not only be effective (if used the right way) but it is also inexpensive.  More and more professionals are using this form of marketing rather than other traditional forms of marketing because they can really get a good sense of what their customer/client wants.  It is a direct way to stay in touch with the customer/client and really tailor the business or product to meet their needs.

Social Media Tools

Social Media Tools

So, now that we know social media is a very effective way to market to our customers and clients, we now have to find the right tools to use our social media platforms successfully.

This is where things become a little more complicated, but the first thing to keep in mind is DON’T WORRY! There are so many tools available to help you manage and effectively use all types of social media to reach your clients.

Check out this article that I found that gives a whole list of tools we can use for our social media accounts: 22 Tools and Applications Used by Social Media Professionals

HootsuiteHootsuite One tool that can be used for social media marketing is Hootsuite. This is a tool that can be used to manage all your different social media accounts by just using one website. This tool makes it easy to view ALL your platforms at one time. You can even schedule postings to certain platforms for specific dates and times when you think your clients are most likely to see the post. This tool allows you to add any social media account to your dashboard and see all your feeds at one. It just makes life a little easier to go to one website rather than logging in and out of all your social media accounts on their own individual websites.

Check it out here: Hootsuite

Hemingway AppHemingway App Another tool that can be used in social media marketing is call the Hemmingway App. This tool is really cool because it helps make your writing more effective. It helps narrow down sentences that may be too lengthy, basically tells your if you are using passive voice, and even offers suggestions for better word choices. This tool can be really helpful to someone that is really trying to engage with their consumers in the right way. It sounds like a tool that someone might use when they are just beginning to use social media marketing, and HEY if it works, GOT FOR IT!

Check it out here: Hemingway App

Clearly, we can see that each of these tools are very different, but the point I am trying to make is that there are so many different tools out there that we can be using when marketing through social media to make our outcomes more favorable. It’s a new marketing world these days, so let’s all take advantage of this inexpensive way to promote ourselves and our businesses. Most importantly though, lets have fun with this!

Want more information on Social Media Marketing and the Banking World? Follow me to check out my next blog post to find out more!