FinTechs are embracing social media to tell their stories, engage consumers, and leverage influence. Long-established brands like American Express as well as newcomers such as Clark and solarisBank – and their BaaP (Banking as a Platform) software – are employing creative FinTech banks face a promising but complicated future as economies evolve into cashless societies and banking transactions go mobile. Traditionally, the public’s perception of a bank was that of a strong concrete or brick-and-mortar building filled with trusted, well-dressed professionals, security guards, and a hushed atmosphere that conveyed a serious financial environment. Banking through a mobile smartphone, however, is a completely different experience. And there is no better way to brand that experience than through social media.
American Express, which spent 2.35 billion on advertising in 2015 is harnessing the power of Instagram influencers as #AmexAmbassadors to promote the brand’s Platinum Card to consumers. In the age of mobile platforms, brands like American Express are leveraging social media to sell their products and services through an aspirational narrative crafted by experts and celebrities in fields ranging from food and fashion to travel and photography. The American Express #AmexAmbassador marketing strategy employs a variety of such influencers, from NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal with millions of followers to “micro-influencers” and bloggers who have leveraged their niche expertise in a spectrum of categories, such as interior design and lifestyle management.
Meanwhile, the Instagram account for solarisBank offers brand-building narratives featuring beautiful views from the company’s headquarters in Berlin, Germany, including rooftop yoga and brainstorming sessions alongside images of homemade pizza and industry events. This focus on community is extended across solarisBank’s other social media channels as well. On Twitter, solarisBank solicits the help of customers in testing the brand’s “consumer lending product” alongside other tweets featuring staff at conferences and recent accolades. SolarisBank blends these narratives on its LinkedIn page with other corporate initiatives, such as promoting open positions and thought leadership assets – all designed to create and leverage the power of influence.
Whether applying for a loan, depositing a paycheck, or transferring money into a savings account, most customers want a quick, easy experience – especially online. FinTech brands know firsthand that social media channels are deeply integrated into everyday transactions, both professional and personal, placing them in the middle of a digitally oriented cultural shift. Clark, which provides low-cost customized insurance coverage, is at the front line of using social media to promote its seamless, integrated financial platform. Clark is an app similar to the popular money-transfer app Venmo, except that the self-proclaimed “insurance robo-advisor” uses algorithms so that customers can easily manage and purchase a spectrum of insurance products based on their online information. Not surprisingly, Clark uses Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to promote its services and brand.
In addition to creating front-of-mind marketing campaigns, FinTech brands are leveraging social media to monitor and increase customer satisfaction. In a seamless global culture, social media is an extension of a customer’s valuable thoughts, suggestions, and complaints. FinTech brands like American Express, solarisBank, and Clark use social media as an interactive, real-time focus group that provides critical information about the effectiveness, usability, and popularity of their products and services. By tagging FinTech brands with a direct @handle or #hashtag, customers – especially disgruntled customers – will typically receive a follow-up from a customer service representative with hours, if not sooner.
The challenge for many FinTech brands is that their products and services are generally intangible and can’t be pulled off of a store shelf or set on a windowsill and photographed. Social media, however, is often visual, so FinTech brands must stretch their creativity. Savvy FinTech businesses utilize photos and short, accessible videos from events such as conferences and in-house talent at celebrations to contextualize their expertise and industry leadership. Add to these assets social media influencers and effective customer service protocols, and they have a winning visually based strategy. Just think of those colorful and creative American Express cards, intentionally designed to be photographed and shared on Instagram. Yours could be the next sensation.