Kietzmann et al. (2011) notes that there has been a paradigm shift from the traditional marketing strategies. Businesses are now increasingly moving towards the use of social network to market their products. This has been so due to the favorable marketing environment that the platform offers. The over a million internet users at any given time and low-cost promotions have made companies turn their focus to social network as their primary marketing strategy. As a result, this paper is going to analyse how National Australia Bank (NAB) is using the social network platform to maintain an online presence and effectively enhance customer interaction and communicate with the general public. The report will also focus on the social network strategy being used by NAB
Social media presence
According to Lenhart et al (2010) use of social network platforms by the general public, teens and young adults have pushed organizations to rethink their marketing strategy to net new clients. One of those companies that have amended their plan to incorporate social network marketing as one of their key pillars is the National Australia Bank (NAB). To show how serious the company is about maintaining an online presence, it has developed a Social network command centre at their headquarters in Melbourne Australia. The command center is aimed at helping the bank manage social network interactions between it and its customers.
This Bank has also launched a series of social network campaign aimed at making their customers and the general public of their online presence. For instance, the recent campaign by NAB dubbed “Break up with your bank” has seen customers welcoming the banks move to have an interaction with them through social network platforms such as Tweeter and Facebook. The campaign not only highlights the banks potential to reach out to potential online customers but also its ability to interact and understand their customers over social network channels.
According to a survey done by financial brand (2011). NAB’S social network team receive at least 5000 comments on their social network pages monthly. In this, they can resolve over 500 customer service inquiries. Also, the report further reveals that NAB has been experiencing a growth of 10% in the number of customer service interactions it receives on their social network pages.
NAB is believed to be one of the first banks in Australia to embrace the use of social network to improve customer interaction. In 2005 this organization opened its YouTube account and has been operational for more than ten years now. This means that NAB has received more video views on YouTube than any other Australian bank. Their Twitter presence is also remarkable as they have more followers on Twitter than most banks in the region. Analyzing its Facebook presence, NAB is still on the leading pack with over a 100,000 ‘Likes’ on its Facebook account. The bank is also using the Face book page to run some promotional campaigns due to the large audience it enjoys in this platform. According to a social network survey by financial brand NAB’s social network community has grown exponentially since 2012 and now claims more than 140,000 followers on face book, twitter, and YouTube. Its content is also believed to reach over 15 million users (Gallaugher and Ransbotham, 2010).
Social media audience
Looking at the social network presence of NAB, having a large audience has enabled this bank to engage with their clients on a regular basis. The bank does not only use the platform to sell its product to existing and new customers but also to alert the clients on service issues. For instance, whenever there is a technical failure on Internet banking or ATMs that may affect service delivery, the bank uses its social network pages to share information concerning the crises.
On Twitter NAB has been able to manage its audience in the most interactive way. The social network tool has also been used to communicate emergency information to clients and to respond to clients queries. NAB boasts of real-time solutions to its customers’ queries on this platform. Using Twitter NAB has made a name for itself as the only bank in Australia that engages its audience with immediate answers whenever they are faced with difficulty in using the bank’s products (Farrell, 2010).
Social media marketing
NAB social network campaign has catapulted the bank to another level when it comes to enhancing customer interaction and penetrating the larger Australian market. One of the key marketing strategies that are behind NAB’s social network success has been the use of guerrilla marketing tactics. This is clever and well-organised gimmicks that are meant to stir up social network buzz and improve the banks’ social network presence. An example of such a stunt is one in which they released a promotional campaign concerning usage of their atm. In this video found on their social network pages, NAB is championing of the installation of an ATM in their clients ‘homes as a way of making it easy for them to make access their money. In this advert, customers are to join a contest that would see a luck customer getting the grand prize of having an ATM installed in their home and he should be willing to allow NAB broadcast their in-home ATM usage over the internet( Chui and Roberts, 2009)
One thing that NAB is betting on is the peculiar nature consumers who enjoy watching crazy stunts and gimmicks online. Once they have watched this stories on other social network channels, any advertisement stunt posted by the bank on their social network platform draws more attention to the bank's social network pages. This eventually helps the bank in building its followers much faster than other banks in the region
The development of a social network command centre by NABS enables the Bank to create a social network buzz that worked well with its strategy of penetrating the social network market. The bank is using the social network as a marketing tool to bring intimacy between them and their clients. NAB is now looking at a possibility of using the social network to market and respond to customer queries round the clock every day including weekends. This 24-hour service will be possible through social network since consumers can access social network pages any time as long as they have their phones and access to the internet.
Ethics, privacy, and security
Despite the intrinsic role being played by social network in the banking sector various ethical and privacy issues have risen. Banking is one of the financial sectors that privacy of client’s data is key. However, use of social network has eroded customer data confidentiality that was being enjoyed by customers before the emergence of social network networks. Customer s details. Account information can now be posted and read by the entire world through this social network channels such as tweeter, Instagram, Facebook, etc (Dwyer, Hiltz. and Passerini, 2010).).
Another ethical issue that banks have to contend with is the lack of proper social network policy that governs what is to be posted on this social network pages and what is to be avoided. For instance, NAB’s closest competitor Commonwealth Bank was recently criticized over its social network policy which called for the punishment of employees if they failed to report negative comments posted on the bank's social network pages by customers. This is one but many of the legal and ethical implications of the use of social network platforms that banks and other organizations have to contend with.
Another ethical issue that results with the use of social network is the prevalence of pseudo or “fake” accounts. Cyber hackers have infiltrated the social network platform and now are targeting bank clients with and aim defraud them. These cyber fraudsters have come up with fake Twitter and Facebook accounts designed to convincing clients to give out their bank details and later swindle them of their savings. These accounts are opened with the name of banking institution such as NABS or Commonwealth Bank. Many customers have fallen into this trap, thinking their chatting with a genuine bank employee in the social network pages only to realize later they were being addressed by fraudsters who have opened ‘fake ‘ social network accounts.
Phishing has been seen as one of the security issues that arise from using social network platform and other forms of electronic communication. Banks operating social sites have found themselves victims of this vice that has become rampant and discouraged other players from incorporating social network marketing as part of their marketing strategy.
Bose and Chung (2007), defines phishing as an illegal act of attempting to access confidential information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and usernames and bank account details by individuals pretending to be trustworthy entities over the internet. This individual may send messages alleging to come from genuine sites, banks and other renowned companies with an online presence. The messages are coined in such a way that they will prompt the receiver to release sensitive information concerning their bank accounts, credit card passwords or even log-ins to their internet banking. In phishing, the unsuspecting individuals are prompted to enter their private details into a fake website that is a look-alike of a genuine site. In other words, phishing can be described as a well-crafted system that cyber attackers use to fraud internet users. Among the effects of phishing include loss of customer privacy, financial losses and inn worst cases it might lead to denial of services since no company would want to continue running their services over the internet once they have been phished.
Social media technologies
NAB social network and control Centre uses the latest social network technology to help the bank manage its social network networks. The backbone of the social network and control center is built on two strong pillars, and these are; the Intel technology and the sales force marketing cloud.
The command center is fitted with five large latest technology LCD screens which channel signals from the sales force that highlights what is trending on social networks and also assist in identifying and crisis that may be facing the bank.
The social network center is considered as a ‘visual room’ which projects and highlights the latest trends in the social network platform thus giving NAB an edge forward in coming up with social network strategy that would meet the ever-changing needs of the customers. The Bank has also been able to extend their penetration by coming up with nifty mobile applications that allow users to access bank products and comment on their services from anywhere, anytime
One feature that is evident with the social network platform is that this is a platform that evolves rapidly and incorporates new functionalities that are ever dynamic. Organizations that are planning to embrace this platform will, therefore, need to be creative and always think on their feet on the next strategy that will keep the afloat and buzz on this social pages. Different social network platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. As a result, banks will be required to settle on a strategy that would incorporate more than one social network service so as to maximize the vast opportunities being offered by the different social network platforms. The social network can be a business support tool for banks if used in the correct manner. Most banks are still reluctant to incorporate social network strategy in their marketing plan. However it is possible for this banks to come up with social network strategies by analysing how other business entities use social network to market their products online.
Looking at NABs online presence, it is imperative to note that having more online followers has a positive effect on the growth of the business. The development of a social network command centre by NABS enables the Bank to create a social network buzz that worked well with its strategy of penetrating the social network market. The bank is using the social network as a marketing tool to bring intimacy between them and their clients.
This means that more discussions online concerning the bank's product will eventually lead to more clients joining the bank hence increase in growth. Despite this, Banks should also be aware of the security threats and unethical behaviour that arise from the use of social network platform to market its products. Unethical activities over social network platforms can deprive users of their right to socialize, and in worst cases, they cannot do business. For instance, victims of phishing may lose ownership of their social network accounts, bank accounts, and credit card accounts to criminals since they have access to their confidential information. Phishing has also allowed criminals to conduct their criminal activities without being noticed. As they drive traffic towards their social network pages, banks should also put a lot of weight when it comes to protecting their customers from this security threats. This way they will be able to return the confidence of clients in accessing their online services and at the same time increase their market base exponentially.
Studies by different scholars have further indicated that social network platforms are being used by organizations to seek new clients, enhance customer interaction and creating engagement with the public. Despite many organizations having adopted the use of social network as a business support tool, others are still reluctant on whether to onboard it as part of their business strategy. In summary social media marketing will continue to dominate marketing strategies for various organisations due to improvement in technology and the world becoming a global village connected by the internet (Cox, 2009).
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