Capital One X Uber


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If you’ve ever used Uber, you know that the app allows you to add multiple credit or debit cards to your account. You can also set which card is automatically used for payments. Many Uber users have multiple payment methods on their app, including Apple Pay. Capital One recognized this and came up with a genius method of insuring their Quicksilver credit card is the card users chose to pay for their Uber rides.

Capital One paired with Uber to allow a free $15 ride after every tenth ride paid for with a Quicksilver credit card. This partnership is beneficial to Uber and Capital One for the same reason: a leg up on their competitors. If you are a Quicksilver owner deciding between Uber and Lift to take you home, the choice is simple. In addition, frequent Uber users looking for a new credit card may be tempted to choose Quicksilver based on the promotion.

So what can other banks learn from Capital One? Stay relevant! Being in the financial industry should not hold a company back from partnering with young companies that attract millennials and older generations alike.

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Brand Ambassadors

If you or your financial institution are new to social media, you may feel that you need to hire a brand ambassador. However, you should know that you already have them. Actually, you have many! Employees can be, and SHOULD be your best brand ambassadors.

A bank that has been taking advantage of this is BBVA. They developed an entire ambassador “scheme” in order to push their “core values”, which are integrity, simplicity, honesty, sacrifice, the spirit of endeavor, commitment, and teamwork. One of the ambassadors they cherish the most is Carlos Soria. They have a photo on their website of him, underneath which they include a little tidbit of information. They talk about why they value him as an employee and how he represents their company.

Using your employees as ambassadors is all about getting to know your employees and making sure that their values match the company’s; that they identify with the company. TheExchange4FI youtube channel gives tips about using social media for small businesses. This video explains how to make sure you employees understand their role as brand ambassadors.

The Financial Brand gives tips on how NOT to tweet if you are representing your financial institution. They have given examples of foolishly posted social media content that is simply out of context. Such examples include a post that talks about funny baby elephant videos. When it comes to context, think about what you would talk about at the bank, if you wouldn’t, they advise you don’t post it.

Taxes and Social Media Part 2: Getting Help

If you do not have the money to spend on hiring someone to prepare your tax returns, you will have to prepare your taxes returns yourself. This can be difficult and many look to online resources for help on how to make sure they are filling out their tax forms correctly.  You could go on websites like for quick tips Yet, there may be better options. Many companies are utilizing snackable social media to help people with their taxes. They will produce short video clips with tips or instructions on how to do certain things when it comes to filling tax forms for the IRS. This allows taxpayers to gain trust in the company and then eventually want to buy their product or service. The majority of companies that use this tactic are banks and tax help companies. One such example is HR Blocks snippet on filling separately or as a married couple.

The IRS has workshops online for filing taxes, but they are not so snackable.

If not using a video, some companies use their website to offer tips on filing taxes. H&R Block has this tax calculator on their website which attracts people to their website and may lead them to want to purchase their services. Turbo tax also uses this tactic, but it is slightly more obvious that they want you to purchase something, as all the calculators are only to “try”.

Turbo tax also sponsors a blog called “The Tax Center” which is a part of the website DailyFinance. This blog gives tips about E-filing and other tax related hints. This is a smart tactic because they are making themselves part of the IRS conversation. When people are searching for help, they’ll see turbo tax everywhere.

Taxes and Social Media part 1: The IRS

With tax season coming to an end, most of us have already submitted a report of our past earnings to Internal Revenue Services. With that in mind, some of us might want to ask ourselves if the information on our social media activity matches the information on our tax forms. Specialists such as Kristen Mathews of Proskauer Rose LLP believe that IRS will not hesitate to snoop around on your social media if they sense you have reported false information.  As seen in the video below, many people find it strange and wonder how it could be legal for the IRS to complete such searches. Mathews explains that recently, privacy laws of this sort have become more lenient.

Although the IRS could potentially use a minor detail to support a red flag on a tax report, it has been the obvious cases that have given this method the most success. One such example of a fraudulent tax report mystery that did not take long to solve involved a woman named Rashia Wilson. She bragged about her gains from misfiled tax forms on her Facebook. One post even read “YES I’M RASHIA THE QUEEN OF IRS TAX FRAUD”.



Social Media Command Centers

Social media is becoming such a large part of the financial industry that Wells Fargo felt it needed to produce entire command centers to monitor social media content. A “Social Media Command Center” a center where a company’s social media team can monitor and engage in social conversation around their brand and market. Wells Fargo currently has a main location in San Francisco and back up centers in Charlotte and the Philippines.

Forbes magazine, however, advises firms to be careful about jumping on this social media command center bandwagon. Similar to other social media stunts, they advice a company first access their tactics and strategies.

The first bank to experiment with the idea was NAB Australia in 2012, according to The Financial Brand. To follow were Master Card (which calls it a convenience center), Wells Fargo, and ChaseScreen Shot 2014-03-25 at 10.40.17 AM.

Chase took the idea up a notch, however, by having ultra transparency. Their command center in Columbus, Ohio, is literally transparent. The entire building is made of glass. One employee jokes about how they certainty cannot have casual Friday anymore.

This tactic is great because people walking by not only get to see whats going on and take an interest in Chase, they get to recognize that Chase is on twitter are motivated to engage with them.

Promotions and Marketing

Banks have begun to do more on social media than provide customer service or be start conversations. photo copyMore and more, banks are promoting and marketing their brand. One way banks can do this is by tapping into the conversations of potential customers. For example, Bank of America researched what economic-savvy people were talking about in Davos, Switzerland. They learned that #davoswomen was trending and proceeded to use that hashtag. They tweeted about the rising influence of women in the world of economics.

Linda Boff, the social media representative for General Electric, explains that tapping into the conversation is worth it. She claims that if a company fails to receive any responses, they have not waisted much time.

Navy Federal Credit Union started a marketing campaign called “Four Million Members, Four Million Stories” that involved giving away Credit Deposits to winners of their video contest on Facebook. After this promotion turned out so well, they decided to actually sell products on Facebook. They ended up developing 300,000 followers.

Jennifer Sadler, Navy FCU ‘s social media strategy manager, noted when you’re invited into a fans personal space, you have to be careful to not get yourself uninvited. It’s hard to gain interest and trust, but easy to lose that in an online presence.

The picture below shows Navy FCU’s Facebook cover that included some of the pictures people shared during the “four million members, four million stories” campaign.


Loan Pricing

Banks and loan agencies can not put down social media as a reason why they are denying someone a loan. However, many banks are using social media sites such as Facebook as a way to double-check customers before making credit decisions. The Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates these processes to make sure customers are getting equal treatment.Collection agencies are even beginning to use social media as a way to track people down when they have not made credit card payments etc. This idea is not new, and is actually similar to how eBay allows its customers to rank each other. The American Banker claims that Prosper Marketplace Inc. is the eBay of peer-peer lending. The simplest aspect of this is how Lenders, banks, etc. just take the information on you that they already have (your name for example), and type it into social media sites, including Monster and LinkedIn, to verify contact information. They also check sites such as Twitter to make sure you aren’t lying about important factual information, like your employment. Some companies such as PersonalLoanOffers conversely “condemn” the new use of social media to pry into people’s lives for the sake of loans and pricing according to this article by Tim Grant. However, major credit scoring companies such as Fair Isaac are discussing the possibility of beginning to use social media while businesses like Moverncorp Inc. are offering customers a chance to check their financial-behavior based on their own social media activity. Since social media is new for many businesses, especially in the banking industry, it is hard for these companies to get on board with this trend. Many worry about violating regulations.


Fan Engagement

While small financial institutions may be finding success in engaging their local towns, they do not have certain obstacles that larger financial institutions have. Larger financial institutions have to be invested in both the amount of customers (or even prospective customers) liking their Facebook page etc., and the amount of engagement those likes contribute afterwards. According to a survey done by PYMNTS, 80% of consumers with credit/debit cards follow their bank on a form of social media, but only 29% said they actually participate in the conversation on the platforms. Banks not only have to strive for quantity, but quality as well.

A national bank that is exceling at achieving quantity and quality is Bank of America. While they have 1.1 million fans on Facebook, they are achieving a 7% engagement rate, compared to the average for brands with over a million fans, which is .09%. Basically, they are engaging fans 77% more effectively. The Financial Brand contributes Bank of America’s success to their focus on programs that benefit customers in the military. Community service campaigns are one of the ways they keep their fans engaged.

Bank of America Military Support


The Dutch bank ABN AMRO is another financial institution that is exceling at keeping customers engaged. This bank realized early on that getting into social media does not just mean listening and responding. ABN AMRO was proactive and began to offer their customers support for every day life. Econsultancy deems this as advancing from “one-off engagement” (answering a question or responding to a complaint) to  “relationship-building”.

Starting the Conversation

Many banks have started using Facebook in order to reach out to their customers and improve their customer service. These banks realize that there are conversations going on in which they are the topic, and not joining in these conversations would be a lost opportunity. However, some banks do not understand that being present on a social media platforms such as Facebook is not enough. Financial institutions, like other industries, need to start conversations and participate in those already started.

This is what has been driving success for local banks such as Mercantile Bank. Michelle Shangraw, the Senior Vice President and Retail Banking Director for Mercantile Bank, explains how this local bank in Michigan not only starts the conversation, but they start it in real life. She claims that since they are a local bank in a small community, their biggest concern is connecting with the community. In order to keep people in the community talking about Mercantile, their employees have been participating in MercMobs. During these “mobs”, Mercantile Bank employees get out into the community by crowding a local restaurant during lunch in hopes of generating buzz. Along with this, employees participate in community service. Mercantile launched a campaign based upon a foundation called “make a difference” and uploads videos of employees participating and giving back.

Below is a picture of Mercantile Bank of Michigan employees volunteering at a local elementary school.

Courtesy of Mercantile Bank of Michigan's Facebook

Courtesy of Mercantile Bank of Michigan’s Facebook

Mercantile Bank not only creates buzz in the community, but on their Facebook page as well. They post things people can relate to, rather than trying to advertise financial opportunities on a platform where people go to connect. Another bank that understands this concept is Farmers and Merchants Bank, which posts “local community events” on its FB page.

Strategy Corps, a company that helps financial institutions engage customers, asked people how they felt about banks on Facebook in this video. Check out more of their videos here.

Practicing Safe Social Media

It is mandatory that financial institutions develop relationships with consumers. However, it is of greater important that these institutions keep consumers’ information safe. Recently, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) declared certain risks associated with the use of social media. They published a guide to social media platforms, which explains that the more platforms an institution is participating on, the more they need to access their risk.

The biggest concern the FFIEC has when it comes to financial institution’s online presence is privacy and criminals. Although all industries worry about this, financial institutions have greater responsibility due to the fact that they are dealing with consumers finances. They are at risk for things such as loan loss, physical theft, and identity theft. The FFIEC says, “Financial institutions should consider the use of social media monitoring tools and techniques to identify heightened risk, and respond appropriately.”

In the video below, Credit Suisse, a financial services holding company located in Switzerland, explains how they are limited on social media platforms because of security issues. Watch 2:41 to 3:25. 

While the FFIEC recommends that the financial industry to take responsibility for these dangers, Fox Business recently published an article that advices consumers to take precautions themselves. They report that Ariel Sanchez of IOActive, a blog about online security,  did a test with banking apps and found that 90% contained malicious links that could exploit a consumers banking information. While there are steps that financial institutions can take to make sure their apps are more secure, there is no way to make an app 100% safe. Sanchez gives basic tips on how consumers can be more active in keeping their banking information safe, such as password protecting your phone.

The FFIEC does not discourage financial institutions from using social media platforms, or deny that they can give them leverage if used properly and safely. In one section of their guide published, the FFIEC warns financial institutions that consumers will still talk about you on social media platforms even if you are not present. 

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