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The Changing Landscape of Online and Mobile Communities

Posted By Carie Schelfhaudt, McDougall & Duval Advertising, Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Digital marketers are constantly being asked at networking events and social gatherings about the latest and coolest trends in social and digital media. With a new mobile app, social network or digital enterprise being launched on the market every day, it’s no secret that there’s an online trend towards data-rich content.

Though financial institutions historically have not been at the forefront of the social media revolution, it’s important for bank marketers to understand and embrace the ever-changing landscape of online and mobile communities. Keep your eyes open for emerging social networks, such as Instagram and Vine, which are riding the wave of success from other data-rich social networking giants.

Instagram

Beautiful photos and imagery come to mind when you think about data-rich online content. Instagram took what some would call "the best features of Facebook” (photos) and used the concept to create an online community centered around beautiful imagery.

If you have never heard of Instagram, the mobile app description reads, "It’s a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family. Snap a picture, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram. Share to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr too – it's as easy as pie. It's photo sharing, reinvented.”

With both an online computer interface, as well as an internationally-recognized mobile app, Instagram has transformed the way photos are shared on the Internet. Instagram photos feature a distinctively square shape that can be enhanced with easy-to-use filters. By working with Facebook and Twitter (not against), Instagram has made it simple to find friends and share content at the touch of a few buttons.

Skeptics will say that this is no place for financial institutions. However, if you’re feeling adventurous – and your compliance officers have you given you their blessing – here are a few ideas for images that financial institutions could create:

  • Retirement/Savings Tips
  • Financial Advice
  • Coupons
  • Charitable Donations (i.e. Jeans Day or Relay for Life)
  • Financial Funnies/Comics
  • Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Vine

Vine, a relatively brand-new mobile app, has taken the video-sharing world by storm. Vine is a mobile app (available to Android users as of June 3, 2013) that allows users to create and share short, six-second video clips with other Vine users or embed them on social networking sites. In fact, Twitter acquired the app in October of 2012, making social sharing simple and easy.

Vine’s app description claims: "Vine is the best way to see and share life in motion. Create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way for your friends and family to see.”

Vine videos can be created with unique "gif-like" motion effects, because the camera only records while the user’s phone screen is being pressed. The addition of an audio file has propelled Vine to its current success. But how are brands embracing it?

Check out this article from Social Media Today that looks at7 Brands Getting Creative on Vine. You’ll see examples of how brands embrace this new platform to roll out innovative campaigns. While the videos don’t often directly promote a brand’s particular products, they are engaging and popular, which helps these companies create an unmatched online buzz.

Here are some ideas for forward-thinking financial institutions that decide to embrace this new channel:

  • Three-Step Meals Under $10
  • Feature Bank Mascots
  • Showcase Community Events (Road Races, Relay for Life, etc.)
  • Making Gifts on a Budget

If using these platforms seems "out there” for your institution, remember that many financial institutions thought the same thing about Twitter and Facebook. For now, you may just want to keep tabs on the unfolding social media that your customers may experience.

What other cutting-edge social networks have caught your eye?

Continue the conversation in the comments below!

Tags:  mobile  social media 

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YouTube Updates Make Everybody a Star

Posted By Carie Schelfhaudt, McDougall & Duval Advertising, Thursday, May 2, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013


The ability to record homemade music and videos has never been easier, and during the past decade YouTube has helped make those creations readily available to the masses. So while The Kinks couldn’t have imagined YouTube in 1972, their song "Celluloid Heroes" captures today's impact of YouTube on society in an incredibly succinct way:

"Everybody's a dreamer / And everybody's a star
And everybody's in show biz / It doesn't matter who you are."

YouTube continues to evolve, testing the boundaries of its social influence. If you are using the site to make yourself, your company or your brand a star, you’ll notice there are even more changes the next time you log in to YouTube. Don’t worry, though: The site offers a complete guided tour so you can easily learn the nuances of your new channel.

When you've completed the tour, look to the right of your page to view the channel setup checklist. This list will guide you through the new setup process. Additionally, YouTube will automatically check off the items as you complete them. The channel setup checklist includes:

Set your channel icon -Look at the upper left-hand side of your YouTube page. This is where you will find your channel icon. Most companies choose to utilize this space by uploading the official company logo or logo icon, depending on which image best fits the perfectly square dimensions. Channel icons will also be present next to your financial institution’s name in search results and other areas of the site. YouTube suggests that a high resolution, 800 x 800 pixel image is uploaded, but be certain that it looks good at smaller resolutions.

Add channel art -Similar to a Facebook Cover Photo, YouTube provides users with the ability to visually tell a story of your YouTube page through the use of channel art. Utilizing this space will help bring your brand’s unique personality to life and set the overall tone for the page. For optimal results, be sure to closely follow theChannel Art Guidelinesto ensure that your images appear on every device used to access YouTube. Additionally, when you include your financial institution's website and social media channels on the About Tab, those links will appear at the bottom right-hand corner as an overlay on your channel art.

Describe your channel -Your channel description is your unique selling proposition, and should set your channel apart from others of its kind. Your channel description will appear on various areas of YouTube, such as in search results, but most prominently appears on the About Tab of your YouTube page. Keep in mind: The first few characters appear most frequently throughout the site, so think critically about your opening words.

Add web links -Add web links to the About Tab for easy, cross-channel marketing. These web links can include any links on the web associated with your financial institution, such as your website, blog and social media channels. They appear within the About Tab and can be chosen to overlay your channel art. See above section, "Add channel art” to include this feature.

Add a section -In YouTube, organization is key to getting your best—and most relevant—content noticed by visitors to your page. Sections are a perfect way to organize your video content for potential subscribers who are not familiar with your channel, as well as subscribed users who are returning to the channel to view new content. Think about which videos best represent your financial institution and would be the most relevant to your visitors. Then, categorize these videos into sections. Sections can include popular uploads, recent uploads and playlists. Similarly, sections can be updated dynamically, i.e. liking a video, or can be created with tags that split up your content into different themes.

Add a channel trailer -A YouTube channel trailer is your "elevator pitch” video that introduces your channel to potential subscribers in one-minute-or-less. Effective trailers encourage calls to action, so script a message to your visitors and use text cues throughout the length of the video. Don’t forget to showcase your financial institution’s brand personality by explaining the benefits of becoming a YouTube subscriber. Note: If the channel trailer feature is not enabled, unsubscribed views will just see your sections. See above section, "Add a section" to include this feature.

Which new YouTube feature will help bring your financial institution to stardom?

Continue the conversation in the comments below!

Tags:  social media  youtube 

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Financial Institutions Warm Up Slowly to Social Media

Posted By Carie Schelfhaudt, McDougall & Duval Advertising, Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Have you Googled your financial institution lately? The results might surprise you. Even if your financial institution isn’t active on social media, chances are your customers have mentioned you online, and an Internet search might reveal content that isn't favorable.

A recent survey byVantageScoreconcluded that financial institutions are slow to harness the power of social media and digital technologies. In fact, 28 percent of institutions responded that they don’t monitor any social channels. This is an alarming statistic in an industry where institutions market so heavily on reputation.

Given the number of sites where people can submit online reviews, financial institutions should proactively seek out what others are saying – both to manage their online presence and address any compliance concerns. Start with a quick search on the most popular websites for customer feedback, and where applicable, consider all options for taking greater control. These sites include:

It's worth noting that a widget was recently added to Facebook that links Company Pages to their business profile on Foursquare and Yelp. (If you don’t have this feature yet, keep monitoring your page on Facebook.) Since many NEFMA member institutions already have a presence on Facebook, we should examine two of these sites:

Yelp

Yelpis a popular online guide that helps people find places to eat, shop, drink…and bank…based on the informed reviews offered by locals. More than 86 million people visited Yelp during the last quarter of 2012 to help them make decisions, and while the vast majority of reviews are positive or neutral, some are not so kind. Yelp reviews generally rank well in search engine findings, so financial institutions should definitely pay attention to what is being said.

Thankfully, Yelp offers free business accounts so companies can engage with their reviewers, both publicly and privately. A good place to start is to see if your financial institution is listed on Yelp, and then claim your profile. Once you open an account, you can address any negative comments that might appear in the same way you would handle a complaint on Facebook – by posting a response that invites the person to contact you directly to discuss the issue.

Foursquare

Foursquareis a free mobile app and website used by more than 30 million people worldwide to document the places they’ve been and help determine where to visit next based on recommendations of their friends and connections. Since its inception almost five years ago, there have been more than three billion check-ins, with millions more occurring every day.

Again, just because your financial institution hasn’t established a presence on Foursquare, people have likely already added and checked into your branch locations. Because users have added these locations to Foursquare on their own, the information is not always accurate.

Even if your financial institution chooses to not claim their Foursquare locations as their own, it is a good idea to do a regular search for new check-ins. Visitors to your locations can also post pictures along with their Foursquare check-ins, including photos from INSIDE the branch that could be considered a safety and compliance risk.

Your financial institution might want to establish free location listings to guarantee that the contact information for each branch is accurate. It will also give you more control over the accuracy of the information shared on Foursquare and allow you to encourage check-ins through incentives.

Not interested in having Yelp and Foursquare links prominently displayed on your Facebook Page? You can turn off this feature by clicking "Edit Page,” then "Update Page Info,” then "Basic Information,” and uncheck "Links to Other Places on the Web.

Where on the web have you unexpectedly seen information about your financial institution?

Continue the conversation in the comments below!

Tags:  foursquare  social media  yelp 

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Facebook Contests: How to Win at Your Own Game

Posted By Carie Schelfhaudt, Mcdougall & Duval, Saturday, February 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

If you love running contests on Facebook, listen up! You may be losing at your own game. It's alarming to discover the number of financial institutions that are violating Facebook contest rules and regulations in an industry where compliance risks have historically been of the utmost concern.

So, gather a list of your most recent contests and see if they sound similar to the violations below. You could be at risk of losing your page... and your valuable fan base!

Violation #1 Example: Like us to be entered to win ABC!

The simple act of liking a Facebook page cannot automatically enter fans into a contest or drawing. This is against the Facebook rule that states, "You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion's registration or entry mechanism."

However, if you are running a contest on your Facebook page, you can require that customers Like your page as a prerequisite for entering a contest. This process, called fangating, means that fans will see one graphic before they click the Like button, and a second graphic to enter the contest only after they've clicked the Like button. Therefore, fans cannot enter into the contest until they have liked your page. The new Like does not automatically enter the person into the contest, but keeps the contest limited to Facebook fans only. This will help increase your fan count without violating Facebook rules.

Violation #2 Example: Comment on this wall post to be entered to win. Or, upload your photo to enter and the photo with the most likes will win ABC.

Similar to the rule that you cannot use the Like button on your Facebook page to enter fans into a contest, you also cannot use the comment box or the Like button on wall posts as entry or voting mechanisms for a promotion. Facebook rules strictly forbid running contests on the Facebook wall, and that includes entering, commenting, liking or uploading as ways to administer contests. These are all considered Facebook features and functionality.

The best alternative is to direct your fans to a Custom Contest Tab to enter into a contest administered by a third-party app. There are many of these apps on the market today. For a small premium, you can create a contest that is compliant with Facebook's Promotional Guidelines.

Violation #3 Example: Allison Davis, you are our winner! Look in your Facebook Messages to redeem your prize!

According to Facebook, you cannot notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or pages. This does not mean that you can't tell your fans who won the contest. It simply means that you have to find an alternative way to notify the winner and award the prize, such as via email or phone. A custom notification tool is a standard feature with most third-party apps. Alternatively, you could host your contest on your website and direct fans to a custom URL to enter the contest.

But everyone's doing it, you say? Facebook certainly does not go out of their way to inform page owners of their contest guidelines, but they are out there, and not following them could put your page at risk for deletion.

If you're worried about teetering on the line of what is appropriate and what is not, be sure to read the complete list ofFacebook's Promotions Guidelines. And remember, Facebook contests, promotions and sweepstakes must include the following:

1. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
2. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
3. Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.

Continue the conversation online atwww.facebook.com/mcdougallduvalor feel free to email me directly at cschelfhaudt@mcdougallduval.com with any questions or comments.

Tags:  contests  facebook  social media 

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5 Steps to Managing Privacy on Facebook

Posted By Carie Schelfhaudt, McDougal & Duval, Monday, July 11, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The social media revolution exists at the intersection of our personal and professional lives. Being socially immersed in the online world creates challenging boundary issues for workers whose jobs require them to be present in online communities, but hesitate to have their personal lives revealed with coworkers on the Internet. Blurring the lines between our working and personal lives could have negative ramifications if not treated with care. Choreographing a unique dance around the line between your work and personal lives will help to extinguish any concerns as we nudge into this new medium of communication.

Your Facebook friends are likely a carefully compiled mix of friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances. Because of this, the content you generate on Facebook may not be appropriate for all of your friend circles. For instance, you may not want to share photos from your high school reunion with the CEO of your company. If you've hesitated recently about hitting the accept button on certain friend requests, you may want to consider increasing your privacy settings.

Google+ (Google's "answer" to Facebook) has recognized privacy as a huge issue for adults in the working world and has created drag-and-drop friend circles to allow you to only share certain content within each friend circle. This feature allows you to have a diverse range of friends and simultaneously protects you from over-exposing your private life. However, what many consumers don't realize is that you can categorize your friends just as easily on Facebook. Here's how:

  1. Start by taking a good look at your current friends and those who want to be friends with you. Online and offline, we know people in different contexts and share information with them in that context, and sometimes that context alone. Have you not accepted certain friend requests? And for what reason? When you take a good hard look at your friends, you will realize the diverse mix of friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances, yet they all see the same information on your profile. Think about ways to group your friends based on the content that you are wanting or willing to share with them. If you really don't want every single one of your friends to be updated with photos of your anniversary barbeque or you think Aunt Helen will flinch if you post an edgy blog entry, creating friend lists will help you mind the gap between friend circles.
  2. Analyze the type of content you share with your online community. Do you often share pictures or videos that are appropriate for all parties? Start looking at your content from the perspective of your friends; through their eyes. Really try to understand why they friended you in the first place. Not only will your friends appreciate the gesture, but you will have the added benefit of protection from friends that you don't know as well as others.
  3. Start building simple friend lists. Choose friend lists/categories that are easy to remember. Don't get bogged down with too many lists because it will be hard to remember the privacy settings for each list. Two or three lists are usually sufficient. To access your Friend Lists from your Facebook homepage, click on "Friends," then "Manage Friend List." From here you can create a new list and add friends to that list. Once created, Friend Lists will be displayed in the left-hand navigation for adding or deleting friends. By default you will see a list of friends not currently on a list.
  4. To change the permissions for a friend list, click on "Account," then "Privacy Settings." From here you can click "Customize Settings" to see a list of the different content that is available for your friends and networks to see on Facebook. Selecting the "Customize" option from the dropdown menu for each area of sharable content will allow you to manually type in a list of friends that you would like to hide from seeing the respective content.
  5. Privacy settings change. Many times, they change with little to no notification. Be smart about the content you put on the web and be sure to check your work. Periodically view your page as others would to make sure that the security settings are still in place.

Continue the conversation online atwww.facebook.com/mcdougallduvalor feel free to email me directly atcschelfhaudt@mcdougallduval.comwith any questions or comments.

Tags:  facebook  privacy  social media 

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