Recently I crash landed on INGAsia-Blog and noticed post about Financial Advisor Blog.
Its certainly an innovative idea, to have forum for advisors and (not just customers but)any registered users can interact and share ideas. Advisors have her/his own blog space where s/he can to share financial advice. Its brilliant both as sales & as relationship building tool. No doubt that good quality Blog can helps to position the bank or the advisor as the expert. In this case, ING Advisor's would already know a good deal about their products/services and this blog gives opportunity to easily share that knowledge with interested people. I posted my comments, requesting them to consider enabling some kind of social networking feature as well. Since I remember reading, although blogging is still very much the centrepiece, but it's still only one part. In today's marketing landscape, need for using sites like Technorati, Digg, flickr, YouTube and others to more effectively to convey message.
I think, Traditional Direct Marketing industry was very slow(specially in Asian Market) in embracing Search marketing. Since Direct Marketing is pushing content and search is about customers pulling content themselves. Its very different way of thinking. Social Media is emerged as next big things. May be its time for Banks to have "Social Media Strategy". Since now more than ever customer have upper-hand in interpreting companies brand via such web channel.
Organizational culture plays key role in determining such web strategy. One social media consultant made observation that: "Social media/blogs often change an organization's business paradigm. The challenge is to ensure the culture of an organization can accept an open communication model between internal staff and external stakeholders." Yes, Willingness to be open (honest and thinking transparent) is very important to engage customers in bloggersphere territory. Management should be able to allow uncensored comments from employees. And Trust employees will value organization goals and express with authentic voice. Also, Need for process to handle Customers comments/response appropriately will enable customer trust.
10 Social Media Strategies for the Fortune 1000 Corporations is interesting read which summarize the web strategy recommendations and highlights some of its issues.