Written by Ife Akintobi

A major part of the requirements for graduating from a Nigerian university is to carry out a research thesis. After brooding for a while on what my undergraduate thesis should focus on, I concluded on researching how Nigerian banks interact with their customers on social media.

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You will agree with me that almost every adult…wait…scratch that…Everyone uses a smartphone these days.

Since a majority of the population is active on one social media platform or the other, people use that as an avenue to comment on a bank’s social media post concerning a recent experience they’ve had with them.

Many banks have profiles on almost all social media platforms and they advertise various offerings on these platforms. My research idea was to critically understand the effect that this form of marketing has on making customers switch banks based on prompt response and resolution to their complaints or inquiries.

From research, I discovered that customers prefer banks that promptly reply to their comments and provide solutions to unfavourable transactions. Moreover, most customers in the age range of 18-35 develop a high interest in banks that actively post interesting, witty content and catchy, fun online campaigns.

For example, the Bank Wars saga involving some popular Nigerian banks which went viral on social media elicited a lot of excitement amidst the online audience which led to a lot of people opening bank accounts with the originator bank.

My research showed that social media marketing has an impact on the way prospects develop interest in a bank, become customers and also get the resolution to their financial issues rather than visiting a branch.

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Moreover, in the book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk recommends that less than ¼ of all content posted on social media be promotional. By sharing live webinars on debt consolidation and savings, banks can offer value to customers at only a minor cost to themselves, while driving customer loyalty and retention.

The trick is that because it is social media, a post has to offer direct value to the reader. This is because 63% of mass affluent consumers are actively looking at financial solutions (not necessarily banks) on social media.

Similarly, by responding to social media messages as a form of customer service, with bank employees available to answer questions during business hours, banks can facilitate banking through social media and can cultivate stronger relationships at a decreased cost.

This consolidates the importance of social media marketing in the marketing strategy of banks, and the value it adds to their customer base and revenue.