|B2B SOCIAL PART 2: WHAT DOES A MEGA BUSINESS BANK TWEET ABOUT?|
Citi’s Global Transactions Services aims to influence customers through third parties
* * *By Steve Cocheo, executive editor, who tweets for ABA Banking Journal at @ABABankingJourn. For a link to the archived video of the presentation this article is partially drawn from, see the end of this page.
Many bankers still think of Twitter as a consumer banking outreach technique--if they don’t just dismiss it as twaddle because of headlines about celebrity tweets, insipid personal tweets, and worse.
This leads to a natural question: What does an institutional and business bank that gets on Twitter tweet to its audience?
Citi Global Transactions Services is a division of Citigroup’s Institutional Clients Group. It offers integrated cash management, trade, and securities and fund services to multinational corporations, financial institutions, and public sector organizations around the world. The division has over 65,000 clients worldwide.
Among GTS’s social media efforts is its year-old Twitter account, @CitiGTS, which as of early October had 890 followers. (For a broader story about CitiGTS and social media, click here.)
Finding their way on Twitter
Using Twitter is only a portion of CitiGTS’s social media efforts, as described in more detail in a related article. But it is a good illustration of how banks of all sizes exploring social media techniques have to find their way for their audience in each slice of social media.
“The social media world is filled with unexpected surprises,” said Leslie Klein, managing director and global head of GTS marketing, speaking at an event sponsored by IBM. For example, when the company launched the GTS Twitter account, it would have been natural to expect that financial executives at client companies would have comprised many of the CitiGTS followers.
However, Klein said that the clients tended not to follow the bank directly.
“They tend to follow industry influencers,” she explained. “They are very interested in what they have to say.”
Over time, Klein said, Citi found a trend in its Twitter audience. “Our followers were journalists and analysts,” she said.
Around the time this was discovered, the business side GTS marketers met with their colleagues on the consumer side of Citi to exchange ideas. A key message Klein heard: “The best way to get people to follow you is to follow them.” To this day, the CitiGTS site is following more “tweeps” than follow it. Also, the bank sent out 500 invitations to follow the GTS tweets. In the wake of both moves, the follower base began to grow.
“As our audience has evolved, so have the types of messages we tweet,” said Klein. “And our retweets are going up too.”
On the basis of its Twitter education thus far, Klein expects further evolution.
“The next generation of external influencers are likely to not just be traditional journalists and analysts,” she said, “but also bloggers and other commentators.”
So, what do they tweet about?
We reviewed the tweets on @CitiGTS back to November--as of early October the division had tweeted 626 times--and this summarizes what we found:
* Invitations to visit Citi’s booth at various trade conferences.
* Reminders to hear Citi speakers or moderators at conferences and conventions.
* Announcements or retweets about deals of interest to followers.
* Postings about new Citi products or enhancements to products.
* Notices regarding free Citi white papers.
* Invitations to view Citi online webinars, videos, and other electronic features.
* Promotions of links to Citibankers quoted or otherwise mentioned in online venues, including those concerning other parts of the company.
* Teasers to remember to come by a Citi conference booth to possibly win an iPad, Blackberry Playbook, or other prize.
* Citi staff reports on trends and discussions at major conferences, such as SIBOS.
* Updates on Citigroup financial results.
* Reminders about special items such as the prize offered for the longest drive at a trade conference golf match Citi GTS was sponsoring.
* Invitations to take behind-the-scenes peeks at such places as the Citi Private Bank Investments Lab.
* Awards for Citi products mentioned, with appropriate links.
* Major new hires at Citi announced.* Appointments of Citi to exclusive client relationships with newsworthy clients.
The most frequently used Twitter hashtag used, naturally, was #Citi.
On occasion CitiGTS retweets tweets of other “tweeps,” but for the most part its Twitter stream consists of its own messages.
Read more about Citi’s B2B social media efforts: This article is a companion to the ABA BJ Social Media blog, “New Media Isn’t Just For Retail Banking Anymore.”
View offsite IBM video: This article is partially based on an Oct. 5 live presentation, “Social Business Is Driving the Bottom Line,” made at IBM’s New York City Client Briefing Center. You can view the archived video of the presentation here.
Tell us about your bank’s efforts to use Twitter for B2B marketing. Use the comment section below.
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