BY Mark Linford
Last week we learnt a new way to fling a digital finger up at anyone foolish enough to incur our social media rage – Nell Diamond’s #HMD is definitely a contender for most notorious hashtag of the year, arriving as an unexpected contribution to the Twitter buzz following her father’s resignation.
But whilst Bob Diamond is lucky enough, perhaps, to have a youthful, bolshy, and uncommonly witty daughter (check out her retweets) rushing to his defence, should the “unacceptable face of banking” have added his own voice to discussion? A Charlie Sheen-esque meltdown is probably too much to have hoped for, but a touch of candour via Twitter may have gone down well.
Whilst top-level management teams in some sectors remain unconvinced by social media, evidence increasing suggests that bringing social to the C-suite itself sees benefits for a brand’s consumers, employees, and investors.
BrandFog found 81% agreeing that “CEOs who engage in social media are better equipped than their peers to lead companies in a web 2.0 world.” Transparent communication and improved brand image are gains that banks, especially in the wake of the latest blow to opinion and trust, should be eager to embrace.
The fantasy (maybe) of a direct line to the top for consumers could soon be a reality, though even with many brands already operating dedicated twitter customer service interfaces, tweeters may voice complaints to the ‘face’ of a brand (not necessarily “resolvable” in the normal sense) that are nevertheless useful to pick up. Who knows, it might even be positive sentiment.
Rockstar CEOs (@richardbranson) are twitter veterans, as are those of tech and media businesses, but in the financial sector it remains uncommon. Peter Aceto (@CEO_INGDIRECT) of Ing Direct Canada has taken up the challenge, mixing personal anecdote with promotion and financial advice (bravo), whilst Tesco CEO Philip Clarke (@clarkepatesco) is another example, though hasn’t tweeted since Christmas.
Consistency is key when trying to convey sincerity and win the trust of consumers, and as elsewhere with social media, a half-hearted effort risks misfire.