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The Changing Landscape of Online and Mobile Communities

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.


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
  • Financial
  • Coupons
  • Charitable
    Donations (i.e. Jeans Day or Relay for Life)
  • Financial
  • Tips
    for First-Time Homebuyers


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

Continue the conversation in the comments below!