The New Power of Social Media; Even Banks Can No Longer Ignore


Friday, May 4, 2018 9:00AM / Wema Bank


By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce. As their population grows, so is their influence. Award-winning author Jeremy K. Balkin calls this the “Millennialization of Everything.”


Millennials – the generation born between 1980 and 2000 -- are unlike previous generations in so many ways. They are highly opinionated, educated and are digitally native. They have a reputation for being tech-savvy, collaborative, optimistic, achievement-oriented and socially conscious. Brands that are keen on reaching them must go to places where they can meet them. In view of this, many brands have become very active on social media, where millennials spend at least 6 hours per week. In 2017, 71 percent of internet users were social network users and these figures are expected to grow. These statistics show where every brand that wants to remain relevant in future needs to be.


Already, social media has started transforming banking relationships in very significant ways. Customers have relied on popular social media platforms to easily reach out to banks in a bid to seek quicker resolution to their complaints. Banks have also used these platforms to improve customer service by prompt response to queries and provision of useful information to customers. This trend is expected to continue, as we are beginning to see Fintechs use social media data to help people get access to credit. There is even a school of thought with the belief that social media platforms may be the banks of the future. No matter what you think of the possibilities social media bring, one thing is certain, any brand that wants to remain relevant in the future must take social media seriously.


Last year, Femi Oguntamu of Penzaarville, a Lagos-based digital marketing startup debuted Handle It Africa, a social media conference themed Social Media: Language of Expression. The conference was made possible by the support of organisations like Wema Bank, whose interest in constantly looking for innovative ways to engage customers has led to its growing interest in social media. The innovative Bank which launched ALAT, Africa’s first fully digital bank in 2017, is supporting Handle It Africa again this year in keeping with its commitment to supporting small businesses that continuously implement innovative ideas for growth. This year’s theme Social Media: Expanding Influence, Broadening Thoughts, will see discussions about the influence of social media taken further.


Businesses are increasingly seeing the need to be more active on social media, with key events like product launches now taken online to actively target the important market segment that spend more than 6 hours online every week. Even banks now see social media as a very useful tool in customer service, community building, product research and marketing.


The growing influence of social media in brand enhancement and marketability of products have encouraged brands to increasingly engage the services of viral-ready comedians who offer attractive instant visibility extending over 150,000 viewers, given their huge following online. ALAT, for example, engaged the services of Maraji, a social media sensation, to promote its Virtual Dollar Card. A single post by the female comedian was viewed by over 200,000 people on Instagram alone. Such is the power of social media today!


Discussions that happen in conferences like Handle It Africa, reinforces the importance of social media and ends with fresh ideas that can help individuals and businesses further exploit the opportunities presented by the different available social media platforms.


Wema Bank has over the last one year increased its use of social media to engage its customers, as it continues to roll out digital banking solutions tailored to people’s needs.

ALAT, Wema’s digital bank has over the last one year, won 8 awards, both locally and internationally.


Funmilayo Falola, who heads Brand and Marketing Communications at Wema Bank reiterates the importance of social media to brands. “If 75% of the global workforce in the next seven years are millennials and millennials spend more than 6 hours on social media every week, any brand that is serious about the future needs to be on social media,” she says.


“That said, brands need to be strategic about the platforms they use. You do not need to be on all social media platforms as a brand. Look for the platforms unique to your target audience and come up with an effective strategy that will ensure you achieve your set objectives,” Falola adds.       


 Proshare Nigeria Pvt. Ltd.

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