Social media becomes a joke, for NatWest

Coren Hanley

21 June 2013

Social media is no laughing matter for banks. Given the tight regulation across the industry, financial services organisations are usually very cautious when it comes to even the basic rules of engagement on social media. Sometimes, they try to avoid it altogether. So when NatWest’s social media team cracked a joke on Twitter, they may have been taking quite a risk:

Banks are probably used to having abuse hurled at them through every possible communications channel. Customer trust in the financial services industry has fallen dramatically over the past couple of years, thanks to the financial crisis, a number of scandals, and some technical hitches – one of which centred on NatWest itself.

But the tweet paid off; receiving over 1,000 re-tweets, and some positive responses from Twitter users: “Changed my mind about switching now”, “I love you NatWest”, and “a bank with a personality…excellent marketing” to call out just a few.

While one tweet is certainly not enough to shift customer perceptions of the financial services industry, it does show what a bit of quick, creative marketing can do to build trust, encourage engagement and even attract new customers. While I don’t recommend NatWest use this type of humour in their wider marketing activities, it does show that Twitter users are open to a bit of light-hearted fun. Getting the right message on the right channel is an important rule of thumb for marketers, and that is exactly what NatWest has done here.

Although I’m not sure whether NatWest really want to be associated with the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, more financial institutions should follow this example, and get creative with social media!