The very first Social Forex Awards retrospectively for 2011 were held in London on Wednesday 22nd
February. The event was hosted by LetstalkFX.com the private social network & marketing channel
for the global FX network and Social-markets.net, a social media strategy consultancy for the financial
markets, the exclusive event sponsor was The CME Group.
Speakers at the event were also Katie Martin Editor at Dow Jones Intl, who discussed the merits of social
media channels now being used to engage with the FX community in providing the immediacy of news
Allan Schoenberg Dir of Corporate Communications at the CME Group, looking at how the currency
floor traders have embraced social and utilise the opportunities it provides for trading information and
maintaining relationships, through to
Donal Austin founder of Open Windows presented, Big Data analytics how do you make sense of it
within social.M Martech presented an ‘outside looking in’ perspective of other industries embracing
social and using its marketing and business development capabilities and how financial markets must
follow suit, and Emma Woollcott Associate at Mischon de Reya , who discussed the ramifications of not
having a social media strategy in place for the banks.
Voting was confined to banks who had made the most impact in using the social media channels to
develop a dialogue with the market, LetstalkFX hosted the voting via its platform and was open to the
whole of the FX market and collated over 4,000 votes.
Headline winners were Saxo Bank, Dukascopy Bank and BNP Paribas
You can view the images from the event Here!
For a full list of winners can be found at http://www.letstalkfx.com/Events/SocialForexAwards2011/
You are able to download the presentations at
One of the questions I am often asked by my clients is how to write a blog and what can you blog about. The most important factor when writing a blog is to make sure that you provide value to your readers. If you write about useful, interesting information you will gain credibility and position yourself as an expert in your niche. This is especially the case if you post your blog on high ranking websites that get a large amount of traffic like Let’s Talk FX or Reuters.
Here are some ideas on what you can blog about.
1. Write a blog comparing what the FX market is like now to what it was 20 years ago
2. 5 things you like about the current state of the FX Market
3. What will the future of the FX Market be like and how should people prepare for it?
4. Offer product tutorials for your product
5. Write about a controversial issue related to the FX market
6. Expose the top myths currently floating around about your industry
7. Write a case study on how you solve a common problem or how someone has successfully used your product
8. Write a blog disagreeing with a well-known authority in the FX Market and list reasons why they’re wrong
9. Describe a day in the life of your business
10. Answer frequently asked questions you get from your clients
11. Create a list of “best practices”
12. Helpful how-to tips related to your product
13. Interview the most prominent experts in the FX Market
14. Share Testimonials you get from your clients
15. Post a weekly or monthly wrap-up about what happened in the FX Market
16. 10 things you wish you could change about the current state of the FX Market
17. Go to a conference and then write a review about it
18. Create a list of books everyone in the FX Market should read
19. Describe your customer service philosophy
20. Write reviews for products you don’t sell but you know would appeal to your clients
Good luck blogging!
In 2011 we saw some innovative moves by banks utilising social media in the FX, and as more are beginning to see the benefits of Social Forex as a sales & marketing channel, we believe that these efforts deserve major recognition.
We have seen evidence of this throughout the year with the launch of several iPhone and iPad apps from institutions like JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, RBS, Citi, Goldmans, Credit Suisse, to name a few. UBS have gone a step further by integrated Social features directly into their platform with comments from clients that it looks just like Facebook, and it’s also been rumoured that more banks will follow suit.
It is for this reason that LetstalkFX the Private Social Network & Marketing Platform for the FX market ,and Social-Markets.net a Social Media Consultancy Company have come together with e-Forex magazine and exclusive sponsor Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to provide the market with a very different awards event. Different in that it is the first of its kind in both format and structure, and awards will not be given by virtue of sponsorship. Also unlike many other market awards, you will be introduced to new, relevant and highly topical Social dialogues on topics that will add value to you and your business. The awards will focus on those banks that have made significant achievements in developing tools and strategies allowing them to have a dialogue and create an even closer relationship with their clients.
The event will be open to the top 25 FX Banks and we will also be introducing a new voting structure where the whole Global FX Community will cast votes across a number of areas and award those that have made significant impact in developing social media strategies in order for them to actively engage with clients and the FX market at large, and this will form 75% of the total votes, the attendees on the day will vote on the remaining 25%.
The event itself will be educational and informative in nature with interaction using Twitter, after all it’s about being Social! As we say at LTFX, ‘it’s a Dialogue not a Monologue’
There will be no top tables or panel discussions, which may please many of you. The Market will have an opportunity to vote ‘. Furthermore the event itself will be very interactive with the attendee’s being able to influence 25% of the votes depending on how active they are on the day.
To provide a little context and demonstrate some of the benefits of Social let’s look at one of the major changes in the markets, the move from the exchange floors to electronic markets. The CME went through a seismic change with its Brokers & Traders moving off the floor and going electronic some 20 years ago. At the time many felt that one of the biggest attributes to the “Pit” was the whole social camaraderie, which many felt was something that could never be replaced. However, the CME at the heart of this Social revolution has seen a sizable transformation with the rapid growth in the numbers of its members grasping social media as a way to connect directly with new and old participants in the market. Allan Schoenberg is responsible for driving much of its social media strategy for the CME and understands that the FX market is leading the other asset classes in utilising these tools to the full. These days by leveraging Social tools it’s becoming a virtual pit!
To find out more about the Social Forex Awards or to register as an attendee please visit us HERE
One of the biggest fears I come across when talking to companies in the financial markets about Social Media is around Reputation Management. Many firms are concerned because everything is so public, there are fears that employees will get trigger happy when the channels are public and not so formal, with no way of deleting messages once they are in the public domain. What most companies don’t realize is that by ignoring Social Media it doesn’t make it go away. Employees are on these channels anyway for both Private and Business purposes and in order for a firm to gain more control over possible risks they need to address the issues by writing a Social Media policy. The rapid growth of these social networking tools in business and by individuals has created substantial difficulties which many companies are finding difficult to address. Employees have begun using Social Media to engage with their employer, confidential information can become public in a matter of seconds and Social Media activity can have a critical effect on brand reputation.
Despite this we still are in a position where many firms are confused about how to tackle online reputation management. One of the main reasons for this is because institutions in the financial markets want their messages to be vetted and go through the processes they are use to so there is a reluctance to change that. Also because many are left scratching their heads wondering what an effective Social Media policy should entail. What many fail to realise is that in reality all they need to do is adapt their existing policies for how the business should be represented for the new Social Media medium. Behaving in a professional manner is no different, whether it’s online or offline. Employee’s know what is expected of them, they need to be aware of their actions and it needs to be made clear that they do not disclose private information online just as they know not to do this offline. Providing employees with a Social Media policy allows companies to provide guidance and a framework around how they need to behave when representing their company.
The easiest way to create an effective Social Media policy is to take information from the companies employment manual, their staff handbook, their IT and news policies, and write a social media policy that fits in around their structure. There needs to be a Social Media policy in place as firms need to have a control structure for employee’s generally around Social Media for the employees own purposes but for business purposes. The policy needs to be created in a way that preempts the possible issues that may come up in social media. Unwarranted discloses outside of the business by employees either though use of social media for private or business uses.
As we move closer to a new year I thought I would take a closer look at Social Media and how it has become essential in our marketing. Social media has changed the way we live, interact, the way we buy and it’s even changed the way we invest. Earlier this year we saw the launch of the very first Social Media Hedge Fund. Derwent Capital, a $40 million hedge stunned many in the financial markets by using trading algorithms and sentiment analysis based on information gleaned from twitter to make their investment decisions.
It’s safe to say that traditional marketing tactics such as advertising, referrals, and PR are still extremely important, but social media tactics have become an essential part of our everyday marketing and as such it needs to be considered at the strategic level of your marketing decision-making process. However, Social media has now become the number one activity on the internet and can no longer be ignored. Clients are now searching for information via a number of online sources and research has shown that most buying cycles are now 70% compete before companies are willing to engage with a salesperson and by the time they do engage with sales they already have a very good idea of what they want or need.
There are still many companies in the financial markets that haven’t made a decision around whether social media is appropriate to their business. The burning question here isn’t actually around if you should be using it but rather one of how: “How can channels like Linkedin, Let’s Talk FX and Twitter help you achieve your marketing objectives?” It’s the same as asking how having head count for an additional two salespeople might fit into your plans.
If you think you can sit out the social networking craze or ignore it for too much longer then be warned you will be missing out significantly! I believe we have approximately a two year window before pretty much everyone in the financial markets will have adopted social media to their marketing suit in some form or other. It’s the same upward trend that we saw in eFX back at the start of the last decade and if you are still not convinced the perhaps you may well be after you consider the following statistics.
- A study of 644 companies by hubspot in early 2011, concluded that social media and company blogs as marketing tools, not only gets your company better brand exposure, but it also generates leads that result in real customer acquisition.
- 57% of those using company blogs had acquired a customer from a blog-generated lead; this represented an increase of 11 percentage points since 2010.
- Similarly, 57% of companies using LinkedIn had acquired a customer from that channel.
- Marketers are allocating more of their lead generation budgets to social media and company blogs. The average budget spent on company blogs and social media increased from 9% in 2009 to 17% in 2011.
- From 2009 to 2011, the percentage of respondents with a company blog grew from 48% to 65%, with 27% of the respondents rating their company blog as “critical” to their business (85% rated it as useful, important or critical).
- Technology consultancy firm Gartner predicts that by 2014, some 20% of organisations will make a social network the hub of their business communications.
Many of the companies in the financial markets have been slow to adopt social media into their marketing mix but they will undoubtedly follow suit. This will change dramatically next year, especially as they realise that engaging directly with customers enables them to cut down the sales cycle and qualify intent and build relationships quicker and on a truly global basis.
In the last year we have seen a strong trend in the financial markets regarding the creation of applications (app) for iPhone’s, iPad’s, Blackberry and Android Smartphone’s. In my last year at JPMorgan I was heavily involved in the design, marketing and launch of the Blackberry and iPhone trading app. JPMorgan were the first Bank to adopt the app trend back in September 2008 with the launch of mobile trading via Blackberry.
Since then several Banks and Vendors have launched a variety of apps. Citi, Goldmans, Credit Suisse, Reuters, BNP, etc have all launched apps and aim to provide trading, research and other services to clients via an iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry or Android phone. Some banks go one step further by offering a variety smartphone of tools. FX Week reported that BNP Paribas clients can have access to 33 separate tools, including FX forecasts, trade ideas and a ‘Currency Radar’.
Apps are becoming increasingly popular because they encourage an even closer connection between client and bank. Clients can now access their trade information or research whenever they want and in a variety of ways. In time apps will become more sophisticated and develop into tools that add even more value. This trend has also become popular in the retail space with several apps emerging from the likes of IG Index, Gain Capital, Oanda, Saxo Bank and many others. The way apps are used in the Retail space and intuitional space is very different. Retail clients are more open to using apps to place orders online. This is mainly because they are not governed by as much regulation or have the restrictions of compliance that Institutional clients have.
Like any business just having an app isn’t enough to ensure success or client adoption. There are Best practice techniques that should be followed, and a number of easy-to-avoid commercial traps. In order to provide some insight into app’s arena I sought out and interviewed the author of the acclaimed book Rich App Poor App. Simon Williams, who is better known as the App Man. He was quick to identify the potential and has helped many companies and individuals create apps. Some of his clients include American Express, Sony and Virgin to name a few. In this interview Simon uncovers some useful information about apps, successful strategies and also some top tips on what mistakes to avoid. Click here to read to the interview.
Simon regulary runs an online seminar which provides more information on apps plus a few secrets from inside the industry. To sign up for the webinar please visit www.AppManSecrets.com/Invite.
It took a mere 16 days for google + to reach 10 million users. There are 100 new Linkedin accounts created every minute and there are over 98,000 + plus messages tweeted every 60 seconds! I think it’s safe to say that Social Media is certainly a hot topic in the world of marketing and more importantly a topic that can no longer be ignored by the Financial Markets!
Over the last six months we have seen Financial Institutions dip a toe in Social Forex by creating iphone or iphone applications (Citi launched their first iPad app a week ago). More recently we have seen some banks, vendors and FX publications begin to adopt channels like twitter, let’s talk fx and Linkedin with a lot more lustre. There are some that have been slightly more adventurous by blogging, creating youtube video’s, podcasts and the like. It’s safe to say the pace has begun to increase and we are now beginning to see some real innovation in the Social Forex space.
I have mentioned previously the parallels between the introduction of eFX over a decade ago with the emergence of Social Forex. Back in 2000 UBS led the way for others to follow and today a new leader has emerged. It is a bank that sits neatly between retail and the institutional space that does the same thing. It’s no surprise that Saxo Bank, already well known for being very entrepreneurial, would embrace Social Forex with open arms and integrate it seamlessly into their marketing strategy. They have taken it to the next level while many other Financial Institutions are still scratching their heads wondering if Social has any value, if so what channels should they adopt or should Social Forex have a place in their budget for next year?
Financial Institutions only need to examine what Saxo are doing in the Social Forex space to realise why they absolutely need to be adopting these networks and tools. To highlight this point take a look at the Saxo flyer which instantly demonstrates the best use of Social Media that I have seen this year by far. Pay close attention to the top right hand corner. There you will see a QR code. For those of you who don’t know what that is Wikipedia define it as a specific matrix barcode that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera telephones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, URL, or other data. It’s new, innovative and not something that many other Banks would even know about let alone be doing.
What this means is that anyone with a smartphone can scan this QR code and immediately gain access to a demo of their system! Genius – I have to give Saxo recognition for being the first Bank to do this. By having this feature on their flyer clients can instantly gain access to their demo system and test their application. There are so many different ways that Social Media tools, channels and networks can be used in order to increase client acquisition, raise brand awareness, expertise and revenue growth especially in the financial services.
Does Social Forex add value? Without a shadow of a doubt BUT the most important factor in adopting these tools is dependent on having the right strategy. Without the right strategy many companies will spend a lot of time, money and resource without getting the appropriate return on their investment.