Chatting social with... TSB Article icon


Bian Salins, head of social - digital at TSB Bank, answers six questions about the bank's social media strategy

Which platforms work best for your organisation?
The TSB strategy is different for different platforms. Twitter is for customer experience and sentiment, a little public affairs and real-time, news-related content. But Facebook and Instagram is for our brand-led activity. We’re a values-led brand and we want to establish a human connection. It’s a mix between product and purpose - it helps our partnership model and convey what we are about. Instagram is about our purpose, our culture. We share stories of our people; it’s an internal lens on TSB.

We use LinkedIn to drive interest with the right people.

YouTube is our hub and hygiene [content]. [Hygiene content is content that is always relevant to your audiences and responds to what they actively look for from you. Hub content is content you develop on a regular basis to give a fresh perspective on subjects that matter to your audience.]

Do some work better at different times of the day/week or for different messages?
Friday afternoons work really well. People are a lot more in the mood to engage. It’s about content. We support hundred of charities so we post about them on #CharityTuesday. It’s better when we actually join conversations that are relevant, rather than stick to a time of day.

We don’t officially have a 24/7 service. We’re still in the growth stage and it’s tricky to justify resource without volume but it won’t stop us evolving in the near future. We are thinking about that model. It’s marketing really; you don’t get a wealth of requests at two in the morning but it does say that we are here for you at any time.

How often do you try to issue social media messages?
We went from doing very little and then doing a lot. We post at least once a day, not always on Instagram. We don’t need to.  If we have something to say or there’s an ongoing conversation, then that doesn’t alienate people. Tailor it accordingly. On Twitter, the more you post, the more you alienate people.

What successes have you seen?
When we partnered with our internal communications team to recruit and leverage awareness of local charity partnerships with digital channels, it amplified our purpose. Social media can bring out the worst in some people but it can also bring out the best. It drives engagement and purpose by sharing how [charities] contribute to people’s lives.

Have you evolved your social media strategy over the period?
[We have to ask ourselves] how do we bring data back into the business to use in our strategies. Our content agency helps us become robust in delivery and agility. It’s hard for an internal team to create content for different platforms. How can we empower our partners in a positive way? People are passionate about working at TSB, they want to share, talk about and bring our culture to life. We’re values-led and passionate about what we stand for. How can we build our own brand on our own stage?

Our social media teams are from a journalistic background, coming from a storytelling perspective. But when you come to financial services, there’s so much to consider. For example, customer safety - we have a duty of care. Customer experience is hard to pull off in social: how can we achieve end-to-end resolution and still keep our customers safe?

Sometimes we can’t be timely [due to sign off times], which can be frustrating. I see it as an opportunity. We can be a lot more aware of some of the challenges.

When you have so many challenges, every success is even more worthy.

What advice would you give others starting out in social media?
See it as an opportunity to show you’re a social brand. The best way to get to grips is to use a platform as a user. Greater learning comes from understanding people dynamics. Community managing helps you understand different perspectives and influence your creativity. Sharing is at the core of it - sharing knowledge with peers from other industries and in the peer-to-peer network.