In my career, I worked for one of Catalonia’s and Spain’s top banks as a social media specialist from 2011 through 2016. I played a crucial role in shaping and managing an award-winning multilingual customer service on social networks, an online forum for ideas and suggestions, and digital media content (webs, blogs, apps).
In 2009, I was contracted to work for Banco Sabadell as a customer service representative, since they were seeking a professional that could speak English, French, and German. At first, my tasks were devoted to the proper functioning of the bank’s official website, including the online banking service. Later, the bank hired me, and I began providing information, carrying out transactions and selling products via phone and email to customers.
In the 2000s, I used Fotolog and MySpace on a personal level, but I had been resisting Facebook and Twitter. Unless it involved a secure financial/legal transaction, I never revealed my personal data on the Internet. I didn’t want to share specific information due to privacy and safety concerns. Facebook changed the rules and data became a commodity. Suddenly, everybody seemed to be baring it all on the Internet. I wasn’t thrilled with the possibility of people that I had lost contact with years ago efficiently tracking me down.
The bank invited me to be part of the team that managed the social media presence. Since I wanted to learn something new (and please my superiors), I accepted. That led me to contribute to the bank’s strategy to improve customer loyalty, attract new prospects and promote a 24/7 communication channel on social media, which served as an extension of the customer service duties of the phone and email (and eventually chat and instant messaging).
My team made good on these responsibilities, as the bank was being recognized and awarded for its commitment to innovation and digital transformation. My contribution as a multilingual communication professional proved essential for the bank to offer services in several languages. That led to bigger audiences and more user engagement on social media, which generated more revenues for the bank. Indeed, I experienced firsthand the merger of five domestic banks and the expansion into several countries.
Thanks to the bank, I learned about business, marketing, and digital reputation. A brand needs to listen to its online audience so they can be provided with tailored content that meets their needs. That gives a positive image of the company, especially if one included agents that would provide answers to users’ queries in less than one hour. I could easily see why social media became the new market niche for businesses:
I also learned that the best brand ambassadors are its own employees. I gave in: I joined Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… and tried many others. I combined my personal and professional sides with them. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy it was to use social media, how accessible information was all of a sudden, how cool the shared content was, and how it seemed to be suited for my needs and interests. I also liked the variety of tools one could use to communicate.
I honestly believed I could develop a career as a social media specialist. But life had different plans for me. Indeed, not everything that glitters is gold and, as time went on, social media became uglier in my eyes. My reflection on this topic follows in the second part here.