Customer Engagement via Social Media Sentiment: Four Opportunities and Use Cases for Financial Institutions

The landscape of customer engagement has undergone a dramatic transformation with the advent of social media platforms. While previously confined to surveys, focus groups, and in-person interactions, customer engagement has now moved to a format where opinions are formed and expressed in real-time. Financial institutions, from banks to investment firms, have started tapping into this new domain of customer interaction, but the challenge remains - how can social media sentiment be used for effective and comprehensive customer engagement, not just for posting PR updates or answering customer enquiries? This article presents four opportunities and use cases for utilising social sentiment within the financial industry.

Evolution of Customer Engagement

In the pre-social media era, customer engagement in the financial sector was primarily based on one-on-one interactions through channels like customer service hotlines, in-branch visits, or scheduled appointments with financial advisors. While these methods are still used, they lack the capability to engage customers at scale. After social media’s popularity surge and mass adoption some 7 to 10 years ago, platforms like X, Facebook, and LinkedIn provided financial institutions with a unique opportunity to engage with a larger customer base in a more immediate and interactive manner.

In the last few years, banks, insurance providers, mutual funds, and other consumer-oriented financial entities have been actively using social media to provide customer support, make major announcements, or run customer-centric campaigns.

In more recent times, another social media tool for active customer engagement – social sentiment – has arrived on the scene. The emergence of quantified social media sentiment data measured using advanced NLP algorithms has now opened up new opportunities for financial institutions to engage with their customers - opportunities that go beyond answering customer enquiries or announcing campaigns on social media.

Measuring Social Media Sentiment

Measuring social media sentiment is not just about counting likes, shares, or positive comments. It involves a complex analysis that can include NLP models, custom sentiment analysis algorithms, and detailed analytics. For instance, our social analytics platform, PUMP, uses AI models that parse through large sets of social media data to detect trends, measure sentiment, and predict market developments.

Using social media sentiment data measured in a quality way opens up customer engagement opportunities that cannot be generated via social media announcements or rostering an army of online service agents to answer client enquiries.

Four Social Media Sentiment Opportunities for Effective Customer Engagement

1. Using Sentiment Monitoring as Real-Time Feedback Loop

One of the most obvious benefits of using social media sentiment is the ability to establish a real-time feedback loop. Financial institutions can monitor social media channels for customer feedback on new products, services, or policy changes. This immediate input allows for quicker adjustments and improvements.

2. Devising Tailored Product Recommendations

By analysing social media sentiment, financial institutions can gain insights into what products or services are most valued by their customer base. This data can then be used to create more targeted marketing campaigns or even inform the development of new financial products.

When analysing financial assets’ sentiment via PUMP, we often see how certain topics or assets gain traction on social media before it becomes obvious to the wider investor community. For instance, a group of stocks from the same sub-sector may experience a large surge in total social media signals or positive sentiment. The sub-sector stocks or financial products linked to them might then be used by banks or investment firms in their recommendations to specific customer segments.

3. Crisis Management

Social media often acts as an early warning system. Negative sentiments regarding a particular issue can escalate rapidly online, giving financial institutions the opportunity to address concerns before they turn into full-blown crises.

This social sentiment use case became glaringly obvious when a number of US banks collapsed earlier this year, falling victim to Twitter (now X)-fueled bank runs.

4. Community Building

Social media sentiment can be an effective tool for identifying brand advocates and influencers within your customer base. These individuals can be engaged to become part of a broader community that helps disseminate positive information about the institution, effectively acting as a word-of-mouth marketing channel.

Recognising the critical nature of online community building and the role of influencers in it, we have developed a specialised product, the Financial Influencers API dataset, to facilitate this use case.

The age of social media has brought about a plethora of tools for customer engagement, and social sentiment stands out as one of the most potent and proactive among them for financial institutions. The four opportunities we have covered above - obtaining real-time feedback, identifying and tailoring product offerings, managing crises, and building communities – are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what social sentiment can do for a bank, investment firm, or insurance provider. For even more use cases and detailed applications, get in touch with us at