Your Business

Why I'm a social media believer

I joined LinkedIn’s influencer program last year and it was reported on the front page of Australia’s major business newspaper as breaking news. Front page? Perhaps it showed how novel it was for CEOs to embrace a presence on social media.

At this point I need to confide that this didn’t come naturally.

My own journey to becoming a social media believer came a bit late. One of our directors, Greg Clark, who chaired the Technology Committee of the Board, encouraged me to take our directors and management board to the west coast of the United States. The idea was to explore the thinking in major companies that were regarded as innovators in financial services and in technology, companies such as Google, Cisco, Apple and of course LinkedIn.

It was a bit of ‘light bulb’ moment. It was already clear to me that digital financial solutions were redefining our business. Here at ANZ we were first to market in Australia with our goMoney app in 2010. Today, that app provides banking to 1.4 million customers in Australia and New Zealand who undertake 273,000 transactions a day.

What wasn’t quite so clear to me – apart from observing my children with mild amusement – was that social media had become completely main stream and was driving a fundamental shift in the way people find and consume information, and how they expect organisations like ANZ to communicate.

Jeff Weiner at LinkedIn must have seen the switch go on because he invited me to join the LinkedIn Influencer program.

The visit to the west coast and my experience as a LinkedIn Influencer has served to reinforce my view that there’s now both a need and an opportunity for business to move faster in becoming socially-enabled enterprises.

Jeff Weiner at LinkedIn must have seen the switch go on because he invited me to join the LinkedIn Influencer program.

Mike Smith CEO, ANZ

The opportunity exists because innovation is often incredibly difficult in large companies and if you can create a culture that supports and embraces change, there is a prize for first movers.

With social media the opportunity is to have a more direct, deeper and authentic relationship with our most important audiences including customers, staff, investors and other stakeholders. Ultimately that’s a prize that’s worth having in terms of customer satisfaction, corporate reputation, attracting and retaining talent, gaining market share and reducing the cost of doing business.

Read more of this article on ANZ BlueNotes.

This article was originally published in BlueNotes – a publication of ANZ's newsroom, a forum for insights, opinion, research and news about the economy, financial services, investment and society, from within ANZ and outside.

15 April 2014