ING Direct wants customers to ‘Meet and Tweet’

The Canadian online bank launches new social media strategy to bring customers together to learn more about financial issues, and of course, social media.


How tweet it is.

ING Direct Canada is getting more personal with its customers with its first ‘Meet and Tweet‘ at Toronto’s Darkhorse Espresso Bar on Spadina.

The Jan. 21 gathering, limited to 100 people, will feature ING Direct Canada president and CEO Peter Aceto, the Financial Post‘s Matt Hartley and financial blogger – and W Network Expert Search winner – Preet Banjaree discussing social media and issues relevant to Canada’s finance industry.

But the real dividend: tapping into a culture that will play an important role in ING’s future growth. ING Direct Canada already has more than 3,300 Facebook fans, 1,100 Twitter followers and regularly posts instructional videos on YouTube.

‘We made a decision two years ago that with how quickly social media was impacting our world, and as a direct bank and an innovative technology and marketing company, we felt pretty strongly that we needed to be a part of it,’ Peter Aceto tells MiC. ‘So we dove into the deep end of social media through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to be a part of the conversation and to listen to what our prospective customers are saying.’

Aceto says ING-sponsored ‘Tweet Ups,’ like the upcoming Toronto event – where people were invited via Twitter and the ING Direct Canada website – and a previous one held in Vancouver this past September, also offer a rare chance for employees of an online bank to meet its customers.

‘This Tweet Up is the logical extension of deepening our relationship with our customers and our community,’ says Aceto, who has 2,600 Twitter followers of his own.

Aceto says ING’s goal is for customers ‘to be our evangelists,’ and feels that gatherings like Tweet Ups and promotions like Refer-A-Friend that can be implemented into social media outlets will generate word-of-mouth promotion through customer recruitment on a grass roots level.

‘This community is probably less than 10,000 people, but is growing very quickly,’ says Aceto. ‘In the years ahead, that community of 10,000 will grow into a community of 100,000. We think the dividends will be more measurable in the future.’

Aceto says ING will be returning to Vancouver for another Tweet Up just prior to the Olympics, and says the practice will continue as long as there’s interest.

‘I see more of this type of activity in our future, no doubt about it.’

ING Direct Canada currently has 1.6 million customers in Canada.