When it comes to your bank’s participation in social media, true success is all about perspective. Many banks hesitate to get involved because they see social media as a compliance mishap waiting to happen, or some say they just don’t see the real value. It’s time for any bankers with either of those mindsets to see social media in a whole new light. Here’s why:
Social media offers banks the opportunity to engage their communities, create meaningful relationships and reinforce the notion that traditional banking is a thing of the past.
Think Contests, Not Compliance
One of the most common objections bankers have to social media is compliance. Many fear that what they post regarding products or services will get them in hot water if they’re not careful. Well, the thing is, effective social media programs avoid selling techniques altogether. Think contests, not compliance.
At our bank, we see social media as an engagement tool. We ask questions, share personal stories, take action in our community—and we get folks involved through contests. Here are just a few of the popular social events we’ve held at Paducah Bank:
- Snowman-building contest while school was canceled during a snowstorm
- Envelope-stuffing competition for interns during the Olympics
- “Bow-wow” photo contest that featured our community’s dogs and cats
- Video contest for high-school students to show us the compassion in our community during the holidays
Social media should focus on conversations and relationships, not CDs and rates. And that’s a twofold benefit: One, it gives you the chance to interact and enliven your brand; and two, it allows you to steer clear of any compliance-related pitfalls you may fear.
Defy Traditional “Banker’s Hours”
Social media also enables us to redefine our industry. Consumers aren’t communicating in traditional ways, and they refuse to settle for the status quo. Social media is driving these trends; social media allows us to be a part of that change.
Let’s face it, there’s a stigma that banks are only open from 8:00 to 5:00 on weekdays. We know that’s not true, and here’s how social media can prove it:
Recently, one of our customers lost his debit card in an ATM over the weekend. He posted about the situation on our Facebook page, to which I received an email alert on my phone. I was able to respond almost immediately. We offered to send someone to help, but he said that was unnecessary. Just the fact that his problem had been acknowledged was more than enough to exceed his service expectations. He posted a glowing review about the interaction on the Paducah Bank Facebook page, for all the world to see.
By being active on social media, banks have a more prominent presence in the lives of their customers. It’s a step in the right direction of being less traditional and more readily available.
Ditch the Decimals
Bankers are programmed for numbers, as they should be. But with social media, it’s a new set of numbers that prove the value of the medium. It’s not about decimals and dollars, but about engagement and reach.
Last year, our social media efforts on Facebook resulted in nearly 8,000 average impressions per day—and more than 2.9 million impressions for the year. That’s 2.9 million people who were exposed to our brand, our bank and our community. That represents immeasurable value in terms of exposure for who Paducah Bank is and how we serve our community.
When you think about social media, focusing on a hard-dollar ROI is missing the point almost completely. Social media represents the opportunity for community banks to do what they do best—know their customers, support their communities and serve as a trusted community partner. Creating a conversation through your social media efforts allows you to form a truer RELATIONSHIP than one that only comes from managing transactions at a drive-thru window or teller line.
It’s time to for banks to get involved on social media. It’s time to change your perspective … and the industry’s.
For more ideas on growing your financial institution’s social media presence, check out CSI’s blog post, “Empower Employees to Use Social Media … huh?”
Susan Guess is senior vice president and marketing director for Paducah Bank. She is a strong advocate for customer engagement strategies, and her efforts have led to several prestigious awards for Paducah Bank’s social media programs.