Do banking and social media go together?

30450110 The banking industry has come under a lot of fire in the media of late and is fighting to prove that a few bad apples should not spoil the whole bushel.

We talk a lot about social media being where transparency and authenticity are the highest form of currency so it seems to me that banks, despite their conservative stereotype, should be wrapping their arms around social media with all their might.

Next week, I’m speaking to the Iowa Bankers Association’s marketing conference on social media and would love to be able to cite some examples of banks who are successfully using social media.  Can anyone share with us some examples of how the banking industry is building new or strengthening old relationships with social media tools?

Ironically, Patrick Byers from Responsible Marketing is coming in all the way from Seattle to speak at the same conference.  I’m looking forward to putting a face to the smart blog posts I’ve been enjoying since he launched his blog.

His talk on responsible marketing is also incredibly timely for the industry.  Since we’re both doing two sessions, I’m going to suggest to my attendees that they catch his encore performance.  If I didn’t have to do my own presentation again, you can bet I’d be there!

So what say you…can you share some social media + banking examples? 

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25 comments on “Do banking and social media go together?

  1. Jay Ehret says:

    Drew, I think we need to be cautious asking why an industry may or may not be using social media. Just because an industry is not using these online tools does not mean they are not transparent/authentic. And anyone using Twitter knows that social media is not all about authenticity. Much of it is about hype and marketing spin.

  2. Jay – But, just think of how much money Wells Fargo could have saved by Blogging about their concerns with the Las Vegas “junket” coverage they got back in February vs. paying the NY Times for two pages to run an add. At that time the press used their sensationalistic perspectives to slander one of the banks that has done things right for many years. Wells Faro chose to run an add in the NY Times to provide their response, yet their words would have traveled much farther in the social media realm. To Drew’s point, had WF embraced social media and understood every communication that comes out does not need to be reviewed by marketing and leagal, they could have had a much better received message.

  3. Jay Ehret says:

    Pete,
    I’m not against social media. But on the subject of Wells Fargo, I think the junket and the lack of social media are related. A company that is engaged with its customers through social media is not the kind of company that would have let that junket happen. Bank or not.

  4. I used the term “junket” with all the sarcasm I could muster, but I realized that was not transparent when you read it. That employee recognition event was later determined to have been an appropriate use of company funds and the media’s majorly negative spin was done in very poor taste(my words). We are in agreement that WF could have a adopted social media approach to lessen that initial shockwave of sensationalist journalism, which resulted in their lowered stock price and instantly put them in the same “category” as AIG and others to anyone who read the standard press. They could have had a much different outcome, had they had an enacted company wide approach to social media, which they currently still lack.

  5. Hi Drew, I’m new to your blog, but noticed this post so thought I’d jump in. I founded and now manage Wells Fargo’s social media team, back in 2005.

    We’ve been blogging since ’06, and have 5 blogs now, a Facebook page, Facebook app, MySpace page, two YouTube channels, and most recently, a Twitter channel (twitter.com/ask_wellsfargo).

    We believe it’s important to be where our customers are…they can phone us, visit a branch, online, ATM–so, why not social sites? Of course not every site is right for us, but I think we’ve learned a lot by experimenting and carefully considering where we can add the most value to our customers.

    There was a comment above about the Vegas employee recognition event, and why we didn’t use social media. We did, actually. We blogged about it on our new Wells Fargo-Wachovia Blog. I wasn’t involved of course in the decision to also place the NYTimes ad, but I can tell you that–in general–we view social media as an additive channel to others that already exist. In each effort, we focus on the conversational elements, and how conversations add value. So, for example on the WF-WB Blog, we’re seeking feedback on the merger. On our Twitter channel, we’re seeking proactive opportunities to help customers with service issues and thank them.

    I’m also greatful that in these particularly turbulent times, we have a social media team in place. It’s never a good thing to be forced in a crisis, under the gun, to get started in this space (there examples of this happening in the airline industry that prove the point). Conversations are taking place in these networks that we know our customers want help with, so we’re glad to be available. Even 3+ years into social media, it’s still an area of great growth and understanding.

    Any feedback you or your readers have about our efforts are very much appreciated!

  6. Craig Wilson says:

    We are banking on it (sorry bad joke).

    My agency has been carefully introducing a banking client to social media here in Australia. So far its working well and has received positive feedback. The key has been to progress gently, resist broadcasting and allowing some criticism to be aired.

    The other important factor was to not just do SM because its cool and current, but to incorporate SM thinking into the company culture.

    The client in question is Companion Credit Union and you can see their efforts at http://www.wearelistening.com.au

  7. Jay,

    I wasn’t suggesting that the banking industry is or isn’t using social media. I assumed that some are and some are not.

    My point was just that because the industry has undergone so much scrutiny — social media might be a worthy target because of opportunity to have conversations in ways they might not be able to have in a more traditional marketing tactic.

    Drew

  8. Ed,

    Thanks for jumping into the conversation. I checked out the blogs — quite a bit of diversity.

    I’m curious – how’s traffic and subscriptions? It looks like you get a fair number of comments, so obviously you’ve found an audience. How do you promote your social media efforts to your targeted audiences?

    How many staffers do you have on your Twitter team? Do they do that exclusively or is it just a part of their job? I appreciate that you’ve identified real people…rather than having the company be the tweeter. It’s much more personal.

    Glad you stopped by!

    Drew

  9. Craig,

    Are you allowed to make bank jokes if your client is a credit union? Here in the states, the two industries are not fond of each other!

    How are you helping your client understand the interactivity of social media? Are they out commenting on other blogs or engaging outside of their own blog?

    The site looks good. How are they introducing it to their members? I think one of the biggest challenges of helping clients embrace social media is preparing them for the patience required before it catches on and attracts an audience. Are you experiencing that as well?

    Drew

  10. Hi to everybody!!! we’re a Word-of-Mouth marketing agency located in Italy. It’s very intersting this threads beacuse we’ve carried out a lot of campaign on Social Media for our clients but so far no one for the banking industry…maybe learning this interesting posts we could finally manage to convinve one of the big players over here to join the conversation.

  11. I happily stand corrected. I had no idea WF had a Blog. Thanks Ed.

  12. Cristina Spencer says:

    Don’t forget about Community Banks too. While they may be a little slower to adopt SM, I believe this is a growing market. It makes a lot of sense since community banks pride themselves on relationship driven banking.

  13. Cristina,

    Do you know of any community banks that have jumped into social media in a significant way?

    Drew

  14. I don’t stand with both. Social Media has not remained transparent anymore. A lot of biased news sometimes and not based upon facts. Banks currently are not innocent, just a few bad apples? The facts I’ve read just shows how much power Bank has and what it can do. They are partly responsible for bring whole economy down. Their policies at boom time were all profit-seeking. Result = Destruction for public and for themselves too.

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  16. People depend on media these days so it’s better for them to have better relations with everyone but the information must be accurate. Banks should be open about their problems and use media constructively to tell their problems.

  17. People depend on media these days so it’s better for them to have better relations with everyone but the information must be accurate. Banks should be open about their problems and use media constructively to tell their problems.

  18. I think that we can link banks and social media as we can do with social media and any another company. The Social media is a new channel to sell and to stay in contacto with the clients, nothing less and nothing more.

  19. richel8 says:

    I think social media and banking should go together.Especially nowadays that competition is really close.

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  21. brainstrom says:

    he Social media is a new channel to sell and to stay in contacto with the clients, nothing less and nothing more.
    brainstrom

  22. EPC says:

    Don’t forget about Community Banks too. While they may be a little slower to adopt SM, I believe this is a growing market. It makes a lot of sense since community banks pride themselves on relationship driven banking.

    Commercial EPC
    EPC Quote

  23. Banks are historically very private organisations due to the sensitivity of the information they hold. Thats why I can’t see them ever really getting on with social media, it would be too much of a change

  24. The site looks good. How are they introducing it to their members? I think one of the biggest challenges of helping clients embrace social media is preparing them for the patience required before it catches on and attracts an audience. Are you experiencing that as well?

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