Common Social Media Misconceptions That Keep Banks from Being Social

January 3, 2013

By Zaid Akhter

In the time that it takes you to read this sentence, more than 3,000 Tweets will be sent.

Financial institutions can no longer afford to ignore social networks. In one minute alone, users share more than 684,000 pieces of content on Facebook, LinkedIn acquires 120 new users, and consumers spend approximately $272,000 online. Your customers are active on social media; are you? 

Financial institutions need to join the conversation—today. But many are skeptical due to popular misconceptions related to social media.

Social media is for youngsters.

The most popular excuse for not adopting social media? It’s for kids. Well, that’s simply not true. The average age of social media users is 36.9 years old. Age demographics are no reason to skip out on social media; in fact, your more established, profitable customers are prime targets for social media engagement.

Social media is not important to us because it’s a fad.

Many who haven’t “grown up” with social media discount its longevity. There’s certainly no crystal ball available, but chances are social media is here to stay. Banks must quickly realize that social media has permeated our entire culture, not just pop culture, and that it’s a dominant communication channel that consumers and business alike rely on daily.

Social media is irrelevant to us because we are a business bank, not a consumer bank.

Social media pertains only to consumer accounts, right? Not so. Younger generations are forming their own businesses, and retiring business owners are leaving their companies to social-savvy leaders. In both instances, you get businesses that are using social media more and more. Today’s businesses want to work with tech-savvy, socially active financial institutions.

Social media is an IT function.

Sure, social media comes with technological implications and security components that lead many banks to lump it into IT. These banks are missing the point. Social media is a business-wide initiative that facilitates customer engagement and interaction. It must include IT as well as marketing, customer service, sales and compliance.

Social media includes numerous networks, and to be successful, banks must understand the entire landscape—and get involved. The best approach is to focus on those networks that connect you to the right audience. Social media will become even more important in 2013, so don’t let trivial misconceptions stand in your way of getting social!

Zaid Akhter is a business development director with CSI’s Managed Services Division. He has more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry and a wide range of expertise including cloud-based managed services, information security, regulatory compliance and social media. Follow Zaid on Twitter at @rzakhter. 

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2 Responses to Common Social Media Misconceptions That Keep Banks from Being Social

  1. Leigh Enselman on January 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Social media is not going anywhere. Financial institutions (FIs) need to realize this and look at social media as a resource, not a burden. Citibank is a great example of an FI who has really utilized social media to reach their customers and improve their customer service. If used correctly, like Citi, FIs can see improvement in their customer service ratings and reputation.

    • Jesse Torres on February 9, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Citibank is a great example of how BIG banks with BIG budgets can use social media. But I think highlighting how small community banks with little or no budget can use is also needed. Take tiny $40 million Pan American Bank in East Los Angeles. We have created a strong community of followers and evangelists. We do not use for customer service but we are effective at using it for branding and community building.

      Take a look and judge for

      With the right plan social media can benefit both the bank and the community it’s.

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