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Is Your Bank's Twitter Feed Making You Mad?

Is Your Bank's Twitter Feed Making You Mad? By Gina Ragusa
Published May 1, 2014
Credit Unions Online
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Hard to believe that a financial institution’s social media efforts could insight anger, but according to a survey by the Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group 87% of the 1,002 consumers it polled said that banks’ use of social media was actually annoying.

Additional adjectives surveyed individuals supplied included boring and unhelpful as well. One reason for the discontent is because most consumers turn to social media for assistance from their bank; not to be sold something.

Deb McLean, vice president of marketing and business development at Carolina Postal Credit Union (Charlotte, NC) says that big banks are often too busy trying to herald their own message instead of thinking of what will truly help the customer.

“For instance, whenever I read an article on finance or money management that could help our members I’ll re-tweet it, crediting the resource,” she says. “What some of these big banks do is write the content in-house, giving it a spin or developing the content around whatever they are trying to sell--that’s annoying and a disservice to the bank’s customers.”

McLean adds that banks also oversaturate social media channels with blanketed messages, which often provides a gateway for an online disaster for the bank.

For example, when JP Morgan attempted to promote dialog between the bank and customers through its #AskJPM Twitter forum, the tweet was met with a wave of snarky comments like:

  • How are you planning to spend the savings made from firing your social media team?

  • What is the best way to get blood stains out of a clown suit?

  • Is it true that JPM stands for “just pay more?”

The hilarity continued and McLean admitted she was busting a gut just reading the comments. “I followed the entire thread and found one response funnier than the next.”

She adds that the JP Morgan debacle was a perfect example of big banks trying to get their brand front and center and failing because customers saw through the bank’s intention.

Tweets Should Follow the Police Dispatch Rule

McLean recalls watching a 60 Minutes episode where Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey explained part of the basis for Twitter.

“He said the idea came to him years after he would listen intently to a police scanner he had in his home as a child,” McLean said.

Dorsey told The Huffington Post that he became obsessed with the information being broadcast from the scanner and began to build computer maps based on the information.

“I could see the city,” he said. “I could see it live, I could see it breathe, but I was missing one key element. I was missing the people. Where were they? What were they doing? Where are they going?"

Years later Twitter was born from the foundation of where were they, what were they doing and where are they going. McLean says that she follows that mantra and only provides vital data that could directly benefit her members.

“Typical tweets are on the weekend where I will supply our lost card phone number to members who may have lost their debit card during a time when the credit union is not open. Other tweets focus on which shared branches are open during weekend hours or a reminder that if the member was having buyer’s remorse on a weekend car purchase, to visit the credit union on Monday to see if we can beat the loan rate.”

McLean says that most credit union social media efforts tend to be closer to the “news you can use” type posts and tweets. “Social media was a great channel to use during the winter when branches would have to close early or open late due to weather. There is definitely a value to communicating through social media, but knowing how and when is important to using the medium the right way and not just for corporate gain.”

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