Big Wins and Big Blunders in Social Media


In 2010, all banks should have some presence in social media. You may choose to make it a minor piece of a larger marketing strategy, or you could choose a more active approach as ShoreBank of Chicago recently did.

As part of an effort to promote a high-yield savings account, ShoreBank built a microsite and told customer stories that supported its mission to help the environment, develop local communities, and run a profitable business. The site was promoted via social media. The most visited page was a story of the Villareals, who when faced with foreclosure, refinanced with ShoreBank for a lower interest rate.

If you decide to take a more active approach with social media, be sure that the stories you tell are authentic. Keep the customer in mind, and don’t be internally focused. Bank of America gave us a good example of bad social media behavior when two executives created a video in which they parodied U2’s song “One” to sing about the bank’s merger with MBNA. When the video was posted on YouTube, people found the scene callous and said as much with over 500,000 negative comments.

The lesson here is to be smart when selecting the best messages for public consumption. Social media is gaining steam in 2010 as a go-to channel for brand messaging, and when brands wield it correctly—with strong, sincere communications—they can take advantage of the opportunity to forge stronger connections with their customers.