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Does Your Community Bank Have a Voice?

By March 15, 20133 min read

Yesterday I went through the top 500 banks & credit unions by likes on Facebook.  There was a huge disparity in number of likes, quality of content, and asset size. But one thing was the same. Bank customers want to have an intimate relationship with their institution. These relationships are built over years, sometimes generations… They want the same relationship they get in the branch to translate online. But it doesn’t. They are often slow to reply, responding with corporate whitewash.

So how does your community bank win?

Know your customers. Does your mortgage officer know all of his or her clients? Yes, they probably also know the age of their kids and what sports they like to play. That is what makes community banks special. However, for some reason they lose track of actual customers. They don’t have too.

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” ~ Jeff Bezos

Keep a consistent voice. I enjoy visiting community banks. Employees often want to be there, they take ownership in processes, and the energy is contagious. But when banks move to Facebook or other digital outlets they forget why people love them in the first place. So content becomes stale, a tad noisy, sometimes just weird. A good strategy for building content for your bank is building it around offline events. Focus local! The best banks on Facebook are consistently showcasing employees, events, and charitable efforts. It’s also not just about what gets likes or engagement either. What products are you currently promoting? Facebook can be the strongest marketing tool for banks if they use it correctly. But blunt promotions won’t work. Your branch builds around its community atmosphere for selling products. Facebook should be the same way.

“Every great business is built on friendship.” ~ JC Penney

Show empathy. Most banks online are listening and responding. Those are generally two important pieces to empathetic customers service. However, there are parts where banks are extremely lacking online. No banks are asking their customers what they want. If you don’t ask, how do you really know how your community feels about your products? Banks rarely try to understand the situation of a comment or complaint. Negative and you get this response, positive and you get this one. That process is extremely limited and undesirable, and you will be harvesting a community of hermits. And lastly, connect with community members. They often feel the same way but I can promise you each customer has had a different experience with your bank.

“To understand the man, you must first walk a mile in his moccasin.”

Like every community bank customer being different, every community bank is different. You need to own your voice. This is where community banks can stand up to the big few. Nurturing clients and prospecting future customers is an area community banks should excel online.  These three steps will help your online presence mirror your branch voice seamlessly. Which is what your customers want.