There are plenty of reasons why small banks may be reluctant to amp up their social media presence. (Just, you know, #AskJPM.) Still, the bad weather sweeping across the U.S. this winter illustrates how these platforms can provide a real value-add.
Thursday's big snowstorm prompted many banks, large and small, to take to their Facebook pages and Twitter handles to inform customers of branch closings and/or hour changes.
Many of our stores will be closed or have limited hours today due to severe weather. For more information visit: http://t.co/0tNtQCYAqI
TD Bank (@TDBank_US) February 13, 2014
Due to Winter Storm Pax, certain WF stores will be closed for the safety of our customers and team members. Call (800) 869-3557 for help.
Wells Fargo (@WellsFargo) February 13, 2014
Due to winter weather multiple branches in North/Central Alabama have a delayed opening today of 11am/12pm CT pic.twitter.com/vh16z1FxZ4
BBVA Compass (@BBVACompass) February 13, 2014
A few banks used the storm to highlight the value of their mobile/online banking products and services.
Stay connected during the storm with our Online and Mobile Banking or our 24/7 customer service colleagues at 1-800-922-9999.
Citizens Bank (@CitizensBank) February 13, 2014
Bank of America (@BofA_Community) February 12, 2014
And others found savvier ways to connect with customers.
Capital One (@CapitalOne) February 13, 2014
SunTrust (STI), which is headquartered in Atlanta, a city hard-hit by unexpected weather patterns, for instance, even shared updates from government officials in the states it services via its Twitter handle.
SunTrust (@SunTrust) February 13, 2014
Given customers' (and the media's) increasing propensity to use social media channels to air their grievances, it can be easy for banks to view these growing platforms as a curse. A Twitter handle, Facebook page, or even Instagram account can be easily written off as something a financial firm has to have to mitigate all that (often negative) online chatter. (Not helping matters: the fact that it's all-to-easy to slip up during social media initiatives.)
But it's equally important to note that, when leveraged correctly, these platforms can also be a real blessing and the perfect example of how technology can enhance customer service.
Jeanine Skowronski is the deputy editor of BankThink.