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Financial Institutions Warm Up Slowly to Social Media

Have you Googled your financial institution lately? The
results might surprise you. Even if your financial institution isn’t active on
social media, chances are your customers have mentioned you online, and an
Internet search might reveal content that isn’t favorable.

A recent survey byVantageScoreconcluded that financial institutions are
slow to harness the power of social media and digital technologies. In fact, 28
percent of institutions responded that they don’t monitor any social channels.
This is an alarming statistic in an industry where institutions market so
heavily on reputation.

Given the number of sites where people can submit online
reviews, financial institutions should proactively seek out what others are
saying – both to manage their online presence and address any compliance
concerns. Start with a quick search on the most popular websites for customer
feedback, and where applicable, consider all options for taking greater
control. These sites include:

It’s worth noting that a widget was recently added to
Facebook that links Company Pages to their business profile on Foursquare and
Yelp. (If you don’t have this feature yet, keep monitoring your page on
Facebook.) Since many NEFMA member institutions already have a presence on
Facebook, we should examine two of these sites:

Yelp

Yelpis
a popular online guide that helps people find places to eat, shop, drink…and
bank…based on the informed reviews offered by locals. More than 86 million
people visited Yelp during the last quarter of 2012 to help them make
decisions, and while the vast majority of reviews are positive or neutral, some
are not so kind. Yelp reviews generally rank well in search engine findings, so
financial institutions should definitely pay attention to what is being said.

Thankfully, Yelp offers free business accounts so companies can engage with
their reviewers, both publicly and privately. A good place to start is to see
if your financial institution is listed on Yelp, and then claim your profile.
Once you open an account, you can address any negative comments that might
appear in the same way you would handle a complaint on Facebook – by posting a
response that invites the person to contact you directly to discuss the issue.

Foursquare

Foursquareis
a free mobile app and website used by more than 30 million people worldwide to
document the places they’ve been and help determine where to visit next based
on recommendations of their friends and connections. Since its inception almost
five years ago, there have been more than three billion check-ins, with
millions more occurring every day.

Again, just because your financial institution hasn’t established a presence on
Foursquare, people have likely already added and checked into your branch
locations. Because users have added these locations to Foursquare on their own,
the information is not always accurate.

Even if your financial institution chooses to not claim their Foursquare
locations as their own, it is a good idea to do a regular search for new
check-ins. Visitors to your locations can also post pictures along with their
Foursquare check-ins, including photos from INSIDE the branch that could be
considered a safety and compliance risk.

Your financial institution might want to establish free location listings to
guarantee that the contact information for each branch is accurate. It will
also give you more control over the accuracy of the information shared on
Foursquare and allow you to encourage check-ins through incentives.

Not interested in having Yelp and Foursquare links prominently displayed on
your Facebook Page? You can turn off this feature by clicking “Edit Page,” then
“Update Page Info,” then “Basic Information,” and uncheck “Links to Other
Places on the Web.

Where on the web have you unexpectedly seen information about your financial
institution?


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