OCTOBER 17, 2016
FMS Quick Poll: Social Media
By Financial Managers Society

What constitutes a “community?”

Whereas a clear designator such as geographic proximity might have definitively answered that question in the past, the notion isn’t quite as clearly cut these days. The explosive growth of social media has redefined both what a community is and where it is – shifts that are proving profound for personal and business relationships alike.

What is the impact on a community institution, for example, if the community it serves begins to migrate to the virtual world of social media? How does a bank or credit union continue to reach out to its community to connect, communicate and engage when those customers are more likely to log on than walk in? We were curious as to how FMS members were using social media and how it was affecting engagement with their customers. With close to 125 responses in our latest Quick Poll, it certainly appears as though members are attempting to reach out to their customers via social media, but the details lie in the degree to which they are committed to that effort.

Of the 122 respondents in the poll – 104 from banks and 18 from credit unions – 56% consider their institution to be either a highly active (multiple posts per week, dedicated staff, regular interaction with customers) or somewhat active (a post at least every week, occasional interaction with customers) social media user (see Figure I). Meanwhile, 21% of poll participants maintain a social media presence but don’t consider themselves particularly active, and 23% aren’t on social media at all, for reasons ranging from compliance concerns to lack of resources to a belief that their customers just aren’t interested.

FMS Quick Poll

For those who have chosen to maintain a social media presence, has the effort proven fruitful in terms of engaging their communities? The answer is somewhat, but perhaps not as much as they would like. Only 7% of respondents describe the level of interaction with their customers via social media as vibrant, while 36% consider their social media efforts worthwhile but not a terribly high priority, and another 30% note that their customers rarely engage with the institution on social media (see Figure II).

FMS Quick Poll

In terms of where FMS members spend their time and resources on social media, Facebook is far and away the most frequently utilized platform at 44% among poll respondents (see Figure III), followed by LinkedIn (24%) and Twitter (19%). Members see far less value, however, in posting photos to Instagram or videos on YouTube (6% each).

Across these and other platforms, poll respondents are clearly trying to highlight their standing in their communities, with 36% frequently sharing local news and events (see Figure IV). Another common social media use is posting basic announcements regarding branch hours, closings, etc. (29%), while less common uses include product promotions (20%) and personal finance advice/articles (14%).

FMS Quick Poll

Responses across asset sizes were fairly consistent, though larger institutions ($500 million and up) reported greater levels of social media interaction with their customers than their smaller peers. It is interesting, however, that even among the larger institutions a “vibrant” level of engagement was hard to come by.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in our latest FMS Quick Poll. If you didn’t have a chance to complete the poll, be sure to weigh in with your views on social media in the comments section below or on FMS Connect!