Social media, it’s a broad term used to describe communication, with groups or crowds on electronic platforms. So who wouldn’t want to communicate?

Turns out, many.


Is it fear of the unknown? Is it a concern about compliance issues?  Is it a preconceived notion about what type of information people share?  Is it a waste of time? All of the above?

Bank of Ann Arbor has a different take.

We believe that communication, in any form, is part of our definition of banking. In 2008 we made a clear decision to embrace our customer communication where they are, not where we want them to be.  We listen, engage, and support people in the communities we serve. Using platforms like Twitter and Facebook allows the bank and our colleagues the opportunity to travel with our Followers, support their charities, and help build their business too.

Social media engagement needs to be supported from the top.  For any company or organization to be effective there has to be sincere buy-in.  Do CEO’s ghost tweet?  Likely.  But the voice is insincere and can sound more like advertising than true communication.

I Tweet, participate in Twitter Chats, and post on Facebook.  I share insights about banking, congratulate colleagues, Retweet important community events, Like pictures of colleagues and friends, and send out birthday wishes.  Folks who Follow me can see photos of my family, learn about my education, and know when I wear jeans to work.

And, that’s just the half of it.

I communicate and join conversations whether it’s answering questions, addressing concerns, or adding my perspective.  I Follow others and learn from them.

It’s important for me to be in the conversation and have created an atmosphere where not only the bank embraces it but our colleagues at the bank do as well.

Interestingly enough, a survey by Social Media Review cited 92% of marketers said that social media use was important to their business but 22% have used it less than 12 months and another 22% said only 1 to 2 years.  Why?  In the same survey, only 42% of all respondents say that they can measure social activities.  You can conclude that the other 50% in the survey who use social media know its valuable but can’t clearly articulate why.

The social media landscape is a bit like small fires.  One pops up, gets hot, and then is snuffed out.  Another one pops up and so on.  Bank of Ann Arbor has successfully kept up with the pulse of where the conversation is and joins in.  Being recognized by our industry as a leader encourages us to continue to seek out new ways to maintain that leadership position.

Ian Altman wrote a great article in Forbes titled Why Your Business Must Embrace Social Media Yesterday.  The article was well written and the conclusion was spot on,

History is repeating itself. Only instead of ‘phone’ or ‘email,’ we call it ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook.’ If you ignore customers on social media, it’s like not answering your ringing customer service line.

In order for bank team members to be able to answer that new ringing phone, they need to have support from the top. So my advice for bank executives wondering if they should be on it is, “yes, get on and start showing them how it’s done!”

Do you agree? Let us know what you think in the comments below!