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Financial Institutions Warm Up Slowly to Social Media

Posted By Carie Schelfhaudt, McDougall & Duval Advertising, Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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:


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.


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?

Continue the conversation in the comments below!

Tags:  foursquare  social media  yelp 

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