Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Banking on Social Media: SA Client Rockland Trust is Ahead of the Curve

Schneider Associates’ client Rockland Trust has built its business on relationships. “Where each relationship matters” is etched onto its logo, a permanent reminder of the importance the Massachusetts bank places upon getting to know and serve its customers. While some banks are hesitant to dip their toes into the social media waters, Rockland Trust got an early start and, as a result, the bank is reaching an audience it otherwise might have missed.

Rockland Trust launched its Facebook and Twitter platforms in 2009 to promote its programs, services and community initiatives. It was a big step for the bank, as other institutions hesitated to test social media because of compliance issues and heavy regulations. As Lisa van der Pool mentioned in her recent Boston Business Journal article, social media managers at area banks face a daunting task when seeking content approval, since a Tweet or status update may need to be reviewed by multiple people.

Despite these concerns, Rockland Trust has found that the benefits of using social media outweigh the challenges. Fostering and nurturing one-to-one connections and conversations with customers has positively impacted business and complements the bank’s traditional marketing.

At Schneider Associates, we believe social media should be a component of every integrated marketing and communications campaign.  For our client, Rockland Trust, social media has enabled them to:

1.)   Give customers a portal to share their feedback.

Customers can ask questions, make suggestions and share anecdotes on Rockland Trust’s Twitter page. As noted in the BBJ article, Rockland Trust corresponded with one of its customers who was expecting via Twitter.  When she had her baby, Rockland Trust sent her a Rockland Trust “onesie.”  This kind of personal interaction is invaluable and allows the bank to create, develop and sustain relationships.

2.)  Create mutually beneficial relationships with customers.

Fostering trust with customers is critical when you are a bank. Engaging with customers on Facebook and Twitter allows Rockland Trust to personalize its service by providing information and customer service that is useful and accessible.

3.) Build a community that extends beyond customers.

Rockland Trust’s Facebook and Twitter profiles also serve as platforms to communicate about its charitable initiatives. For example, this holiday season, Rockland Trust is donating $1 for every new like on its Facebook Career page to the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, which provides education and job training to Roxbury residents.

As the social media landscape continues to change and companies develop new ways to market and communicate with consumers, financial services brands like Rockland Trust will have to continually monitor and leverage social media channels while being cognizant of the complex compliance and regulatory environment. By ensuring that its marketing, social media and legal teams work hand-in-hand, Rockland Trust can continue to build its brand in social media, engage with its target audiences and deepen relationships with customers and influencers.

Carolyn Tillo, Account Coordinator for the Corporate & Nonprofit Practice

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