- More than eight in 10 banks believe the use of social media is important to their institution and 87% are very or somewhat active on their social media accounts, according to the results of a survey by the American Bankers Association.
- The report, released Thursday, found that banks' use of social media platforms is maturing, with 40% of financial institutions saying their bank has used social media for five years or more, up from 25% two years ago.
- Only 3% of respondents said their banks do not use social media but plan to adopt it in the next year or two, and only 3% have no plans to use any social media platform.
ABA said it collected survey data from more than 430 U.S. banks of all sizes, ranging from those with less than $500 million in assets to those with more than $100 billion.
84% of respondents said they "agree" or "strongly agree" that social media are important, up from 76% in a parallel study conducted by the trade association in 2016.
The survey found 13% of banks are dormant or not very active on their social media accounts. Two years ago, 27% described themselves as being "light users or absent."
Banks are also looking to boost investment in social media, with 52% of respondents saying they plan to increase spending on social media resources this year, according to the survey. An additional 8% said they plan to significantly increase that budget.
Nearly one-third, 31%, said they were planning to hold the budget steady, and less than 1% planned to decrease social media budgets, according to the report.
"I've noted the maturity of banks engaging with social channels and how that's been evolving," Denyette DePierro, regulatory counsel at ABA, said in the report. "Ten years ago, there was a lot of hesitation about engaging on social channels. There was even a level of discomfort with developing content, being open to customer complaints on a social channel, and a lot of questions around compliance — how to take rules that were written for TV, print and radio and reinterpret them for social media and digital communications."
According to the survey, 68% of respondents said their bank's use of social media was reviewed in their last regulatory exam, with regulators paying special attention to policies and procedures (90%), monitoring (78%), use of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) logo (61%) and employee training (44%).
"Regulators are becoming more aware about social media," said Michelle Barone-Lepore, senior vice president of marketing at Rhinebeck Bank in upstate New York, who was quoted in the report. "As long as you have strong procedures of your marketing approval process, you advertise cautiously and you make sure you are complying with banking regulations, you should be able to mitigate most risks associated with social media advertising."