Your Bank Hasn’t Earned the Right to be on LinkedIn

By Mark Zmarzly, SVP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing

A few weeks back I decided it was time to write a blog post on “How Banks Can Best Use LinkedIn.” But then Jeffry Pilcher at TheFinancialBrand.com wrote this great post: 12 Steps Financial Marketers Can Take To Get The Most From Their LinkedIn Page.

Like most things at TheFinancialBrand.com, it was very comprehensive and informative. So there went my post. I guess I’ll just write about Grumpy Cat again.

But then I thought, do banks belong on LinkedIn? I don’t mean that from a simplistic point of view, I meant that from a philosophical stance. Have they earned the right to be involved in social selling? The answer is no…not yet.

As I have more and more conversations with bankers, investment peeps, realtors, and others in consultative sales, I’m convinced that bankers don’t understand the power of LinkedIn. I don’t believe they know what it means to have a holistic brand that is consistent online and offline and that is centered on delivering focused, relevant, buyer-centered content and assistance. That’s what social selling is about. That’s what LinkedIn is about!  

Forgive me if my soapbox is too high, but I’ve been involved with the selling and marketing of banking products for eight years – holy crap? Is that right? I’m not that old!!!! – and it seems as if many, many, many bankers out there like to believe that the Internet was never invented. They seem to think of themselves as keepers and disseminators of information. And by this I mean they tell people about their products and hand out brochures.

They say they “get mobile” but most think of these channels as new methods to disseminate info, not as part of a revolutionary shift in the balance of sales power and processes.

If you want to better understand how much the sales process and environment has changed in the last decade, please read To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink. One of Pink’s main points is the value of content curation within the new sales environment.

If you don’t understand curation, you don’t know the true value of LinkedIn.  And if you don’t curate, you’re missing out on an unmet need in today’s financial customer. Quite frankly, most of you are missing this.   

Your bank must embrace the role of curating financial information in the lives of its customers and prospects before you can fully realize the power of LinkedIn. Until then, you will only be able to establish a presence but never a meaningful impact.

I’ll talk more about this in a future post and upcoming webinar. If you have specific questions (or gripes) please connect with me before then.

About Mark Zmarzly:
Mark Zmarzly is SVP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing, and an accomplished marketing, business development, banking, and creative professional with demonstrated success solving customer acquisition, marketing, and profitability problems. He has worked with financial institutions from 1 branch up to 1,700+ branches in the areas of marketing, copywriting, account management, consulting, teaching, social media, and business development.
You can find his insights on issues facing the financial industry at http://ihelpbanks.com/ and on Twitter @BankMarketing. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markzmarzly.
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3 comments to Your Bank Hasn’t Earned the Right to be on LinkedIn

  • Great post and I agree. Unlike Twitter, where I believe discussions are the most important, Facebook and LinkedIn can be powerful sales tools if used correctly as you state.

    I think, similar to Facebook (and the web experience) LinkedIn is all about engaging content with personalization and linkage to application processes. As I mentioned in a recent Bank Marketing Strategy post and will again shortly, I think this is where short form videos with links can be powerful.

    That said, LinkedIn is an unneeded distraction unless managed correctly (as you said). I believe it’s about prioritization. If your web property is weak, if you don’t have a simple online account opening/application process or don’t have a strong digital marketing strategy (including retargeting), don’t extend into another social channel and do so poorly.

    Presence is no longer enough.

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