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How to get your feet wet in social media (without freaking out your compliance department)

Hint: Start by listening, not saying a single solitary social word

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  • By  Katie Segner of SpiritBank
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How to get your feet wet in social media (without freaking out your compliance department)

Before our bank even looked into moving into social media, we began to monitor what was being said about us online. This includes not only what is being said about us on social networking sites, but what is being said about us in the newspaper, on blogs and, really, any part of the internet.

While monitoring what people are saying about your bank sounds both expensive and overwhelming, the systems we use are actually free and take pretty much zero effort once they are set up.

Below are my recommendations on some free online tools to monitor your brand:

1. Sign up for Google Alerts

Google Alerts are one of the easiest ways to monitor your brand. You enter keywords that are important to your bank and either in real time or once a day (you choose!), you receive an email when your keyword has been mentioned online.

It is worth noting, though, that Google Alerts only cover items that would show up in a Google search. You likely won’t catch a Facebook rant (or rave) through these. We’ll talk about those later.

To sign up, just click here and set up an alert. The whole process takes less than 1 minute.

I have included a screen shot below of the defaults I prefer to get me the most information in the quickest way.
I love a visual, so here is an example of what an email alert would include:

Helpful Google Alert tips:

1. My bank, SpiritBank, is spelled all as one word; however, most people posting about the bank will post using two words, so I have another alert set up for “spirit bank.” So if you are a First National Bank, you may also want to set up an alert for 1st National Bank, since the web crawler will only identify the exact words that you use. (Further proof that computers will not be taking over all of our jobs anytime soon.)

2. You may also want to set up an alert for your CEO, your mascot, or another figure in the bank. It is nice to know if your CEO has had an accomplishment that you want to share with your bankers.
2. Get Twilerts (not to be confused with Twihards, fans of the movie Twilight)

Twilerts are similar to Google Alerts in that you set up an alert for a keyword that is emailed to you daily. The difference, though, is that these monitor what is being said about your bank on Twitter.

Twilerts cannot be set up for real-time like Google Alerts, so I chose mine to be delivered at 11 p.m. each evening so that I can see them first thing when I come in each morning.

The alerts include the full tweet and the initiator of the tweet:
You have two ways you can sign up for Twilerts, through either your Google or Twitter login. If you do not currently have a Twitter account, it is easy to sign up through Google.

(For those that already have a Google or Twitter account, skip the next paragraph.)

If you do not currently have a Google Account, go to: This link will allow you to create a Google Account with your bank email address. Just enter the required information and create your account. You will use this email and password to sign up for Twilerts.

The next step is to sign up for Twilerts by visiting this site:
-    Under box #1, connect through either your Google or Twitter Account.
-    Under box #2, include your search word, when you would like to receive your email alert and then hit “Create Twilert.”
-    Repeat for each keyword.
3. Remain Kurrent(ly)

The last resource for monitoring social media that we use is This site is different from the others in that it searches Facebook mentions in addition to Twitter. The downside of this site is that you cannot set up email alerts. You have to go to the site each day to monitor your brand.

The site’s look is similar to Google:
You just enter your keywords and the results are listed.

My search for SpiritBank only included items that were already included in my Twilerts, so for illustration purposes, I used a Kurrently screen print from a few months ago.

We annually hold an annual entrepreneurial spirit competition and use Kurrently to track the media mentions on social networks. The competition name is pretty long, so for the below, I used the most common words that people would use to post about the competition.

As you can see, the icons indicate whether the item including your keyword was posted on Facebook or Twitter and you can get a great idea of who is talking about your brand online.
The Neverending Story
As you know, social media is ever-changing (remember MySpace?) so new tracking tools and social networking sites will always be on the horizon. Take some time every few months and do a quick search for tools that you think might help you manage your social media monitoring better.

And for those of you who have other social networking tracking tools that you use, I and readers would love to hear more about them. Please post your favorite monitoring tools, tips, and tricks in the comments section below.
Last week Katie Segner of SpiritBank, Bristow, Okla., reviewed Customer Experience Without Borders: A Practical Guide To Social Media In Financial Services. We mention that by way of background. Before we could even put out our e-letter for the week, or even tweet about Katie’s review, her bank had seen the posting. We asked how the bank had locked onto the review so fast, and what Katie told us sounded helpful to banks getting ready to dip their toes into social media simply by listening. Here is Katie’s report.
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