Mercantile ranks among banks best in social media
Its employee-produced videos on YouTube are clever and entertaining.
The Independent Community Bankers of America has included Mercantile Bank in Grand Rapids on its second annual list of the Top 50 Community Bank Leaders in Social Media.
Mercantile uses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn and has a blog on its website written by a variety of its department managers, but it could be that it is the bank’s YouTube videos that are garnering the most attention from the digital world.
Mercantile’s big YouTube hit so far “stars” former employee David Tilley and was filmed at the Mercantile Monster Mash in Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids in summer 2012. At the event, Tilley energetically and entertainingly teaches everybody how to do Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance. (Search YouTube for “Learn the Thriller Dance – step-by-step instructional event.”)
To date, there are more than 9,000 hits on the video, which the bank’s employees produced themselves.
“It’s a lot of fun to make the videos,” said Monica Kreiger, Mercantile’s marketing team leader. “It gets us out of the office,” she added, laughing.
Another employee production worth the trip to YouTube is “Cattle Banking – Employee Video Contest Winner.” It was the result of a “who can write the best commercial” contest the bank held for its employees. The winner was Kevin DeVries and the employees shot it, although it looks like a real, and very comical, television commercial.
Tilley also stars in a series of videos called “David and Winston” — Winston being a puppet. Those can be seen at www.youtube.com/mercbankmi.
Mercantile’s new creative media specialist is Zach Roth, who has “taken over the reins of our video production these days and also posts the majority of our Facebook posts,” said Kreiger.
Kreiger said the bank first got active in social media with the Facebook account it opened in 2009, and it is still “where we reach the most people” on social media.
The bank is involved in a lot of community service events, which it promotes via social media. One is its Giving Together program, in which the public is invited to vote for its favorite nonprofit organizations in West Michigan, once each quarter. The organization with the most votes receives a $5,000 donation from Mercantile Bank.
The investment in social media is mainly employee time, and they do strive to keep things updated on the social media accounts. But Mercantile really isn’t using social media for commercial advertising, according to Kreiger. It is done more “as a way to show our more personal side and to interact with the community.”
Banks selected for the Top 50 in Social Media by ICBA include just one other Michigan bank: Chemical Bank, based in Midland.
“Consumers are expecting their financial institutions to have strong brand identity online. These top community banks and bankers understand that building a brand goes beyond just a physical presence. They consistently introduce fresh content and interact with their customers,” said ICBA Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Chris Lorence.
“ICBA is proud to highlight these community banks and bankers who are making social media an integral part of their brand and communications strategy. We congratulate them on their success.”
Nearly 6,500 community banks were eligible to be part of ICBA’s list. They were chosen based on their engagement with fans and followers, the content distributed on their social media platforms, the number of fans and/or followers they have, and the frequency of posting new content. Several of the community banks featured on the list will be profiled in September’s issue of “ICBA Independent Banker.”
There are nearly 2,500 banks that have a Facebook and Twitter presence, including more than 1,700 on Facebook alone. Of all the banks that have Facebook pages, more than half are banks that have between $100 million and $500 million in assets.
To view the 50 community banks and another top 25 list of Community Bank Influencers on Twitter, visit www.icba.org/smleaders.
The Independent Community Bankers of America bills itself as the nation’s voice for more than 6,500 community banks of all sizes and charter types.