Financial institutions have teams to monitor conversation surrounding their brand on news sites, blogs and especially social networks due to the incredible amount of negative press they receive. In an age when consumers are generally unhappy with the banking world, banks need constant vigilance. Corporate Insight, a financial services consulting firm, believes that banks can use Pinterest to promote their brand. But putting a bank on Pinterest is like trying to force a conversation between your mom and your banker — about cupcakes.

Victory & Reseda/Flickr source

Pinterest is a site that has been taken over by upper middle class, middle-aged women to share pictures of cats, shoes and homemaking projects. It is the third-largest social network, and it gained over 10 million users more rapidly than any site ever before. This is largely due to its rapid sharing and picture pinning appeal, and many brands, such as Whole Foods or Nordstroms, effectively utilize this platform to their advantage. However I don’t remember any bank wowing the public (or even impressing them) with their online social presence.

In fact, banks get tongue lashings all over the web, including many in our bank reviews section, for poor service, outrageous fees or simply bad performance. Banks already lack proactive responses to these and other avenues that funnel negative feedback such as Facebook and Twitter. Where is there space on Pinterest for banks to promote intangible products like a checking account or even a credit card?

Corporate Insight insists a powerful presence could includes pictures of seven different banking aspects:

  1. Retirement
  2. Savings and investment goals
  3. Credit card rewards
  4. Lifestyle such as sponsored events and other partner venues
  5. Corporate Mascots
  6. Contests such as offering rewards with the most likes or repins
  7. Charitable Giving

Really? An entire page for a corporate mascot? Which banks even have corporate mascots? Okay a bunch, but few mascots if any directly affect the brand or are recognizably related. (The KeyBank Key is the perfect example of why banks don’t need and should avoid mascots.)

While the web has come to privilege pictures and videos over text, the banking industry still lacks a hook in this arena despite the above assertion from Corporate Insight.

Which is likely why banks are essentially nonexistent on Pinterest as of now. Very few have posted anything, and the few that have pinned treat Pinterest like a storage portfolio. For example, State Bank & Trust, located in Macon, Georgia pinned some TV spots and and tagline posters. State Bank & Trust in Fargo, ND, just has three empty boards entitled “Dream Car,” “Dream Home” and “For the Home.” TD Bank and Standard Bank have claimed their Pinterest pages to protect them from getting stolen, but have not pinned anything.

The space for banks on Pinterest is limited at best. And who’s to say consumers will not utilize it to simply hate on their bank when something goes wrong? For now, they should just stick to ignoring my furious tweets about my defective mobile check deposit.

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  • jrwells5

    All I want from my bank are reliable, efficient and reasonably-priced services from an institution I can trust.  If I don’t like my bank in the real world, why I ‘Like’ them any better in social media?  I’d prefer that banks spend their money improving the quality and reliability of their basis business, and protecting my personal information from hackers, before they try to get cutesy with me online.   

    • Zachary_Ehrlich

      Banks have been slow and confused as to how to incorporate social media into their game. I agree that “likes” are getting out of hand; maybe they should focus more on bettering our online banking experience rather than their online presence.