Why are people so against social media

10 reasons against social media

Pixelio.de / Gerd Altmann

There are many good reasons for including social media in a credit institution's strategy. However, there are also solid reasons why you should keep your hands off social media.


I recently had the opportunity to give an exciting lecture by Frank Roth (Head of Corporate Communications at ERGO Direkt Versicherung)

to hear about experiences of using social media. I found the 10 reasons he mentioned, which suggest that it is best to avoid using social media in your own company, particularly exciting.

I am happy to take the opportunity to take a closer look at these 10 points and examine their relevance for banks and savings banks.

When you should refrain from using social media

1. When your board of directors still thinks social media is a hype that is going away.

Yes, these board members are still far too common and they are not only board members but often also executives on the level below.

All of you would like to take a look at Brett King's article, “It's Social Media Time: A Wake Up Call for Bankers”.

But social media (like everything else) only works if the company management is behind it. Only then can it be guaranteed that the necessary resources and the attention required for the topic are available. That is why I have already pointed out elsewhere that social media is a “top priority”.

2. You have to coordinate a "Hello Kai, thank you for your great praise" post with the board of directors, the head of communications and the head of sales.

Banks are at least as hierarchical as insurance companies. Social media, on the other hand, are free of hierarchies and also work in real time. Therefore, the employees responsible for social media use also need the appropriate freedom to be able to do their job properly (which, incidentally, basically applies to all other areas). Great coordination requirements slow down and hinder more than would serve the matter.

3. When the marketing, sales and communications department is scrambling to take responsibility for social media channels, but has not budgeted for it.

Exciting, because two points are addressed here: firstly, the question of who should be responsible for social media use, and secondly, how high a budget has to be for it.

It is correct that social media is an overarching task and, depending on the type of application, it can be enough to become an independent sales channel. A clear assignment of responsibility is therefore just as important as the provision of personnel and resources. How else should a company be able to react 24 hours a day?

4. When your colleagues at Post are still thinking about the postman.

Certainly this point is spiced with irony. Whether I say “post” or “article” is not important. It is more important to take all employees with you and explain the importance of this new channel to them correctly.

5. If you immediately trigger the "Shitstorm" alarm in the event of a negative post.

A former director of Deutsche Bank once said to me that "strength lies in calm". At the time I was 31 and I didn't really like “calm”, but rather saw the opportunities that lie in quick changes. Today I see it a little more relaxed. Fast reaction: yes, fast overreaction: no. You have to be able to endure something. Often enough, your own fans come to your aid anyway.

6. You consistently delete negative comments.

There are more than you might think. For example, I myself find the publication policy in the Spiegel forum very remarkable. There it happened to me more than once that statements critical of Spiegel were not activated by the moderator. Personally, I call this censorship, of all things from a medium that supposedly appears to advocate freedom of the press and freedom of expression so vehemently. I have also seen my posts deleted several times on Facebook, interestingly also there, especially on press pages.

If I really want to exchange and discuss things via social media channels, then I am generally not allowed to suppress comments, let alone critical ones. (Those that are insulting or abusive of the law, however.) Social media thrives on the honest exchange of different opinions. A good example in the banking sector is the policy of DiBa, which explicitly allowed a discussion on the following Dirk Nowitzki commercial on its Facebook page, initiated by vegetarians and vegans.


7. Only discuss trolls, former employees and the competition on your Facebook channel.

Not nice, but it happens. It is important to inspire enough real fans with attractive content to contribute content themselves.

8. You want to put three technical terms in a 140-character tweet.

In general, it doesn't make much sense to try to sell the latest savings or loan product on social media anyway. The form of happy hour may be an exception. Postbank offers its fans regular special offers on its Facebook page under this name and claims to have had good experiences with them.

While social media is a sales channel, it is not a primary sales channel. It is important to build trust and relationships, as I described some time ago in the article “The 6 steps of the social media ladder for banks”. The deal is usually the logical next step.

9. Your social media policy is more than 50 pages long.

The social media guideline should be short and concise and not a “manual on the correct use and application of social media with special consideration of auditing and regulatory restrictions”. Is one page really enough? I'm not so sure about that, as compliance issues also have to be considered in banks. But of course: the spice lies in brevity.

If your bank has a social media guideline that does not fall under the heading "confidential", I would be very happy to receive it. At the next opportunity I would give a kind of “best of breed” summary.

10. When your YouTube videos go viral because they are so bad.

As already mentioned, it generally depends on the content and, of course, from the perspective of the users and customers, it should of course be of high quality and linked to the most concrete possible benefit. And it is also clear that you would rather score with a good than a terrible social media presence.

However, as is well known, one can argue excellently about taste and quality. This certainly also applies to many a film on YouTube.


There are also pitfalls in the world of social media that make a lot of sense to be aware of. Whether every single one of them is a “show stopper” or whether several of the above points have to come together is certainly an issue in itself.

Where do you see potential reasons that speak against the use of social media? I am looking forward to read your comments.