Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Community Banks Using Blogging - Farmers State Bank Interview

In my opinion, the concept of a blog supports what community banks (and many small businesses) are all about... communication. An effective blog should facilitate a conversation, inspire questions and comments and provide the reader with some insight on the organization and what makes it "tick". Many businesses do this very will "in person" by talking with their customers and having these conversations face-to-face, but what about the customers (and prospects) that either never have the opportunity to see you, or may be intimidated to actually start up a conversation with you?

This is where the power of the blog comes in. It provides you (from the CEO all the way down the corporate ladder) the opportunity to speak directly to those that are interested in learning more about your organization. But the fallacy is that you have to be a larger business with resources (time and money) to do this effectively. While that's true (you do need to devote some time to this), blogging does not have to be expensive and is being done my small organizations all the time to build rapport with customers online.

Here's a good example... Can a $62 million asset, three-office, rural community bank embrace web 2.0 and use a blog and other social networking tools to build relationships with their customers online? Yes they can! I had the pleasure of speaking on this very topic with Craig Goodlock, President & CEO for Farmers State Bank with headquarters in Munith, Michigan. I captured some a nice video interview with him on my new Flip camera where he shares his thoughts. I think you'll enjoy the conversation.

In addition to being the 2009 Michigan Banker of the Year, Craig has been active in both the Michigan Bankers Association and the Michigan Association of Community Banks and plays a vital role in his local community, as any good community banker should. Check out the video below and share your comments and thoughts.

I hope you enjoyed the interview and it's inspired you to move forward in your organization, or at least take another look at blogging as one more way to connect with your customers. As you hopefully learned, you don't have to be a "big business" to start building relationships online. If you are interested in learning more and how to get started in your bank, I'm partnering with a couple of other blogging and banking experts to offer a course called Blogging for Bankers in the fall, so stay tuned. We'd love to see you online and part of our course...

Eric Cook


Suzanne McDonald said...

An excellent example of how a traditional business can effectively utilize new tools to build and reinforce relationships with customers and potential customers.

There are so many banking options out there, it's nice to get a glimpse of that institution's culture without actually having to drive over and walk in the door.

Clara said...

Great concept.

Can I suggest your site offer a way for me to opt in to an e-mail database, so I could be alerted to when you have your program up and running?

Andy Commons