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Banking on brilliance: M&T Bank's social media triumph

M&T Bank
Financial Services
Company Size

The Challenge

M&T Bank needed a technology solution that would enable a sophisticated social media strategy. The bank's goal was to effectively communicate its vibrant company culture, community contributions, commitment to shareholder value, and dedication to providing an exceptional customer experience.

Headquartered in Buffalo, New York, M&T Bank is a financial holding company that is deeply committed to its community. M&T’s principal banking subsidiary, M&T Bank, provides banking products and services in 12 states across the eastern U.S., from Maine to Virginia and Washington D.C. Trust-related services are provided in select markets in the U.S. and abroad by M&T’s Wilmington Trust-affiliated companies and by M&T Bank.

With more than 700 branches across the eastern United States, the institution has thrived since its establishment in 1856, owing its enduring success to the personal relationships it fosters with customers. In late 2020, the bank welcomed Shannon Truax as senior vice president of social media. Her mission: to craft a sophisticated social media strategy that would empower the bank to share compelling narratives about its vibrant company culture, its impactful contributions to the communities it serves, its commitment to delivering shareholder value — and its unwavering dedication to providing a fantastic customer experience.

The Solution

M&T Bank implemented Sprinklr Social and Sprinklr Insights.

This evolution is possible because of the sophistication that Sprinklr provides: help with safety, sophistication, precision, accuracy and hard, quantifiable metrics. I don't think anybody else in the marketplace provides that level of peace of mind, customer service and robust data engineering.

Shannon Truax
Shannon Truax,
Senior Vice President of Social Media
, M&T Bank

When Truax began working at the bank, she was thrilled to see that it had already implemented Sprinklr for publishing and customer service. But she soon identified an opportunity to enhance and expand its use of both Sprinklr Social and Sprinklr Insights. Reporting to the head of external communications and public relations, Truax crafted a strategic land-and-expand approach for the bank’s social media program. She set her sights, first, on elevating the quality of social content and storytelling. Next, she shifted her attention to empowering employees to amplify the brand with Advocacy. Now, she is focused on deepening the bank’s social listening program to deliver valuable insights to diverse business units.

“One of the things I love most about my job is making it cool to follow a bank on social,” explains Truax. “My team and I work across the enterprise to mine for authentic stories that put our customers in the spotlight and excite our employees to be advocates, while mitigating risk and showing that we’re attuned to what’s going on in the marketplace and with our customers.”

Transforming social content and storytelling 
When Truax arrived at M&T, the bank was already active on social media and leveraging Social Publishing & Engagement from Sprinklr Social. But Truax saw an opportunity to create a more coherent and systematic approach that would drive good storytelling and authentic engagement across LinkedIn, Facebook, X and YouTube — as well as on Instagram, which she launched for the bank.

“When I joined the team, my mission was to craft a compelling narrative and to ensure that our content resonated authentically,” says Truax. People often skip over ads on social and are averse to self-serving content, she explains. “So, my approach involves a strategic repositioning of our content to align with our key pillars — and for our storytelling to be engaging and beautiful and exciting and inspiring."

To that end, Truax has re-oriented M&T’s social content around a core tenet of good storytelling: show, don’t tell. 
“We're not simply ‘proud to support Black History Month,’” she explains. “Instead, we showcase how we support our Black communities, and we celebrate them by introducing our beloved customers and employees and letting them tell their stories.”  

Sprinklr also helps M&T Bank to navigate the complexities of social media in a regulated financial services industry. A meticulous approval process ensures compliance with industry regulations, enhances bank security, and instills confidence in auditors by ensuring errors are caught before content goes live.

Amplifying brand and driving engagement with employee advocacy
Once Truax had refined M&T's social media strategy for more authentic and engaging storytelling, she then tackled the bank’s employee advocacy program. She knew that employees had the potential to make a substantial impact by extending the reach of the bank’s social content by amplifying the brand on their own social accounts. They could be a mouthpiece for M&T in a way that corporate social accounts never could. So she restructured the program to align with specific objectives — and went after it. She set up tagging in Sprinklr to help organize content and make it simpler for employees to find and share content that aligns with their interests and enables her to easily run performance reports. She also set up regular training sessions for employees and even took part in a fireside chat at a company town hall to discuss the importance of the program.
“We don’t get significant earned reach without Sprinklr Advocacy,” explains Truax. “Over the last year, Advocacy has grown to a point where our employees are driving more engagement on LinkedIn than our corporate social channels.”
Social listening for content alignment
Truax’s next step was to set up social listening dashboards within Sprinklr to ensure the bank is always attuned both to important cultural moments and to the financial industry's ever-evolving dynamics.  

"Our role is not just to put out content, amplify it, and measure its reach,” explains Truax. “Social listening serves as our guiding compass. It elevates the overall value of our efforts in social media and puts us in a significantly more refined and strategic position.” 

Insights from social listening don’t just drive content decisions, she says. They also enable the bank to respond quickly to emerging customer conversations. Truax has set up what is essentially an AI-powered system to identify viral, industry-related conversations in real-time, 24/7. This empowers the bank to take immediate, informed actions, such as issuing press releases or facilitating media appearances by its executives to respond to stakeholder questions and concerns. 

Truax says the bank has only just begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible with social listening. Daily listening reports on the financial, political, regulatory, and competitive climate are already bolstering M&T Bank's decision-making processes across teams. They also help improve customer experience in real life.  
“Just the other day, our communications team developed talking points based on something we saw in our listening dashboard, and delivered them to the frontline in the field,” says Truax. “Our branches are now better informed because of social listening, and this enables us to bring that exceptional customer experience full circle.”

The Outcome

Truax's strategic vision has transformed M&T Bank's approach to social content and storytelling, aligning it with a more purposeful and customer-centric narrative.

By emphasizing the importance of "show, don't tell," the bank has shifted from merely announcing its support to actively showcasing its impact on communities, customers and employees, ushering in a new era of authentic and engaging social media interactions. 

Truax has made the program more intelligent and impactful because she recognizes that social media extends beyond content distribution. This evolution incorporates sophisticated reporting, employee advocacy, and social listening, ensuring a comprehensive and effective strategy that goes beyond traditional content posting. 

“This evolution is because of the sophistication that Sprinklr provides,” Truax says. “Help with safety, sophistication, precision, accuracy and hard, quantifiable metrics. I don't think anybody else in the marketplace provides that level of peace of mind, customer service and robust data engineering.”