On Tweeting with Patti Husic, an ICBA Social Media Influencer

By Ann Chen

Patricia Husic

Twitter handle: @PattiHusicCEO
Twitter followers: 330 and counting
Bank: Centric Bank, Harrisburg, Pa.
Bank assets: $304 million

While perusing Twitter, it’s very common to find Fortune 500 CEOs tweeting. However, now more than ever, one may find more community bankers reaching out in this widely accessible medium as well.

Patti Husic, president and CEO of Centric Bank in Harrisburg, Pa., is one community banker who’s doing it right. This year she was named to ICBA’s Top 25 Community Bank Influencers to Follow. The following interview is an inside look as to how she made it on this list.

How did you get started on Twitter?

Husic: I joined Twitter in 2013. Although I came late to the Twitter conversation, I now see the full value in engaging in the digital space. We need to be where our customers are and focus on the information and discussions they care about.

What qualms, if any, did you have before joining?

Husic: Originally, I had qualms about effective use of my time as an executive and the ROI of social media. I wasn’t confident I had the time to commit to a digital conversation. After many discussions with my marketing firm—which has always led by example—I consented to start my Twitter journey.

How do you come up with content ideas?

Husic: I focus on topics that I am confident sharing, which are also topics I would talk about in person—banking, accounting, financial services, leadership, women in leadership, community news, technology and health.

What topics do you feel have gained you more followers?

Husic: I’ve found it’s the relationship building and give-and-take of tweeting, retweeting and responding that gains followers. Twitter is the ultimate organic relationship-building opportunity.

How often are you tweeting?

Husic: I monitor my Twitter stream daily—even on weekends—and share and respond to tweets three or four days each week.

How much time does Twitter take for you on a daily basis?

Husic: I spend an average of 30 minutes every couple of days listening to conversations on topics meaningful to Centric Bank and me. This includes banking, leadership, STEM [science, technology, engineering, math], women in leadership, health care and information about our community.

What advice do you have for other community bankers about joining Twitter?

Husic: Do it! Community banking is about local connections and local relationships. Tweeting is one more way that I can show I’m connected to our customers and business community.

With more than 645 million users on Twitter and 2.1 billion Twitter searches every day, I guarantee many of our customers and our community members are on this social network. And it’s certainly a benefit when attracting bright, young talent when they see that the bank and the CEO have a strong online presence.

What is the biggest benefit to being a community banker who tweets?

Husic: There are many, but I’ll share three:

1. I believe “You are who Google says you are.” That means that community banks now have the power to tell their own stories, to engage customers and potential customers directly, and to add value to the communities they serve. All that “owned media” sits on Google for the world to see and read.

We want people to see our tweets about the Memorial Day Parade, the Hershey’s Farmers Market sponsorship, and our Salvation Army women’s involvement. It’s all part of our brand story and culture.

2. Every tweet is archived on Google. If a customer searches for your bank, chances are high that your Twitter content will appear on page one. We call that Google Gold.

3. Twitter gives us insight into customer conversations and topics we would not otherwise know about. And it’s a powerful tool to engage with the media and to be sourced for comments and quotes on banking articles and stories. There’s no business advantage for a bank to be invisible to its customers.

What useful connections or business has resulted from your tweeting?

Husic: I have had content shared by our business journal, and we have been included in tweets from other media and TV anchors. The bank’s Twitter stream provided continuous safety information during Hurricane Sandy to our affected counties using the hashtag #SandyCenPA, and I’ve made many professional connections with ICBA and other industry trade groups including women in banking and those interested in STEM.

Even with my tweets, I really try to be a good role model for young women considering the banking industry as a career.

Have you connected with anyone particularly influential because of Twitter?

Husic: Yes, I connected with the American Banker newspaper’s editorial team through its Most Powerful Women in Banking program (#MPWIB). It’s also been a privilege to connect on Twitter with ICBA leadership, local and state policymakers, and banking teams throughout the country.

Ann Chen (ann.chen@icba.org) is ICBA’s director, social media engagement. Follow her on Twitter @AnnJ_Chen.