Social Media Marketing

Many banks and credit unions have been slow to adopt to Social Media. In talking with CEO’s and Branch Managers, the common reason seems to be that we are regulated, and the fear of negative criticism. Unfortunately neither one hold much water. Throughout the course of our history, we’ve had satisfied and unsatisfied customers. These customers have always spread the word to their friends and associates. What has changed…is the platform in allowing you to do this more quickly and effectively.

I ask one simple question for those who are not out on social media. If someone has a negative experience with your company, and they spread this via Social Media, how will you respond?

Think of Dell, Nestle, Domino’s Pizza. They all got blasted by their customers in Social Media, yet none of the companies had a presence in social media.  Those companies got creamed, lost millions of dollars in sales. Michael Dell when it happened, called an immediate weekend meeting of all his top executives. Today, they are a great example of how to conduct Social Media. One of their division sells $7 million dollars worth of computers via their Twitter account.

Other banks and credit unions have been doing social media successfully for the past couple of years. They recognize that the younger demographics they are trying to attract are on Social Media daily. As more and more people have smartphones, more are accessing their financial institutions via their smartphone.

How will you keep up? At what point will it be too late to get in the Social Media Game? The key is to develop a solid social media policy. Here are some tips.

1. All policies need to address what’s in it for the reader/user

What should the reader take away after reading the policy? One of the common themes I kept coming across in introductions to social media policies is the idea that the policy should focus on the things that employees can rather than what they can’t do. For those of us who have experience writing policies, this is a real paradigm shift.

But that’s the spirit of social media — it’s all about leveraging the positive.

2. Who is responsible for conducting Social Media?

Clearly define this persons role in Social Media. Be sure that you monitor what they do, how they are doing it. Have a secondary backup for usernames and passwords. I can’t tell you how many times I work with companies who had an employee leave, and the user name and password went with them, locking them out of ALL their Social Media accounts.

3. What Social Media platforms work best?

Assess what Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, YouTube, and Google+ that your customers are best reached. Then lay out a clear goals/objectives strategy to move forward and monitor. Be very clear about your goals/objectives, but be Flexible about the process to get you there.

4. Respect copyrights and fair use

This should be a no-brainer, but just in case: always give people proper credit for their work, and make sure you have the right to use something with attribution before you publish.

5. Protect confidential & proprietary info

Being transparent doesn’t mean giving out Coca Colas recipe or the recipe for McDonald’s Big Mac special sauce.

“Employers may fail to make employees aware of any obligation they may have to protect confidential or proprietary information.” Transparency doesn’t give employees free rein to share just anything.

Therefore, employees who share confidential or proprietary information do so at the risk of losing their job and possibly even ending up a defendant in a civil lawsuit. At the very least, companies will seriously question the judgment of an employee who shares confidential or proprietary information via social media. It’s a good idea to make sure all of this is clearly laid out in your social media policy.

6. Assess time commitment

Current research shows that it takes at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours per day to make it effective. It is not a silver bullet. Although these platforms are free, the time spent by an employee or employees costs money. In the future, it will be the responsibility of ALL employees to implement Social Media. Zappos the shoe and clothing online company has all 1,000+ employees out on twitter. They are obsessed with Customer Service and it shows in their Social Media efforts across all platforms.

7. Be authentic

Include your name and, when appropriate, your company name and your title. Consumers buy from people that they know and trust, so let people know who you are.

Your thoughts on why banks, credit unions and financial institutions are slow to adopt to Social Media?


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