You may know that social media is driving personal relationships… but you may not be as familiar with how it can drive professional relationships. In my personal life, I use social media platforms such as Facebook to communicate with friends, brag about my son, and to organize a quick happy hour with high school friends. It’s allowed me to keep in better contact with family, get back in touch with people I had lost contact with, and it’s even helped me make new friends. And, I’m up to date on the offerings of local businesses that I’ve given a “like” to. Social Media is here to stay. If you aren’t taking advantage of this inexpensive and effective way to engage with your customers, potential customers and your community at large, it’s definitely a missed opportunity. A BIG missed opportunity!
At Murphy & Company, we deal with thousands of banks and credit unions across the country every year. It’s hard to offer one answer to the all important question of “How does my bank/credit union best use social media?” The first step in helping you find your answer is to look offline – yes, offline. If you are the type of bank/credit union who sponsors many events, has the big banner on the center-field wall at the local ball park, but have not added or updated a social media strategy lately — that goal should move up to the top of your to-do list. The second indication is the social media activity in your community. If local restaurants are looking to social media to help book tables and attain positive reviews, you should consider how creating social media pages will help you attract and maintain customer relationships.
So, how can social media help you, in your role as a marketer for a bank or credit union? Think about the number of times a day you personally engage with Social Media. I’m sure you are noticing more and more business postings on your feeds, some paid for, but many being posted by businesses that want to show you the products and services they offer, and invite you to “like” them so they can continue that engagement. Sure, you can pay for traditional forms of media placement, and incur some hefty bills doing that. Compare the costs of your traditional media budget to that of running an effective social media program. Much less expensive, and in many cases, much more effective.
Another confusing decision: what social media platforms to utilize. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumbler… which ones are best to establish your online presence? I personally recommend beginning with Facebook and LinkedIn, as they cover a majority of the audience. I They are also pretty easy to maintain on a daily basis. Should you do more than just Facebook and LinkedIn? The first part of the answer is how much time can the marketing team spend managing the platforms. Unlike a direct mailing or traditional newspaper advertising, you have to maintain your social media efforts continuously.
Why not get a head start, establishing your social media channels right now? We advise all of our clients to set up a calendar of items to post each week, and intermix postings about your products with helpful tidbits. Are you hosting an informational meeting on retirement savings? Offering a great mortgage rate? Have special programs beneficial to small businesses? Or, does one of your tellers have a great recipe for banana bread that your customers might enjoy? All reasons to post and enhance your relationships with your customers. One banking services provider is starting a debit card fee this year… but waiving the fee if the customer likes their Facebook page and refers a friend. What an incentive to help you grow your customer base!
Those postings make you a trusted friend in the eye of the consumer. They drive loyalty, strengthen relationships, and provide the customer an opportunity to ask questions easily or make their customer service needs known.