All the social media talk over the years has credit unions striving for the same dream: members tweeting, pinning, posting and generally just buzzing about the amazing experience at your credit union.
The reality has shown that it’s not enough to just have a dream and access to the right equipment – it takes planning, perseverance, and time.
A new brass|MEDIA white paper titled Social Media Strategy is Like a Gym Membership offers the following workout plan to help credit unions deliver results.
Here we share what the social media experts at brass|MEDIA have to say.
Get the tools, make a plan and stretch those muscles.
With the continuous flood of content, nothing staying put for long and only the most compelling posts even get noticed, it’s important to maximize effort by understanding each medium and how it works.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular:
It’s all about community, communication and interaction. As a tool, Facebook is flexible, allowing you to drive traffic to blogs, articles and websites and to nurture feedback in all forms.
A great tool for communication, Twitter forces messages to be short and to the point. Information can be quickly distributed to a wide field of users, and interacting with followers and influential people gives you the opportunity to spread brand awareness.
Blogging provides a platform to share your passion, stories, inspirations, general information and news. It’s a more intimate view into your organization and allows you to present yourself as an authority on a subject.
Like Twitter, Pinterest is about trying to get the attention of influencers that will re-pin your content, in this case by providing quality images and graphics. It’s also a great way to show off your participation in the local community with photos of events and sponsorship.
Images are important on Google+, so the more graphic elements you can share, the better. It can be a great tool for lead generation and driving traffic to your website.
Like blogging, YouTube is a great way to consistently reach an audience. It can solidify you as a strong communicator if you engage and entertain your audience while getting your point across.
Basically a quick-start blogging tool, Tumblr makes it easy to post short text, photos and video. Easy sharing tools and the ability to accept submissions from the public have made the platform very popular.
Now, about that workout strategy:
Experts agree it is better to focus efforts on one or two social media platforms than to spread yourself thin across five.
Be realistic. If your business only has the resources to manage a Facebook page, make your Facebook page the best representation of your credit union that you can. Set it up completely and invest in the community of followers that you are hoping to build there.
Don’t set up a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and start pinning on Pinterest if you aren’t able to devote the time and resources needed to make all of those accounts thrive.
The one constant about social media has been the need for strategy, a plan with goals organized around a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve.
While every business’ social media plan will look different, every plan should include a few basics:
. 1} Set conceptual, yet achievable goals
. 2} Determine which platform will help you reach those goals.
. 3} Use your chosen platform to its complete ability.
. 4} Track your planning and progress.
And now, to pump it up:
CARDIO: Hit the Ground Running
Optimize your social media presence
Populate your social media pages. Fill out your bios completely, and provide clear information about who you are and what you do. Don’t bother promoting your pages unless you look like you are here to stay.
Give the people something to follow
Content matters, and popular content shares a few common ingredients:
• An attention-grabbing headline: Content on social media most often arrives in a person’s stream as a simple headline link. Make it clear and make it count.
• Up-to-date topics: Check out Twitter’s trending topics, YouTube’s top videos and stay on top of your own social feeds for inspiration.
• To-do list help: Most of the things that are important to your organization probably aren’t at the top of your customers’ lists. Find ways to help them check off tasks and you’ll earn their attention.
• A call to action: Ask a question, prompt readers to share, and invite comments. Giving your followers something to do with the information you provide gives them something to work with.
POWER LIFTING: Toning Up
Listen and interact
Rather than seeing social media as separate from your daily customer interactions, view it as another way to serve your members, listen to their needs, and build strong relationships with them.
Apply the same principles to social media as face-to-face interactions: genuine interest in members and active listening. Find ways to ask about personal preferences, call upon members’ expertise, find and highlight shared values, and ask aspirational questions.
When members respond or ask questions, answer directly, even leading them to other resources outside the credit union they might find useful when relevant.
Friends, fans and followers should be considered and even petitioned when working on anything from rebranding to product development. This kind of crowdsourcing is a big part of the next stage of your social media presence.
• Involve your network in decision-making processes. Make your members’ ideas part of your products. Considering where to put new ATMs? Ask your social network. Want to know what services can be cut back? Ask your social network. Leaving them out of the picture ignores a valuable source of feedback and will alienate your followers.
• Be active in their conversations. Listen to what they’re talking about and address those concerns, rather than only focusing on what you want them to be talking about. Keeping your ear to the ground shows you what they’re truly concerned about, and participating in the things they're interested in lets you show you're listening.
• Encourage them to share their experience with your brand on your page and with their friends. It’s an opportunity to make you look good, and in the case of bad feedback, to publicly right wrongs.
You have to devote the same amount of energy to it that you did in the beginning. Each platform is a moving target: styles, trends, and even the basic layout of the site changes all the time. Pay attention to updates and announcements and consider the implications for your strategies.
Focus your efforts, remember your initial goals, and let your followers help guide your online presence.