Social media plays a dominant role in Gen Y’s personal and professional lives. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Pinterest (and I’m sure I left out a few), it’s sometimes hard to understand how young adults have time for anything else. They’re using these platforms to show off everything from their work accomplishments to what they ate for lunch to their most flattering, “Look at this cool thing I did” photos. Some are even using the word “hashtag” in conversation.
So why don’t all credit unions have a social media strategy in place? (By the way, having a Facebook page with 25 fans doesn’t count.) For starters, many credit unions can’t afford to hire a full-time social media expert.
According to Dan Greenfield, president of social media consulting firm LISTEN Interactive in Atlanta, some create a traditional Facebook profile and try to friend followers instead of setting up a fan page–a big no-no for businesses on the site. Others assign social media duties to a young intern without realizing that his or her lack of solid business and marketing knowledge can be detrimental. One key to successful social media marketing is to not just post, but to make sure each post plays a role in your long-term business goals, Greenfield said.
If you’re a credit union without a social media strategy, start building one now. It’s not only an avenue for connecting with Gen Y members and potential members, it’s great way to leverage the expertise of your Gen Y employees.
Here are Greenfield’s top three tips for credit unions that are just getting started in social media.
Supervise young social media managers. It’s easy to ask interns to handle social media marketing, but just because interns are young, and therefore plugged into social media, doesn’t mean they understand how to tie their posts into your big-picture business strategy, Greenfield pointed out. Have a higher-up executive with ample experience in business and marketing oversee their activities to ensure they’re on track.
Open opportunities to all employees. Members don’t always need to hear from the CEO, Greenfield said. If you have employees who are passionate about social media and business, whether they be tellers or department managers, let them get involved with your credit union’s social media plan. For Gen Y employees in particular, participation in social media marketing can help provide leadership experience.
Provide posting guidelines. If you’re letting Gen Y employees handle social media, it’s important to lay out details as to what’s appropriate and inappropriate to put out online, Greenfield concluded. But, he added, it’s best to label the information as guidelines, not rules. That way, your employees won’t feel so confined. They’ll be more likely to express their creativity, and that’s something that can lead to social media marketing success.