Does your brand listen?
For those that know me, I often don’t give the perception that I listen very well, even though I believe I really do. My personality is clearly Type-A and I tend to move quickly. However, perception can become reality, so I’m working on changing the perception and demonstrating in conversations that I truly am listening. In this digital high-speed, high-demand world, communication is more important than ever, yet we all appear to really devote less time to listening to one another. Listening, be it face-to-face, on the phone or via the web, is a cornerstone to building relationship and solving problems.
Listening is remarkably important to your financial institution and there are plenty of ways you can use it to get closer to your audience and members. The adoption of social media has been incredible and it’s no doubt now mainstream, but I’m noticing a trend that worries me. The majority of credit union brands are not using social media channels to show they are paying attention and listening. Instead, they are broadcasting and “talking at” an audience. Many of us are guilty of it. No brand can control what people say about them on social media. People are going to talk about a brand whether or not it’s listening, or reacting. They may say some bad stuff that showcases an instance where you failed in delivering the experience you intended. Before you engage, listen. You’ll gain valuable insights that you can leverage to enhance the member experience.
Here are some simple dos and don’ts you can use to improve your listening skills via any social media channel:
- Stop Broadcasting. If you do all the talking, you are not have a conversation. Without a conversation, you have nothing to listen to.
- Be Humble. You’re going to screw up. When a member uses social media to complain or rant, apologize publicly and then do a follow-up personally.
- Be Hungry. Seek out opportunities by watching the “conversations” others have with their financial institutions. That guy ranting about his credit card at Big Bank USA could be your next member.
- Identify Advocates. Advocates help you propagate your message and answer questions, actually functioning as volunteer marketers.
- Stay Awake. 53% of consumers who tweet a brand expect a response within an hour.
- Be Human. Stop being so stiff in your engagements. Relax.
- Watch The Other Guy. You can learn a lot about your competition by seeing how they use social media channels.
- Stop Cut and Paste. 99% of the time, what you put on Twitter, does not belong on Instagram or Facebook.
- Look for logical opportunities to insert your brand into a relevant conversation. And don’t be afraid to “follow.”
- Be Original. Your credit union is an enabler and an advocate (right?). Align your content with the things that matter. Talking about your products and services is not listening and frankly, is not important to your typical audience.
If you don’t use social media for listening and engagement, your social media efforts are a waste of time. However, if you listen first, you’ll find all kinds of opportunities to connect with an audience in ways traditional marketing won’t allow.