In the classic Jefferson Airplane song “White Rabbit,” they tell us that “one pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small.” It seems like, when it comes to social media, too many credit unions are looking for this “one pill cure-all” approach.
The fact of the matter is, social media is a powerful tool — and also usually misunderstood by those that seek to use it. Social media, when used correctly, can be a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal. It is not, however, a cure-all for everything dragging down your marketing machine.
With that in mind, below please find a few tips to help you better understand social media and what it can and cannot do for your credit union.
- Despite the mass of people using it, social media still requires a targeted approach. For example, contrary to popular belief, Facebook is not the best way to reach all people. The demographics of Facebook trend increasingly older. Therefore, if you’re looking to reach younger people, Facebook may not be your best bet. Similarly, if you are trying to reach female consumers, a better option might be Pinterest. Social media offers a wide variety of choices for users. This requires credit unions to align their target audiences with the social media platforms those people choose.
- An integrated social media approach requires a great deal of time. At some larger corporations, social media unit has its own department. Most credit unions don’t have this luxury. In order for a typical credit union to make a meaningful impact in social media, you’ll have to select a handful of platforms and concentrate your efforts and time there. Spreading yourself too thin in social media is just like spreading your advertising to thin across different channels. All you do is dilute your message and water-down your return on investment.
- Instead of using social media to push-push-push, consider using it to pull-pull-pull information from consumers. As with other marketing channels, social media can be misused as a bull-horn to browbeat consumers with your information. The average person wants to be communicated with — not spoken down to. Consider using social media as a way to initiate conversations with consumers. Pose questions and engage in conversations with members and potential members on your social media channels. Encourage dialogue and interaction. Position your credit union as an information source rather than trying to indoctrinate them from on-high.
- Consider using a blog is a critical element of your social media platform. Your credit union blog is your voice. It also offers a higher degree of brand control than the average social media platform. It further establishes your credit union as an information source for consumers, positioning you in such a way that they seek you as a trusted partner when it comes to financial matters. Blogging is also a fairly inexpensive way to bolster your social media platform.
- You can’t use social media to completely replace real-life networking. Even the most robust social media program does not allow you to board up the windows on traditional business development. You still have to meet and greet people in person to build lasting relationships. If social media serves as a tool that helps you start these relationships, so much the better. Just don’t look at it as the silver bullet that will address all of your business development woes.
Social media represents a true revolution in the way people communicate. Platforms rise and fall and it’s exciting to think about where we might be in the course of just a few years. Credit unions should look to social media in a realistic way to help broaden the depths and reach of their overall marketing and communication programs. Remember, social media is just another tool in the marketing toolbox, not a magic pill that makes everything better.