Preparing for the Worst in Social Media

by: Sharon Simpson, Ongoing Operations

Over the past few years, I’ve seen several of my clients move through what I’ll call the stages of social media. Similar to the stages of grief, this often starts with denial. “Our customers/members/clients don’t use that.” or “No one wants to hear from us there.” And gradually moves through bargaining – “Well, maybe we should be doing something.” And finally turns into acceptance – “We really need to be doing this effectively.”

I won’t profess to know all the right answers. In all honesty, I’ve been moving through many of these same stages along with my clients. As a sixteen year marketing professional, I’ve trained myself to use a “corporate” voice. That’s not what is required for an effective social media presence. And at first glance being more “personal” while remaining “professional” seemed to me like walking a tight rope.  The general fear of the unknown, and the more tangible fear of having to respond to negative feedback in front of an online audience, still causes some organizations to shy away from social media.

Thankfully, there are a lot of great resources out there to help us all crack the code – or better yet – create our own code. For example, the U.S. Air Force has a well-developed guide that addresses how to respond to web or social media postings. It’s the type of guide I think most credit union CEOs would feel comfortable adopting and it gives staff the kind of guidance they need to diffuse tense situations, when appropriate. In short, it’s a guide to help prepare for the worst.

A lack of control over member posts is often what makes credit unions nervous – but it is also what makes the potential of social media so exciting. After all, a lot of credit union members or CUSO clients would love to share their positive stories.  There are few things more powerful than a friend or colleague’s recommendation and the channels that allow them to share their stories continue to grow. New platforms like BuddyPress allow any (WordPress) website to be turned into an online community.

But at the end of the day, there is no cookie cutter answer. No perfect model that will work for every organization. It all starts with your members (or clients). And by preparing for the worst, you can position your organization to benefit from the best as well.

About Ongoing Operations, LLC
Only Ongoing Operations offers the advanced technical expertise and guidance credit unions need, along with a deep understanding of the credit union industry. We are your credit union’s partner in the development of complete business continuity solutions and strategies and we will stand with your credit union 100% to ensure actual recovery.

Sharon Simpson

Sharon Simpson

Sharon is a national consultant who specializes in developing strategic marketing plans for CUSOs and credit unions. She has over fifteen years of marketing experience in the financial services industry. ... Web: Details