by: Troy Hall, Chief Operations Officer, South Carolina Federal Credit Union
Generally when Tough-talking Troy asks that question during one of his social media presentations at a credit union conference, there is an awkward silence at first, then a giggle or two. Holding the pause button until the last possible second, he then releases the tension with this retort, “That is what it would be like if your credit union did not participate in social media.”
It may seem like an odd analogy, but think about it. The primary reason for social media is to engage members in conversation. Just image what the branch would sound like if there was no laughing … no talking … no moving hands or feet (showing my age, huh?) Tellers are expected to engage members in conversation because words source comfort, which in turn becomes trust. This dialog forms a basis of rapport. The rapport along with trust builds relationship, and that can ultimately lead to sales.
The point of social media is to tweet, blog, post, comment, digg and link in order to talk to members first, not to sell to them. Savvy marketers understand the value of building rapport as a key component to successful, consultative selling (that is another article all together). They will target posts to convey financial education, community activities, fund raising, emergency issues, or requests for public feedback. According to Knowledge Networks, more than 38,000,000 people ages 13-80 make purchasing decisions through social media. That is up 14% over 2010 numbers for the same time period. Consumers love to tweet, about 1,000,000 if fact, view service tweets weekly of which 80% are critical or negative in nature. There is a need and definitely a demand for folks to engage.
Social media is not just restricted to the Gen Y or Millennial generations, although there is evidence to suggest that they will continue to fuel the need to engage. Dr. Tim Elmore in his book Generation iY tells readers that this generation is the first to surpass its parents in understanding and using technology. By 2014, more than 66% of the US adult population or about 130 million will have smart phones. One of the fastest growing Facebook demographic groups is women ages 55 and wiser.
The business case for adopting social media as part of a well thought out corporate communication strategy is becoming more and more evident with the groundswell of available statistical data. In fact, one of the true values of measuring successful social media activities is the ability to track clicks, cost per click, cost per impression and click through rates.
However, it would be remiss of Tough-talking Troy if he failed to mention how marketers can best leverage social media activity. They should always be on the lookout to tap into conversations that are tied to a strong emotional connection. For instance, one of the reasons the Bank Transfer Day phenomenon was so impactful is because its timing was tied directly to the emotional outrage consumers were feeling about lost jobs, governmental bailouts, new or increased bank fees and other economic doom and gloom. Even though the Bank Transfer Day movement is not connected in any way to what set off the folks who created Occupy Wall Street, the hyped-media attention drawn to OWS did lay an emotional groundwork. The request for consumers to move money from banks to credit unions was timed perfectly to ignite a movement of people who were not going to take it anymore.
So, go ahead. Free yourself. Take off the bindings that bind. Let out the emotion. Get involved. Folks who want more information can tweet, blog, post, comment, digg or link with Tough-talking Troy at SimpleCentsBlog.org. As part of a not-for-profit cooperative industry, TTT believes in the collaborative spirit that encourages conversation because this Gen Y minded guy, trapped in a Baby Boomer body, will continue to be muzzle-free.
Troy Hall is Chief Operations Officer for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, leading a team of senior managers in the disciplines of Retail Branch Sales and Operations, Lending, Marketing, and Business Performance Management. With over 30 years as a lending and sales and marketing professional, Hall has been involved in the credit union movement for 19 years, both on staff and as an outside marketing consultant. Hall is involved with the local Charleston Chapter of Credit Unions and a member of the Credit Union Executive Society Operations Experts Panel and an eMentor with Credit Union Times. One of the featured bloggers for www.simplecents.org, Hall, also, is the co-host for “Radiofreecu,” a blog-talk radio show that serves credit union professionals across the United States. www.scfederal.org
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