This series is part of our ongoing effort here at Marketing Pilgrim to show the real world of social media rather than just the industry hype and drivel. Let us know what you think or even what you would like to see in the future.
It would be logical to blame the lack of interest and slow adoption rate of social media into the daily operations and marketing plans of community banks on a wide range of commonly accepted myths: there is no demand, it costs too much money, it’s a fad and, of course, there is no ROI. Dig a little deeper, however, and I’ve found it to be more complicated than that. In my experience over the last 24 months, I’ve learned that bank leadership genuinely feels overwhelmed by the impact of social media and its ability to generate a tidal wave of action. Furthermore, there is fear that one customer’s dissatisfaction could tarnish a reputation that often took generations to build.
Helping ease those fears and shine a light on the positive business opportunities social media brings to Main Street banks is what I’ve focused on over the last 24 months. So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find, even the staunchest naysayers are starting to soften. My approach? The four M’s of community banking and social media:
- MONITOR: If you do nothing else, know what’s being said about your bank. Subscribe to Google Alerts or use a service like Trackur and plug in your CEO’s name, bank name, any special brands you’ve created and of course your loan officers names. Remember, when someone mentions you in a social media outlet, they aren’t talking about you behind your back, they’re talking about you right in front of your face for a gazillion people to see. Be sure to assign someone to receive and analyze the daily email alerts.
- MOVE: Don’t just sit there and wait for someone to talk about you, do some talking of your own. Yes, we’ve all been taught that it’s vain to talk about ourselves but that was before social media. Resist the urge, however, to respond to everything said about you. It’s still ok to let a negative comment slide, especially if it’s an anomaly. If it’s grossly inaccurate, be polite and direct them to a more personal, out of the public eye conversation.
- MAXIMIZE: Look for ways to connect with others. Social media outlets are the ultimate networking facilitator. Don’t be shy! Do a search, find small businesses you do business with and ‘friend’ them; show them support. Increase your own presence by simply connecting with others. When you see someone doing well, pat them on the back. Positive remarks go a long way.
- MONETIZE: No, you won’t get rich being involved with social media (unless you develop the next Facebook) but you can drive traffic to your bricks & mortar or other sales channels by using social media to ask for the business. Remember, if you sound like a commercial, you’ll be ignored. Look for ways to provide value and always remember to be real. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
In the end it’s advice that we hear over and over again but based on some social media efforts it’s a mantra that needs to be said over and over until people move. Don’t you agree?
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About the author
Chris Lorence is Executive Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer for the Independent Community Bankers of America, headquartered in Washington, DC. His duties include oversight and management of the organizations marketing & communications department, which includes political advocacy, social media integration, press relations, and brand management. Chris is also responsible for the organizations flagship award winning national magazine, Independent Banker® and 4 other strategically aligned membership and industry publications. As a member of the senior executive team, Chris works with management and staff to both create and bring to life the organizations strategic vision and initiatives. The ICBA enterprise consists of both a non-profit trade association with nearly 5000 members and five for-profit subsidiaries, one of which is a national bank. Before coming to ICBA, Chris was Chief Operating Officer of a community based financial organization and has over 15 years of senior management experience within the financial community.