I can talk about social media all day long. And all night, for that matter.
I've been involved in social media marketing for small businesses for the last 10-12 years. Yes, since I was 12-14 years old. I know, it's hard to believe, but it's true!
Remember when Facebook Fan Pages came out? I do, I was one of the early adopters. I created a page for my dad's bar as soon as that technology was available. Shortly thereafter, I created another page for a local skate shop. Then once I got my first job, you guessed it, I made their Facebook page. Are you sensing a theme? Great, because there are actually a few:
Back in the early 2000s, being relevant (or even advanced) in social media was as simple as being on Facebook or having your own business website. Fast forward a decade: if your business is only visible on Facebook or its own website, you are drastically falling behind, and are likely losing opportunities left and right.
However, this article isn't about how to get started with social media. In case you're curious, there are tons of those articles out there, including a few helpful ones on our blog. Otherwise, I'm sure you've heard the basics: get a Facebook account, start with Twitter, go for it with LinkedIn, dabble in Instagram...
But at the end of the day, by saying that, all I'm doing is name-dropping.
There is a heck of a lot more to social media than that, and it all starts with defining what social media is: a form of communication.
I Hate the Term "Social Media"
As soon as we pigeonhole communications into classifications based on their channel(s), we begin to lose sense of the actual exchange. Think about it. Every interaction that occurs between yourself, your brand, your business and your clients, your potential clients, the general public is a meaningful, thought-provoking experience. Whether this interaction occurs digitally, in person or over the phone, the interaction is real. Every interaction is a relationship-builder or a relationship-destroyer.
Like many other business terms, social media has lost much of its vitality due to a multitude of things: overuse, incorrect use, ironic use, sarcastic use, etc.
What your community bank must ask itself is this:
- How are we using social media to engage in quality interactions?
- How does our use of social media improve our bank's relationships with the individuals with whom we use it to communicate?
- How effective is our use of social media to get in touch with the individuals with whom we wish to communicate?
- Why did we answer the last 3 questions in the way we did?
The answer to the last question will determine how your use of social media is affecting your business. It will also point you in the right direction to:
- Identify gaps in your community bank's social media strategy, as well as your overall Communications/CRM Strategy;
- Improve your image within your target demographic;
- And narrow your reach to those who are directly interesting to your goals.