This morning I saw that social media sage Chris Brogan had put together a list of 50 social media strategies. Without peeking at his list (honestly!), I decided I should put together a list of Do’s and Don’ts for social media as it pertains to credit unions. I’m sure that I left out plenty, so feel free to add your additional ones here! And here’s a nice buttoned-up, three-page PDF version of the 63 CU social media do’s and don’ts.
Oh, and by the way, I’m delivering a webinar on Building Relationships with Social Media on EverythingCU on Thursday. I’ll be discussing 7 case studies, among other things. I’m really looking forward to it, and am very excited we have 36 credit unions signed up so far.
Because this list is long, I’ve split up the Do’s and the Don’ts into two entries:
- Do become well-versed with all of the available social media tools before diving in. (Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, podcasting are great starting points.)
- Do start your social media marketing strategy planning by thinking about what your TARGET AUDIENCE is interested in.
- Do make sure that your social media strategy reinforces your CU’s overall business or branding strategy, and is designed to, at the least, create awareness of what your CU is great at.
- Do feature your online initiatives in a computer kiosk in your lobby. That way your members will not only learn about what they can do remotely, they’ll also associate what they see online with a tangible presence.
- Do learn the basics of how RSS and blogs work.
- Do give guidelines to anyone who will be contributing to your CUs blog.
- Do put your rates into RSS format.
- Do comment on your members’ blogs. They LOVE that, and will share the love in return. That’s the best way to increase readership of YOUR blog.
- Do put valuable information that is currently in your print letter ALSO onto your blog so that your members can comment. Feel free to inform that online commenting is available at the end of the print newsletter articles that are also featured on your blog.
- Do feel free to blog your newsletter articles before they appear in the print version. Many people aren’t paying attention to your blog, and will be reminded to go there when receiving the print version in the mail.
- Do write down your social media strategy so that the rest of the management team can see the cause and effect chain from your marketing efforts to how its helping the CU generate awareness, leads, new referrals, new members, and new sales, or in general reinforcing the CU’s brand.
- Do start with the overall campaign concept, then figure out what social media tools are the best fit.
- Do reinforce your traditional marketing campaigns with your online efforts and vice versa. These are not separate silos.
- Do build up a network of friends among your members BEFORE you start trying to “market” to them.
- Do use social media to start conversations among your members about your CU and ask for honest feedback.
- Do monitor discussion about your CU on third-party sites using Google Alerts.
- Do create a business fan page for your CU on Facebook.
- Do be a real person and use real language in all social media venues. Be as polite and professional as you would face-to-face.
- Do always make sure your blog posts are attributed to the author, and not to the faceless credit union.
- Do only write a blog post when you have something important to say to your members.
- Do put your fun and interesting CU events onto Facebook.
- Do write your blog posts in a way that invites your members to comment on it. We’ve been so used to one-way communication with our members, that we have to retrain our brains to write in a way that invites dialogue.
- Do realize that for the most part, your members are more interested in other members’ comments on your blog, than on the article you originally wrote. Feature comments front and center.
- Do optimize your web site and online banking to work on mobile phones, Blackberries, Treos, and iPhones.
- Do call your core processor’s rep every day until she gives you a mobile banking offering for your members.
- Do attend the nearest PodCamp to you to learn more about what this social media thing is all about.
- Do understand that your members expect you to be present in the online conversation about you. They’ll interpret a lack of presence as a lack of caring about their concerns.
- Do understand that you’ll have to hold many of your members hands if you want them to participate in your online efforts. But each time that you do, you will be earning their gratitude, and perhaps loyalty. Everyone likes to learn how to do cool new things, without being made to feel like they are stupid.
- Do read web sites and books about it: The Cluetrain Manifesto by Christopher Locke, Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble, and The New Influencers by Paul Gillin
- Do read blogs about it: this one right here, OpenSource CU by Trabian, Marketing Whims by Ron Shevlin, NetBanker by Jim Bruene, Currency Marketing by Tim McAlpine, CU Hype by Tony Mannor, and scores more.
- Do realize that your members know better your CUs strengths and weaknesses than you realize.
- Do realize that your front line staff are your best and most important allies in social media marketing. They are far more familiar with it, and trusted by their own friends than you are.
- Do involve your front line staff with your social media efforts every step of the way.
- Do involve your members at every step of the way with your social media efforts.
- Do realize that the relationship your members have with each other is often as important, and sometimes more important, than the relationship they have with you or your credit union.
- Do involve your members in competitions and let them see how they stand. Members love that, and will check back often if you do!
Here are the 27 Don’ts.