What You Don’t Know About Social Media Can Hurt You
Author: Jackie Marshall, JaMarshall@jackhenry.com
Many community bankers get the “chills” when the term social media is brought up in conversation. But why does one of the most exciting communication tools ever created conjure up such emotions of fear and trepidation? It’s for the same reason that people fear a lot of things -- it is fear of the unknown, plain and simple. And, to make matters worse, financial institutions (FIs) are inundated with these types of intimidating media messages today: “Jump on the social media bandwagon or miss out!”, or, “If you don’t have a Facebook page, just close the door.” These kinds of messages can be almost as scary as the FDIC alerts some of us receive on Friday afternoons announcing the next wave of bank acquisitions and closings.
Over the last several months, I have been immersed in the subject of social media, speaking with bankers at recent JHA and ProfitStars user group meetings, hosting my own social media compliance webinar events, writing articles on the subject, and working one-on-one with FIs to customize social media strategies. During this time, I have come to the realization that it’s not fear related to fraud that is causing the anxiety, nor is it the risk of what employees are stating in their personal Facebook posts, nor the fact that FIs don’t have the personnel to manage this new communication channel. What has become clear is that many senior managers at FIs are not social media users themselves; in fact, many typically don’t even have a personal Facebook page. It can be difficult to relate to social media unless you are a user yourself and can personally appreciate the value of social media communication. Every FI needs a Social Media Champion, someone who is excited about and interested in social media opportunities and will look for ways to keep the FI’s brand and messaging fresh and dynamic. But, even if you have such an individual on board, the channel won’t move downstream unless key stakeholders in the FI (yourself included) are regular users. In a nutshell, if you don’t visit your FI’s Facebook page, your customers probably won’t either.
So, what’s the magic formula for capitalizing on this dynamic new communication channel? Take the time to learn about and embrace this new, unique and dynamic form of communication. The amount of time you personally spend exploring and experiencing social media may directly correlate to the benefit that your FI derives from it.