By Mike Lawson
A few weeks ago, I started writing my monthly “Inside Marketing” column for CU Management on Vine, the latest cool social media app that lets you add six-second looping videos to your tweets. This tool offers many video marketing opportunities credit unions can leverage and, eventually, I did write the column. But in the process, I realized I’m almost burned out on talking about the new, whiz-bang, wow-ness of the latest social media tools. I mean, does it ever stop? This social media stuff can be exhausting. I’m sure many of you feel the same way.
Don’t get me wrong; I think social media as a whole is fantastic in sparking a two-way conversation with your members. It’s revolutionary in this respect. And I will always be a champion for this message. But the tools, tools and more tools piling up have become overwhelming. One can be mired for months on what to use.
Look at this infographic from marketing expert Brian Solis (“The Conversation Prism”) on the many, many, many tools social media presents.
If social media were a highway, its ever-growing collection of tools would clog every lane beyond rush hour-–along with the endless on ramp of new apps inching forward into the slow lane. There’s so much incoming activity, it’s almost stifling.
You’re on Facebook, you’re on Twitter, you’re blogging, you’re on LinkedIn, and you’re checking out how fun it is to have a YouTube channel. How can one possibly fit anything more into their day? Oh yeah, you have to keep up with the traditional marketing practices that still actually work, too.
When I do speaking engagements on the benefits of social media, what I get from the audience after discussing how Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube can benefit a credit union’s exposure to consumers and enhance it with established members is a look of the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. No wonder many credit unions still aren’t embracing social media; it’s a daunting flood of new responsibilities–-and it keeps growing. Time is the biggest enemy of any social media effort. Keeping it in check is the challenge.
What sparked my recent thoughts on this “social media tools meltdown” was a recent post from marketing expert Chris Brogan, who spoke on social media at last year’s America’s Credit Union Conference in San Diego. He is somebody who has obviously embraced social media for years and who writes and speaks about it prevalently. But his most recent write-up (“I’m Not Into Social Media”) was the opposite–-kind of. He, too, is tired of the constant flow of new tools overcrowding the market.
What Brogan’s remarks focused on was refocusing:
“…I guess what isn’t as worth talking about any longer is the whole ‘gee whiz, this space is so amazing and I’ve got the latest apps and I love using them.’ Maybe instead, we can talk about our goals, our pursuits, those things we’re going to do with the tools.”
I went on to read many of the comments from Brogan’s post, and the commenters, too, agreed that the tool frenzy social media has fostered has gotten to be too much. When do you stop talking about the tools and actually build the building? Nearly all the comments focused on telling a bigger story on how social media has played a part in benefiting their marketing success–-a successful user experience, if you will.
One of the comments has absolutely nothing to do with credit unions, but displays a solid user success story. It expresses this last statement:
“I used to mentor local business owners new to social. When my husband gifted me a batch of homemade soap he made in our kitchen, we knew he was on to something. We used social, specifically YouTube, and taught ourselves how to make traditional lye soap. Lots of it. Now just 1 year later we have a very successful small business making old school bar soap, shampoo bars, shave bars, mostly skincare travel items for adventurous types. We took on yet another wholesale client last night because of social. We used online tools to not only learn the craft, bootstrap DIY if you will, but to share our stories. Facebook groups allow us to brainstorm with other soap making hobbyists and industry leaders. The gift of social is in the doing.”
This last sentence stuck with me: “The gift of social is in the doing.” If we spent less time talking and more time doing, then we would probably have more success stories to tell. This is where credit unions can exceed because money touches all our lives in one way or another–-and credit unions are sitting on a mountain range of member success stories.
Like many other channels, social media used properly is a potent means of sharing your success stories because of social’s immediacy, viral-ness, and two-way communication.
Another comment focused on not glomming on to every new social media tool that comes along, but rather focusing on a couple and using them very well. This philosophy is spot on and defeats the whole time barrier that social media folks fight daily. It, instead, helps them focus on Twitter or Facebook or YouTube or whatever, and using them to their fullest potential.
What are your social media priorities? What are you using social media to do?
Mike Lawson, principal of the PR/marketing firm DML Communications has two decades of journalism, public relations and marketing experience. His unique and robust knowledge allows him to meet the varied needs of editors, end-users and clients. Lawson's expertise enables him to enhance his clients' market exposure through media relations, social media tools, advertising efforts, target marketing strategies and more. He also speaks on PR, marketing and media issues to audiences nationwide.
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