>Social Media for You and Them

This entry was posted by Wednesday, 28 November, 2007
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>If you keep up with any marketing blogs or have read many of 2007’s trendily-jacketed-business-books, then you’ve heard again and again: This is a time of extreme change for marketers. “People are changing! Markets are changing! Media is changing!”

Marketers’ opinions of social media – blogging, consumer generated media, podcasting, social review sites, Twitter, Second Life, and on and on – are also changing. Over the past year, the pendulum seems to have swung from anxiety and fear all the way over to excitement and enthusiasm.

I love and share that enthusiasm (I get nerdy and overly excitable about social media). But I also worry that we might be focusing too much on the emerging technologies themselves when we should really focus on the people we want to use them.

Just like nobody talks to their phone, people do not interact with social media. They interact with other people.

So rather than asking if your credit union should be blogging, a better starting point is “What are our goals, who are we trying to reach, and how can we add value to them?”

At this year’s ad:tech, NY, one of the speakers (I wish I could remember which one) said this:

“Don’t start marketing-strategy conversations with technologies. Start with business problems and let social media and technology follow.”

Bottomline: Social media should solve business problems for you and add value for your users.

Here are two examples:

Online product reviews, like Bank of America’s, are a great way to utilize comment-like functionality in your main site content. This allows your members to voice their opinions and learn more about your products from people like themselves. And it helps you develop your products with realtime consumer insight.

Facebook is probably a better social network to engage than MySpace. There are numerous reasons for this, one of which is that Facebook is actionable. You can build tools for users to do things. For example, Chase’s +1 Card lets users manage their account and rewards points directly through Facebook. Users can even pass rewards on to friends. It’s more fun and convenient for cardholders, and gives Chase a viral promotion channel.

On Monday, I’ll talk about how to use blogs in ways that go outside of typical corporate blogging. If you have any examples you’d like to see discussed, by all means post a comment right here.

And if you’re in Austin next week, come say hi.

Brent Dixon is the Creative Director of Trabian and a co-author of the Open Source CU credit union blog.

4 Responses to “>Social Media for You and Them”

  1. Justin Ho

    >Hey Brent–

    What kind of topics do you think credit unions should be blogging about to entice Gen-Y readers? Should there be separate blogs to represent different target groups?

  2. jeffrypilcher

    >Justin’s question presumes a CU should be blogging in the first place. As Brent said, “Don’t start marketing-strategy conversations with technologies. Start with business problems and let social media and technology follow.”

    The content of a blog can be defined by looking to a CU’s brand. If the CU has a well-defined brand with a specific focus/target audience, the theme and subjects covered in the blog should flow naturally from there. Herein lies the problem, because many financial institutions (not just CUs) have fuzzy, homogeneous brands.

    The most important first step with CU blogging is to pick the blog’s focus. Without that clarity, a CU blog often becomes regurgitated newsletter articles and general financial advice – information that is already available elsewhere.

  3. Matt, the Credit Union Warrior

    >Jeffry,

    I agree…it seems like many of us have put the cart before the horse. An organization should capitalize on the power of social media if and only if it fits the organization’s strategy – the ends must justify the means.

  4. Brent Dixon

    >Justin –

    Targeting is a great idea. Gen Y is such a broad group, and while Gen Yers have similar characteristics, they definitely don’t all have the same tastes in content. Let the blog’s focus come from something you’ve learned or know about your particular Gen Y members. Fill a need.

    Blogs can be used very tactically too. They can be used to support and facilitate conversation around a specific short-term campaign, for example.

    Like Jeffry said, picking a focus is key.

    Tim McAlpine from Currency Marketing wrote an awesome post here on what Matt The CU Warrior is doing. Matt’s “Football Pick ‘em” is an awesome example of zeroing in on a topic and interest group, and using social media to fill a need.

    Rock on.


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