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Michael Ogden: ‘Stop Missing the Mark with Social Media’
Monday, April 8, 2013 10:15 AM

social_media_2.jpg

TCUL’s Texas Governmental Affairs Conference and Member Meeting & Expo offered a wealth of informative breakout sessions, including "Stop Missing the Mark with Social Media," presented by Michael Ogden of CUNA Mutual Group.

Ogden is a social media guru who knows what works for companies and what doesn't. He backs up the reality of social media and online networking with these statistics:  The public spends 6.7 billion hours online each month. The average number of social media accounts per person is 33. With online advertising expenses projected to reach $9.8 billion by 2016, you won't want your credit union to be the only one not taking advantage of the opportunity to engage current customers and attract new ones through social media.

Because social media is a lot of work, Ogden recommends that your social media plan address these questions from the start:

  1. Why social media? This question is the prerequisite for all others. The answer, first and foremost, is that it's free advertising in very large ad space. It's also a great way to build your presence in the communities you want to reach and to showcase your brand. What easier way is there to reach out to your customer base?
  2. Who's your audience? Targeting a specific group or age range is more effective than trying to reach everybody and their uncle.
  3. What social media platform? With hundreds of options, choose platforms that best showcase your company and its offerings and reach your target audience.
  4. What's your exit strategy? If your plan fails or over time runs its course and you need to shift to a new platform, even due simply to inactivity, know how you'll transfer your customers or valuable content to a new platform. As a last resort, exit the old platform cleanly and delete the account.

Ogden says users should take an existing concept and "evolve" it to make your company new and unique from the competition. He also says social media staff should market individuals, not just the credit union. Building relationships is the goal, and to do that, you need to pull people in, engage and connect with your audience (not a faceless company), and be conversational as well as useful. The key is personality, and that shines through individuals.

Social media changes all the time. Don't stagnate on just one site when the public is moving to new platforms. Currently, the biggest platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Hangouts, Pinterest, and the new social media venue Vine, which is only available to iPhone users so far.

For all sites/pages, make sure the content calls people to action. For instance, if you're going to have a Facebook page, promote your products and services in an interesting way and ask for readers to do something in response. Otherwise, there's no reason for them to "like" it, which is equivalent to zero engagement. Without a little personality to keep your visitors returning, they will soon abandon the page altogether.

To keep your online presence relevant and fresh, follow these simple rules:

  • Engage with your members.
  • Respond to comments and questions quickly, at least within one hour.
  • Make fresh posts daily. Optimally, post 2-3 times per day.
  • Spend at least 30 minutes a day posting content and responding to comments.
  • Designate one or two people to handle social media responsibilities.

If you're not already part of the social media revolution, now's the time to start.