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Minding Your Social Media Ps and Qs

A well-managed program can enhance brand loyalty and communications

By Charles Shanley, SPHR, CFS, Executive Vice President, Recruitment Services

As consumers rely more on social media to acquire information and interact with the marketplace, community banks and credit unions have an opportunity to build brand awareness by engaging with different audiences from many technology platforms. When used effectively, social media can also be a useful tool for communicating with employees, sharing information about special events and supporting effective HR recruiting.

According to results from a Pew Research Center internet study, 89 percent of individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 use social media sites, while 78 percent of 30- to 49-year- olds and 60 percent of those 50 to 64 do so.  And, if you are looking for young talent to fill staff openings, social networking is the best recruiting tool currently available.

Remember, one of the drawbacks of promoting from within is that you may miss out on fresh ideas that someone who has seen things from a different perspective – or from outside of the financial services industry may bring.

The secret to being “found” on social media
Make sure the information posted on your site is fresh and interesting. Some of the most highly rated social media sites engage visitors and encourage them to stay connected with opportunities to win prizes for participating. And if done well, users will share the information with their peers to introduce even more potential account holders to your site. 

Internal benefits of being “social” 
For human resources professionals, social media provides access to a wealth of information on industry trends and helpful hints.   Plus, social media can be a useful tool for posting brief staff notifications or institution news.

Proper usage policies alleviate risks
However, in addition to opening new channels for interaction with internal and external audiences, social media networks can also introduce security, compliance and reputational risks if not managed properly. A social media usage policy – that clearly outlines how your organization and its employees will be represented in the virtual community – is imperative.

Specific details should include:

  • when and how employees may use social media;
  • the importance of protecting network security;
  • the need to ensure account holder and employee privacy; and
  • how to maintain the institution’s reputational integrity.

Keep an eye open for inappropriate comments
In today’s environment, misleading or inaccurate information can go viral quickly. It is important to implement guidelines on how to address discourteous or disrespectful comments, and what course to take in the event information needs to be removed from a site. To be safe, designate someone to monitor everything that appears on any site connected to your brand. 

While no case law currently exists for dealing with employee use or abuse, you can create a positive flow of content and interaction by establishing responsible use policies from the outset.

A well-managed social presence has its rewards
As with any form of consumer communication, social media interaction can boost your marketing efforts and increase business if handled properly. It can also improve employee morale and create a sense of connectivity between all staff levels, as long as everyone – from management to new trainees – fully understand what it is and how to use it.

To learn more about finding the best talent for your organization, contact Charles Shanley at Charles.Shanley@JMFA.com or 866-264-5017.

As seen in: 
IBA, Illinois Banker- January/February 2014
CUInsight Headline News-September 19,2013

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