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Why social media matters

If you don’t realize that it matters, read this blog

Why social media matters

All was fine when the relocation offer came in—his bride-to-be would live in his house until the wedding and after the wedding they would rent it out. A management company was hired and a date for occupancy was set. Having only received one inquiry during the first month and with the wedding only weeks away, the bride-to-be took matters into her own hands. She posted the house on a couple of targeted Facebook sites at 8:30 p.m. By 11:00 p.m., she had 54 personal messages (PMs), 31 comments, and 27 “likes”. At 8:30 a.m. the next morning, that number had risen to 68 PMs with five more comments. Nearly 12 hours after the initial post, the management company had seen a tremendous increase in interest in the property—which surprised them. They didn’t understand how the property went from having little interest to “blowing up” their lines. In less than 24 hours, papers were signed and the house was rented. However, it was rented through a newly hired management company because the existing agency could not respond fast enough to the inquiries! Still believe that social media is unnecessary?

Rob Lever, Agence France Presse, announced, “In the online world of sharing and ‘likes,’ the recommendations of friends, family and even strangers turn out to have real, measurable value.” This value has been quantified in a  report from ShareThis, entitled The Return on a Share: Quantifying the Monetary Value of Social Sharing. The report states, “Online recommendations influence consumer purchases more than price and brand, and carry nearly as much weight as face-to-face recommendations.” The study found that social media reviews increase the value and desirability of products.  In the economic sense, billions of dollars are on the line.

The study further finds that the sharing through social media consistently outperforms both consumer ratings and consumer reviews. It continues, saying that online sharing carries essentially the same weight as direct, face-to-face conversing; therefore, sharing is a viral chain with increase transfer through social media. By sharing, the user places their stamp of approval (or their displeasure) out for all to see. The user also receives information from others’ posts. These posts can be from family members, friends, or yes, even strangers. Social media allows users to create and consume viral content. Tim Schigel, founder of Share This, states, “Sharing is affecting, connecting and redefining every element of the communications landscape; across community, content, currency and conversations; in ways that are rapidly changing the game for brands.”  Sharing is impacting the day-to-day life of consumers. Are your customers sharing your financial institution?

While the Share This report did not specifically focus on bank customers, these findings can be applied to financial institutions. Banks need to determine ways to communicate with their customers that are culturally savvy and advantageous. How do your customers make the decision to bank with you? What do your customers say about you on social media? Do you see your current customers as partners in marketing?

The story is not over… using Facebook during the move, the couple sold a sectional leather couch (asked $200, sold for $250), a convection toaster oven (asked $60, sold for $40) and a queen mattress and box spring set (asked $150, sold for $100). All of these transactions were same day of the posting and in some cases within minutes of the posting.

To be clear, social media has become a powerful communication and commerce tool. It is an excellent space to place important and time relevant information. Digital natives use this space for virtual shopping as they surf the “selling this” and virtual means fast too! Social media has become the first place digital natives go when looking for whatever and that re-enforces what our daughter said about the internet several years ago, “It is not the world wide web as much as the World Wide WHATEVER!”

Be it sharing, telling or selling, the success of those using social media is not an accident or magic. The outcomes are real and relevant. The obvious conclusion is: not being online with a targeted social media marketing and outreach program, translates over time to fewer digital native customers in the 21st Century.

This article was a collaborative effort of Sarah Peper, education intern at the Copper River Group; Becky Fisher, Middle School Teacher at Discovery Middle School and CFO of the Copper River Group, and yours truly, the Wombat!

Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is president and CEO of The Copper River Group, a consulting firm headquartered in Fargo, N. D., that focuses on technology and payment systems research and consulting for community financial institutions. For nearly 30 years, Fisher has worked in the financial industry using technology to improve the bottom line. He was CIO of Community First Bankshares (now part of Bank of the West), has served as a director of the Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis, the chairman of the American Bankers Association Payment Systems Committee, and was a member of the Independent Community Bankers of America Payments Committee. Fisher has written numerous articles on banking technology and the payments system. He has authored or co-authored six books and recently published a book titled, "Capturing Your Customer! The New Technology of Remote Deposit." You can contact Fisher at dan@copperrivergroup.com.
P.S. To understand Dan's nickname, check out "About the Wombat" on his website.       

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