Milford Bank has been very active on Twitter and Facebook. How did that first come about?
Social networks can be a great way to connect with people that we don’t come in regular contact with. It’s often said, if your business doesn’t have an online presence, it doesn’t exist. There are customers that never go into branches or open bank statements, but those same people may be on Facebook or Twitter! We realized that having a website is no longer enough. It needs to be supplemented with social media. By using the tools available through popular social networks, it’s easier than ever to communicate and interact with people, as well as gain valuable insight through feedback and analytics (statistics). Social media is also a great way to promote products and services, post specials and deals, hold contests, and strengthen a brand’s image.
Do you have any advice for businesses looking to get involved with tweeting who are overwhelmed by the idea?
Twitter allows you to post short updates, photos, videos, and links, and communicate with others. There are many free resources available to help you get started with design and the technical aspects. If you are uncomfortable or inexperienced with technology, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do you have an existing employee that is knowledgeable about social networks? Are you in a position to hire a social media advisor or manager? If not, look into finding an unpaid intern, or even a family member that can help set up and/or maintain your accounts.
If you are just starting out, you can begin by following friends and family, others in your field, and people in your area. It might also be helpful to follow social media and online marketing “experts”. Also, check out competitors’ profiles; what they are talking about, and at what frequency. Make a list of topics to tweet about and how often (perhaps, once or twice a day to start). Start by tweeting and sharing (retweeting) others’ posts. You know your patrons better than anyone, so stick with topics that would interest your current and potential customers! For example: if you’re a restaurant owner, tweet about: daily specials, new additions to the menu, coupons, and exceptional employees. But don’t limit it to advertising! Reply to tweets and mentions, tweet about what’s going on in the area, any volunteer/community involvement or sponsorships, local news and events, and anything else that you feel would interest customers.
Milford Bank uses social media to get the word out about in-person events, such as the recent Customer Appreciation Day. How do you strike a balance between social and traditional promotion?
We balance the two by being consistent and fluent in both social and traditional promotions. Simply, where one lacks, the other fills the gap. Some of our customers don’t use computers or social networks, so traditional promotion is still a relevant and effective tool to reach out to our customer base. But, with social media, you can communicate with your current and potential customers in real-time, and on a more regular basis. Billboards, flyers, or newspaper ads are still effective outlets, but when you add social media to the mix, you have the opportunity add more depth and personality to your brand, reach out to more people, and expand your range.