Guest blog by Laura Wilson, IBA Vice President-Communications
Last week the Indiana Bankers Association hosted a strategic planning meeting at a retreat locale in Henryville, Ind. Current and future board members, plus some past chairmen, met with senior staff to review, dissect and plan for the future of this Association. The average tenure of service among participating bankers was 34 years each, representing literally centuries of combined years of experience around the table. It was inspiring to witness so much wisdom in one spot … and gratifying to see that IBA’s thought leaders are progressive, creative and refreshingly open to new ideas.
Social media is one of those “new” ideas – not technically, of course, but it feels new to baby boomers like myself. Yet while my generation perceives it as new, social media continues to grow as a means of reaching future constituents – whether they be prospective bank customers, tomorrow’s IBA members or emerging bank leaders. To future leaders, social media is not an experiment; it’s an expectation.
At IBA, we recognized that we needed to start the social media climb, and we began the way most organizations do – one small step at a time. Our initial goal was simply to gain a foothold, so we established presence on several platforms. At first we generally posted the same messages across all our media, but over time we developed a strategy of tailored messaging for each:
- IBA Facebook – member-bank community outreach;
- IBA Twitter – financial literacy tips from member bank websites;
- IBA LinkedIn – industry news and articles;
- IBA Desktop blog – political commentary and current events.
We wanted to gauge our success, so we set goals in each area and tracked “likes” and “follows.” Thanks to you, our members, our social media following has been growing steadily. The metrics below represent progress between February and November of this year:
- Facebook likes grew from 292 to 352;
- Twitter followers increased from 448 to 736;
- LinkedIn followers rose from 143 to 291;
- Desktop blog subscribers went up from 83 to 157.
Because of your support, we already have exceeded our 2013 goals in three out of four platforms. Facebook is the missing link – we seek 48 more “likes” in order to reach 400 by year-end. Facebook is the most promising of our social media, because it showcases photos of member bankers helping the communities they serve. Facebook also is the most challenging platform due to accessibility issues, reputational perception and a relatively low level of engagement among current bank leaders.
If you have not already, please consider liking IBA Facebook, and encourage your board and staff to do the same. The procedure is to visit IBA Facebook, and click on the thumbs-up “Like” button toward the top of the page. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s value is in public perception. Each like is a vote of confidence in the Indiana banking community that IBA represents.
This confidence ties back to another theme from last week’s strategic planning meeting: restoring and building the image of banking. Certainly social media is not the complete remedy, but it is one part of a larger campaign to help elevate the image of banking to its rightful place. We very much appreciate your support.