A hot topic of our times is how to make the best use of social media. To start, you must understand the terms.
“Media” means methods of communication—whether for social or business reasons—typically between people in different locations and not involving a face-to-face meeting. The communication can be for social, business, or other purposes, and can be anything from one-way communication to multidirectional, real-time interaction.
Web 2.0 interaction, collaboration, and sharing—spurred at least in part by the advent of blogging—have moved Internet use beyond simply a one-way delivery of information.
Websites provide a wealth of information about businesses and individuals. But before blogging and chat, the electronic avenue to providing thoughts, opinions, and information requests in response to content on websites was through e-mail. While it offers interaction, e-mail has limitations and lacks many features of newer social networks.
Blogging and chat, when introduced, became popular, immediate, and active methods of socializing, with features e-mail didn’t have. While bloggers and texters can share pictures and video remotely, they also share with e-mail the benefit of not needing to be in the same physical location at the same time, but rather in a shared virtual location.
Businesses soon discovered that using social media allowed them to interact with consumers of their products and services. Social media allows them to provide greater service and more useful information in response to that interaction, and to create communities of people similar to those that exist purely for social interaction.
There are, however, perceived and very real dangers in using social media, including:
Social media use can also yield many rewards, including:
If you don’t adopt social media strategies, you risk losing an advantage and possibly even marketplace legitimacy. Credit unions must deal with the risks, embrace the rewards, and actively participate in the burgeoning world of social media.
ROBERT REH is chief information officer at Nassau Financial FCU, Westbury, N.Y., and vice chair of the CUNA Technology Council. Contact him at 516-240-1257. For more information about CUNA Councils, visit cunacouncils.org.