Follow these best practices to use social media effectively:
• Include new technology and new media practices in daily routines. Set aside time, for example, to monitor social media channels for discussion about your credit union. This will help you detect and prevent potential risks that could become crises.
• Stimulate conversations about known issues with stakeholders. This gives members a chance to be heard. Ensure conversations are professional, proactive, and manageable.
• Connect with people proactively, before a crisis, to establish transparent relationships. This creates credibility and trustworthiness, and helps build social capital.
• Incorporate established business theories and elements. They still matter today.
• Be consistent across all social media platforms and traditional media outlets, especially during a crisis. Ensure the same content is quickly and easily accessible across all communication platforms.
• Create targeted messages for different media, audiences, and angles. Test possible scenarios in training, so you’ll know how to respond quickly and effectively.
• Remember: Using social media to establish a solid reputation is a long-term process. But crises can happen fast. Be prepared; small events and reactions do matter.
• Learn about new factors and implications in crisis communication. Training before a crisis can help you prepare to be more effective when it happens. Participate in regular crisis simulations with public relations professionals, government agency professionals, business owners, and others.
All members, staff, and volunteers are part of a credit union’s reputation, so all should know the risks, challenges, and opportunities of social media. Be prepared to use it effectively, especially during crisis situations.
LIBBY VERTZ is an intern in CUNA’s business-to-business publishing department. Contact her at 608-231-4096.
This article first appeared in Front Line Newsletter.