We recently had a meeting at work to discuss a branding change the credit union I work at is planning to make. They want to set themselves apart from other financial institutions, presenting themselves as a more approachable, friendly environment where people can come in and get help with their money, rather than feeling like it’s being taken from them and the meeting was to show us how they planned to do it. To get us in the spirit of change they played loud music, fed us free food and drinks, gave out lots of prizes, the CEO even wore a boxing uniform during his presentation. I have to say it was an interesting time. But one of the things that I found most interesting about the meeting was how they encouraged us to add the credit union on Facebook and Twitter.
Part of their new marketing approach is to get involved with the people outside of the brick and mortar credit union and get involved and connected with people’s online lives. While not everyone may love the idea of posting on a companies Facebook and Twitter for a living, the credit union I work for just hired someone to do exactly that. And it’s not the only company out there doing it.
Social media is rapidly become a valuable business resource for many companies. It allows them to reach new audiences and keep in contact with the audience they already have. And it’s opening up an entirely new type of job field. As anyone with even more than one email account knows, keeping up on your online interactions can be time consuming, and sometimes quite a pain, but it has become a part of our daily lives. An obligation people can now be paid to keep up on. I don’t know that I’d say it is a great environment for quality business writing. 140 characters doesn’t give much room for depth, and a Facebook post more than a few sentences long will be passed over by many. But with an online presence in social media that’s not really what they’re aiming for. People who interact with companies through social media want the short and sweet, the personable, unbuttoned version, which means it’s not necessary to produce something overly eloquent or in-depth.
The good or bad in this transition and increase in corporate involvement depends on what you value. If you want to read an in depth analysis of a company you are thinking about investing in, it’s not going to do you much good. But if you want to know what coupon is available at Beauty Brands this week, it certainly will.
Personally, I think I’ll keep my social networking to personal socializing, I certainly don’t need my coworkers checking out my Facebook or creeping on my Twitter. But it’s always good to know what’s available on the wondrous world wide web. And it is going to become more and more available as companies continue to jump on board with this new strategy. =]