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A Social Media Opportunity Missed

A few weeks ago I attended a session on Social Media, I was flabbergasted, no wait, I was shocked by the lack of knowledge in the business community, that most don’t understand how social networks will impact their business. A local bank put the event on, the event was just to drum up business of course, but they dropped the ball. They should have tried to connect with me during, if not immediately after the event, through a social network of some kind, after all the speakers were talking about social media and how to use it. I left the event empty handed, nothing in hand, no one approached me, I approached the speakers but they were eager to leave right after they finished. First real contact came two weeks later, I got an email. Now to be fair, I was invited by someone associated with the organization, I didn’t hear about the event at all, I heard nothing, he even sat with me (a good move), we have since met a few times to get to know each other better. The email’s primary purpose was to provide me with contact information, here’s a snippet:

<snipped to protect the quilty>

“Your XYZ small business advisor will work with you to identify realistic growth targets — and recommend the right financial products and solutions to help you get there.  If you have any questions about managing your business, please call any time.  I have attached a list of our Senior Account Manager, Business & Personal advisors with contact details.”

They thought they were helping business owners by having someone speak on social media, all it did was freak people out, why, because there was a huge gap as to why they should be paying attention to social networks. The speakers were awesome with how to use social media networks, some steps to take, some tactics and strategy, but they didn’t educate the crowd as to why they needed to do what they were selling. The WHY is more important than tactics and strategy, it’s not enough to say everyone is doing it, show your audience why, show them it’s working, give good examples. Take the time to show what’s going on around them, show them the  future of business, and then try to help you create ideas to help adopt that future. Social networks are just one small part of an open economy. Explain in simple terms what the business of the future looks like, tell how its social and mobile, how a business need to become a platform, how we are seeing the tribalization of business, and what does all this mean to their business. Show the audience what is happening, then give them hope. And just what is happening, a paradigm shift.

I preach the future of business, an open economy, adopting the open & free business model, it means you think differently, it means you realize something has to change, and the need to change it quickly. We are moving into a world where 60% of all commerce is online, another 3 billion people are coming to the Internet in the 3 years, are you ready? Do you know what to do?

The bank collected names and contact information from everyone as they came in, so they had the details to communicate immediately. Posting a warm welcome on FaceBook with a picture of the crowd, a few shout outs on Twitter thanking people for coming, would have gone a long way to making the bank more human. Now in their defence, most of this community do not use Twitter, they all said they used FaceBook in a poll taken by the speakers.

I would have recommended they leverage FaceBook then, wherever the people are, that’s where your business should be! They could have held a contest on FaceBook and Twitter building up to the event, made the announcement on the social networks as to who won during the event. As you can see they could have made it a huge opportunity to connect with people and be more human, which in turn builds more trust. But that’s not what happened, they did what they always do, make the customer work too hard to make communication happen, and the communication that did happen was to make the customer work even more. The bank should have reached out and made it easy for those who attended to get information and have the option to let them sit down with them to talk about product and services. What they did, they sent a mailer telling the audience to contact them, backwards in the new day of business. You make it an opt-in and opt-out, you go to the people, not make the people come to you. If they come to you, it’s most likely going to be by digital means, they aren’t leaving their home to sit in your office. The bank should have invested more in social media, they should have set an example, it was a social media event for crying out loud. Enough said on that, as you can see they could have had a better plan in my humble opinion.

How could this Bank make it easier for the audience, what would you have done?

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About Owen Greaves

I'm a Futurist, I write, speak, and teach the open & free business model, the future of business. Create. Differentiate. Deliver.