I think it’s really tricky attempting to tackle Social Media for Financial Services or for any big brands. I feel like I kind of dodged a bullet not ending up with the Social Media job I applied for in London within the same company I work for now, but within a more centralised team. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get it or maybe it’s because I never really wanted to move to London. I’ve recently learned a little about why I didn’t get the job and yeah, I could have done things differently, but I’m not a ‘what if’ kind of person, well, never in a negative, regretful way. I have one major regret in my life and it was that I stayed a home finishing AS-Level Physics coursework when I could have gone to see Blondie with my dad. Ah, well, you live and learn.
I wonder, had I got that job, would my writing be the same as it is today? Back when I was trying to land that job, I was also trying to write about Financial Services, and while I am clearly interested in that, I’m not interested enough or niche enough to write about that exclusively. Also, I have a load of other exciting stuff going on that I’d much rather be discussing, than First Direct’s latest Savings widget.
So, I’m still the Social Representative in my team at work, which is great because I get to see what I would have been doing. I work in a team currently that is massively sales focussed and it’s cool to see the sales climb when you change products or alter a page, which are both things I’ve had the opportunity to make happen over the last few months, that I wouldn’t have done in another role. However, with Social Media, no matter what anyone says, most of the initiatives are really hard to attribute to sales.
The businesses that are making real wins from Social Media are the smaller companies who can open up channels of communication to allow people to promote them, because people will talk about amazing products, amazing service and inspiring concepts. We all know about the big brands and I get the feeling, in the majority of instances, most of their significant Social Media buzz is complaints based. That’s fine. I think it’s a positive initiative for big brands to be resolving customer issues in an open environment in a genuine manner, but I also get why there is a reticence to hit Social Media hard for these companies, because their Twitter, Facebook, forums will get struck by these complaints and you can’t ignore or delete them, so you need to resource to tackle them.
Small companies need a Social Media presence. Yes, they could still be subject to complaints, but they need to know where they fall down as much as big brands, so that they can tackle the issues. But I know it’s always the smaller guys that I’ll tell my friends about, the little niche boutiques and the funky new websites, because I love sharing something awesome that I discovered.
I believe that genuine and awesome will always win out and opening up Social Media channels for communication and the dissemination of recommendations just enables these wins to happen quicker.
My ambition is to help small businesses gain or improve their digital presence. Know anyone that needs a hand? Give them my name (that would be Jo Darby) and my email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
And if you want further reading material, click below.
And if you want something not written by me, I highly recommend this book, which has some great case studies from small businesses using Social Media.
My favourite small businesses to follow…