By Mark Zmarzly, VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing
In the previous post It’s Time to Change Your Social Media Story – Part 1 , I made a brilliant argument for the end of the Internet. Actually, I wrote about how Facebook’s timeline changes should give all financial institutions reason to reconsider their social media strategies, but I think you could read between the lines. The time for reinvention is here, as is the road map below.
If you have the guts (and resources) to reinvent your narrative, here are the things to think about as you redesign and redefine your story:
- You are not the main character in your story…
- Your story (updates, cover photos, apps, etc) needs to reflect your customers, not your bank
- People identify with those like them (more accurately: with people slightly better than themselves), not with their bank
Who are the main characters in the stories below? Which story would you rather read?
Your voice needs to be authentic
Every time I see a scripted wall post that’s repeated over and over “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Please contact us at email@example.com so we can look into your issue and work with you to resolve it.” I want to jump right into my laptop screen onto the Information Super Highway and drive down to a town I like to call Shoot Myself. Yes, discussions about personal account level data need to be taken offline but this voice is your narrator and he/she is inauthentic and not engaging. Amber Farley from Financial Marketing Solutions adds, “Not only does the voice of the bank need to be authentic and relevant, but it needs to be reflective of the bank’s overall brand. Banks shouldn’t jump into social media pretending to be something they aren’t.”
Learn from the great writers around you…not just any random writer/reader out there
It’s good to listen to what’s being said about your brand online, but it’s not good to let your story be controlled by others. You control your brand; your story is a part of that journey. Listening, engagement, and moment of relevance have all become buzz words for social media justification but they are not justification for the new story. Reader interaction is good for a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure tale but only 12-year-old boys like those. If you choose to accept my challenge, good fortune (and sales) will come to you. If you choose not to accept the challenge, turn here.
Get out of your routine to discover new stories
I was reminded of this just yesterday by Dave Martin’s new American Banker column: Get Out of the Branch, Go Visit Local Businesses. Characters at rest tend to stay at rest. Similarly, your stories don’t hatch in the conference room; you need to unearth them by getting into motion.
Practice different forms of writing
Short story, long form, anything between. I love Embassy Suites’ new 366 days of more campaign. It has a great voice (copy, visuals, and actor in perfect synergy), a reinforcing story (more, more, more in the pitch and at their hotels, and has a story ending in mind (Feb 28, 2013). Readers and authors don’t want to get trapped in long, winding stories…most don’t have patience to be on either end of that equation.
I don’t expect you to scrap you current social media offerings today, but do expect those of you out there who are in control of your Financial Institution’s story to view Facebook’s new changes for the game changers that they are: storytelling is the new black…or the new 30…or something like that.
All of the elements of a good story need to be incorporated into your social media efforts: good characters, authentic voice, visual elements, plot twists, and an ending or climax of events. Conflict is also good, but I think I just provided that to most of you.
A timeline is a great record of where you have been but it doesn’t foretell your future. Your story can go in any direction as of today. Tell your story wisely.
Read more about the new Facebook changes here:
Facebook, Tell Your Story with Timeline
Social Media Examiner, Seven New Facebook Changes Impacting Businesses
TheFinancialBrand.com, 10 Things Financial Marketers Need to Know About Facebook’s New Timeline Features Right Now
About Mark Zmarzly:
Mark Zmarzly is VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing, and an accomplished marketing, business development, banking, and creative professional with demonstrated success solving customer acquisition, marketing, and profitability problems. He has worked with financial institutions from 1 branch up to 1,700+ branches in the areas of marketing, copywriting, account management, consulting, teaching, social media, and business development. You can find his insights on issues facing the financial industry at http://ihelpbanks.com/ and on Twitter @BankMarketing. You can also connect with him On LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markzmarzly.