You need to nurture your social media audiences if you want them to blossom and bear fruit.

You’ve done it. You created accounts for your Credit Union on every social media platform, picked your social media management tool, and started planting some custom content. You post at the recommended times, and answer your followers’ and fans’ messages. In short, you’ve planted your social media garden.

Congrats! Good job!

But your engagement, the likes and shares everyone covets so much, isn’t exactly growing. Your posts just seem to sit there, trying to get as much sun as possible in the short time they appear in someone’s feed.

So, now what?

Like most plants, your social media seeds need some good, steady rain to grow.

There are plenty of solutions and recommendations out there detailing how to best boost your engagement. There are a lot of common threads; from simple ideas like posting more often or using more visuals, to more involved exploits like polls, giveaways and contests. There are even resources out there to help you start using ads on different social media platforms.

One of the more practical ways to grow is to connect your social media content to your SEO strategy. Search engines do index social media sites, and social media sites have started to become better internal search engines. So if you base more of your social media on the search terms you are targeting, and connect those posts to landing pages within your website, in time you will reap the results.

Any one of these ideas might just do the trick for you. But at their core, all of this advice points to the same idea: You need to nurture your social media audiences if you want them to grow, blossom and bear fruit.

Without time and attention, your audience withers away.

A good first step is to set up a way to monitor your feeds, so you know where to water and where to prune. This process is often called “Social Listening,” and the easiest way to do this is with a social media monitoring tool that lets you track your mentions and identify important hashtags or key phrases to follow in a single feed.

It’s likely that your social media management platform already has this functionality built-in, offering you an easy way to engage with your members and weed out the haters. But if your platform doesn’t seem to be up to scratch, you can always look for a third-party Social Listening software.

Monitoring those feeds you set up will help you, but it doesn’t mean a lot of you aren’t following up with some honest-to-goodness interaction. You can only reap what you sow, so be sure to stay active and participate in conversations; respond quickly to mentions, direct messages, and comments.

You may not feel like a social media Master Gardener, but keep in mind that you don’t actually need a green thumb. Like a true gardener, you just need to equip yourself with the proper tools. And if the garden’s too big, you can always ask for help.

Help management recognize the bounties of your harvest.

Budget season can be rough if management can’t see what you have reaped. When it comes to time to dead-head the bottom line, you may need to convince Accounting of how important social media is to your credit union.

Here’s how to re-frame peoples’ expectations:

  • Social media is where your members connect – If you’re not there, you’re not hearing what they’re saying.
  • Social media is customer service – An active social media presence helps you answer questions and get input from your members. It’s like a call center and support desk rolled into one.
  • Social media boosts SEO – Don’t be afraid to show off how you’ve connected the dots between SEO and social media. Between curated feeds and targeted interaction you can do something better than respond to member engagements – you can grow them yourself.
  • Social media conversations turn into leads – All those clicks, likes and comments aren’t just fluff. They’re your member reaching out to you. They can even generate leads for your loan officers.

A strategic and well-implemented social media presence is a powerful asset to your marketing department, and your Credit Union as a whole.

So strut your stuff, and let people know.

Sam Dicken
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