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This Is So Much Better than Facebook | Suntell

It is summer time and that means the year is half over and many of us are planning some much needed time off to take a short break or a longer vacation with friends or family. In the spirit of this summer break, I am going to refrain from my usual pontification of commercial credit risk management and best practices for this edition of the Suntell newsletter.

For this newsletter, I want to discuss and share with you how I personally and professionally have viewed ‘social media’ and what I like and don’t like about the various social media platforms.

It is summer time and that means the year is half over and many of us are planning some much needed time off to take a short break or a longer vacation with friends or family. In the spirit of this summer break, I am going to refrain from my usual pontification of commercial credit risk management and best practices for this edition of the Suntell newsletter.

For this newsletter, I want to discuss and share with you how I personally and professionally have viewed ‘social media’ and what I like and don’t like about the various social media platforms. Social media is all of the rage these days. It started about 10 years ago but it has really taken off in only the last 3 or 4 years. Now it seems we cannot escape it. Facebook just went public and even though its IPO was less than a success, it is still worth more than most name brand companies that have been around for over a hundred years.

I have experimented with most of the social media platforms and have come to some conclusions which I would like to share.

Facebook: Is it Good or Bad?

When it comes to Facebook, it obviously has useful value and appeal or it wouldn’t have over 900 million registered users after only 8 years in business. It also appears to have some business value for promotion and building a customer base that “Likes” your organization or brand. I personally believe there is way too much personal information on the Internet being shared among ‘Friends’  with status updates every hour on the hour. Facebook is force to be reckoned with, given its number of users and the momentum its gaining. I think the application is best suited for aggregating friends and family, however the business aspects are something I am still trying to more fully understand.

Twitter:

Who can say anything of any value or substance in 140 characters or less? I sure can’t. Besides who has the time to read the countless Twitter feeds streaming among people that you follow? The jury is still out on this social platform for me. While I don’t  do personal tweeting, I have found tweeting useful for business purposes in building a community of followers in the banking industry for whom I can share links to relevant industry content by inserting a link within the tweet. This information is also shared across another social media platform that I really like called LinkedIn.

LinkedIn: This is Better than Facebook

LinkedIn was started 10 years ago and has 150 million registered users and is considered the #1 social media platform among professionals. LinkedIn as well as other social media sites have grown rapidly and support the ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ theory. That theory is based on that everyone, on average is only 6 steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth.  I have used LinkedIn for at least 4 years and I have to say I love this social media platform for several reasons. I have been able to connect and link with over 150 business and industry associates on LinkedIn. This is my business card rolodex on the web. It is my repository of business connections. As a banker you know firsthand the value of networking and building a network of business connections.  In the 80’s and 90’s when I was a banker, which I am certain is still true today, every banker responsible for building business was required to participate in one or more community or civic activities. Why? Not only was this participation an act of good stewardship in your community but by involved in the community you were making and building trusted relationships and connections which are valuable in any business.

How many contacts do you think those my 150+ business associates in my LinkedIn network could be introduced to me? Thousands I am guessing. Those thousands connections are just ‘two degrees’ away. See the power of connections in your business?  If I ran a financial institution today, all of my sales or business development people would be required to be on LinkedIn and actively engaged in building their LinkedIn network.

In addition to building a network, LinkedIn supports your ability to share content and information directly into a Twitter feeds. One of the areas I find useful is the Groups area. In the last year, I joined the ‘Community Bank Executive Forum’ group on LinkedIn. This is a great area to share in discussions or to initiate new discussions on various banking topics or issues among other banking executives. If you are community bank executive, plug into this group of over 4,375 current LinkedIn users in this group.

This is the extent of what I know or have experienced in the realm of social media. If you are like me, you are still evaluating the pros and cons of the various social media platforms and how to use them or benefit from them. I would like to have ignored all of it, but the reality is it’s not going away anytime soon and I always hate to be left in the dust on emerging trends.

If you would like to connect with me on LinkedIn, please click here and send me an invite and I will connect with you so we can stay in touch.

Have a great summer!

Thank you for your business and loyal patronage.

Duane Lankard
CEO