Saturday, October 18, 2014

Social Media Bootcamp for Bankers Recap and Observations

Recently, I had the privilege of presenting for the Pennsylvania Bankers Association in Harrisburg, PA and conducted a full-day social media bootcamp. Depending on when you read this blog, you can search Twitter for #PBABootcamp to get some of the feedback from the participants (and maybe you'll want to follow some of the great folks that took time out of their busy schedule to spend the day with me).

We covered a TON of information over the course of the day's session. Since this was for bankers, we of coursed talked about things like compliance, regulations and even touched on some of the legal pitfalls that banks should avoid when developing (or executing) their social media policy and engaging customers and their community online. Luckily, I had co-developed the course with my friend (and colleague), Deborah Gonzalez, the founder of Law2SM, LLC. She's an attorney who specializes in social media law and has been practicing in this space since the days of MySpace, so she's been around the social media block a few times. In fact, she just published a book that I highly recommend called Managing Online Risk: Apps, Mobile and Social Media and you can learn more at

Social Media Readiness Assessment

My area of expertise is really in the engagement and strategy areas of social media and digital marketing. Being a banker for 15 years, it also helps me relate to the audience, as I've been in their shoes before. While there were a lot of highlights for the day, one of the processes that I enjoyed the most was our interactive session where we split up into groups and walked through a "Readiness Assessment."

We divided into groups that each took one of eight categories to talk about how "ready" their bank was for social media engagement. The sections were:

  • Leadership Commitment
  • Social Media Knowledge
  • Customer Engagement
  • Competitive Information
  • Staff and Resources
  • Social Media Plan
  • Process Documentation
  • Policy and Measurement

Once done, each group shared their thoughts and what challenges they came up with during their discussion. This was the second time I had facilitated a process like this with a group of bankers, and was a great way to get them thinking about how they would conduct a similar strategy discussion back at their office. Some bankers were totally new to social media (a few didn't even have a Facebook account), while others were already managing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even YouTube for their institution (and looking to do more). This made it nice for everyone since they could network with each other and learn from their peers, as well as take some of the information I was sharing to help them when they got back to their bank.

Peer Exchange of Tools and Sites

During the Readiness Assessment process, I overhead some of the bankers talking about some of the websites and other online tools they are using with their colleagues. This gave me an idea. Over lunch we held a brainstorming session allowing all of the attendees to share what tools, websites, blogs and other online resources they relied upon. This was a great way to share some great information with each other and I even picked up a few new sites/services that I'd not heard of before. Some of the ones we talked about included the website The Financial Brand, SocialMention, Zite, Flipboard, Gremln, Banker Jr., MeltWater, SiteImprove, Shortstack, Mention, Basecamp, Hootsuite, Buffer and more (yeah, it was quite a list). All great resources and each participant got a full list of these sites once the session was over as a resource back at the bank (in addition to all the other files and tools that were part of the Bootcamp session).
Bankers working together developing their Social Media Readiness Assessment.
I love getting up and speaking to audiences, not because I like to hear myself talk (ok, maybe that's part of it - ha ha), but I like the education part and helping others learn. Nothing satisfies me more than when I share something and I see that "lightbulb" moment when someone hears something new. I know how powerful that is when I'm sitting in a seminar and want to get ideas I can use, so when I see it happen from the "other side of the podium" it's pretty cool. But what many may not think is that I get some great ideas and do a bit of learning too. Even on my weekly webinar show, even though I'm a host, the guests (and audience) always teaches me a thing or two.

So if we're ever fortunate enough to be at an event together (and maybe I'm even presenting) I hope you get a few "lightbulb moments" from what I've got to say, but don't be afraid to share with me as well. I know there are a lot of great ideas (and successes) out there and I want to take it all in as best I can. Thanks to the PBA for making it possible for me to meet some amazing bankers and I hope to make it back to your fine state sometime very soon.

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