Monday, March 9, 2009

Using altruism to draw consumers
to your social networking sites.

A few posts ago, I blogged about how Dairy Queen was incenting bloggers to write about their new menu by awarding the first 250 to a $5 gift card. Now, author Tim Ferriss is encouraging people to “follow” him on Twitter, the fast-growing 140-character microblog. Billed as the “Tweet to Beat: Paying $3 per Twitter Follower”, Ferriss notes that he and an anonymous matching donor will give the funds to high-need schools in the U.S. via Through this altruistic approach, Ferriss is sure to gain continued PR for his book and gain popularity in search engine rankings. . . all due to links connecting to his website and blog. He even provides readers with the appropriate links to use to direct others to his sites. Ferriss, who started the promotion at approx. 22,500 followers (those who sign-on to watch what he writes or “tweets”) will cap it at 50,000. The author of the NY Times bestseller, The 4-Hour Work Week, has set up his challenge with rules, regs and deadlines.

This is definitely an interesting approach to fundraising, public relations and social networking media. Simply it encapsulates all three in one tight package.

How can bank marketing executives use this same approach?
If you don’t already have a blog, FaceBook or Twitter presence, now is the time to consider one. Some time down the road, it will be essential to add these forms of social networking media to your marketing mix. Your younger consumers will demand it. And, you might be surprised how many of your “older” business and retail clientele is already dabbling with it. Starting now you can get your feet wet and experiment before your competition becomes adept at the increasingly popular media. A similar campaign from your bank marketing department would be a great driver to your social networking site. You’re introducing them to your new form of communication and identifying yourself as a community activist. Plus, you’ll be getting your employees backing that new bank promotional tool.

Many banks, especially community banks, are involved with altruistic endeavors in their various locales. But often times, the support is scatter-shot. . . giving to many different charities. I have recommend in the past that community banks choose one major charity . . . at least for the year. . . and commit to it. In effect, “branding” their bank with that charity. It could be the local fire department, an animal shelter or. . . . a tie-in to a financial product or service (supporting a military platoon which co-insides with your SBA Patriot Express program).

In the meantime, sign-on to Ferriss’ campaign, see how social networking works and help out a worthy cause.


Jeffry Pilcher said...

Suggested title: "Using shameless self-promotion for charity and good."

Tim Ferris is 100% all about Tim Ferris all the time, even when he's trying not to make it about "Tim Ferris."

You make good points both about Twitter and focusing your altruistic efforts. I think for most small banks, they decide who they'll support based on who comes knocking on their doors.

Jeffrey Drake said...

I've made the exact recommendation to my bank clients - build a charity strategy that has a singular focus, and ideally executed againsta singular chartable event. In fact, even small banks can create their own event that can provide greater proprietary value, greater PR, and brand association. But alas, the executives do love so much their golf sponsorships!