It was about a year and a half ago when First County Bank began to journey into, at the time, the unknown by making the decision to participate in the world of Social Media. It may not sound like a big deal to you but to a bunch of conservative, overly-regulated bankers and board members, it was a leap into the abyss. Well, we are glad we did. Today we celebrate having over 1,200 fans on Facebook, our messages regularly get re-tweeted on Twitter and you can connect with us via LinkedIn.
We are not selling on this media but we enjoy the interaction with our clients and colleagues in the area. It’s also been a great way to keep up with the good work of many nonprofits we enjoy a relationship with through the First County Bank Foundation.
Personally, it’s a great way for me to stay engaged, keep my ear to the ground, have a little fun and improve my business. According to IBM’s 2012 Global CEO Study, only 16% of CEO’s polled participate in social media and it puzzles me why more don’t take this seriously. It’s even more puzzling as the study goes on to indicate that within five years social media will be the number two way to engage with customers (after face-to-face interaction). We believe starting when we did and growing slowly into the space was a step in the right direction – why wait five years? That’s probably a lifetime in social media terms. Plus, you run the risk of being left behind.
I know there are many companies using social media today but there are also those still on the fence about taking the plunge. My recommendation to business owners and community leaders is to think about getting online and setting the bar for their employees and clients to participate as well. To this end, last year the Bank hosted a free social media seminar at the Stamford UCONN campus. Attendance surpassed and effectively doubled our anticipated numbers, which called for special arrangements. Local small business owners seemed eager and ready to learn about how this new space could benefit them.
As a result, a few attendees entered the world of social media for their business shortly after the seminar. We are glad they did. At the end of the day, there is plenty of room for everyone!