If you’ve engaged with any Millennial, and recently even some Baby Boomers, you’ve heard them mention at least one of the following: SnapChat, Instagram, DubSmash. The list goes on and on.  Social media is no longer only for teens. Everyone and almost every business has now bought into the social media phenomenon. Facebook is used by 72% of online American adults, and Twitter’s fastest growing demographic is users within the 55-64 year age bracket.

That being said, social media has transcended from a growing trend to an established business paradigm. Here are 5 ways to get social media buy-in from the executives at your financial institutions.

Customer Service

According to Forbes, companies with a social care program experience a 7.5% YoY increase in customer retention, and those without only see a change of 2.9%. When companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers end up spending 20-40% more with the company.

Not only that, social media is another way to give an immediate response time and 71% of customers have reported that valuing their time is the best thing a company can do. Once you’ve pleased them customers are nearly three times more likely to recommend your brand.

In other words, banks and credit unions that use social media effectively can become better at customer service, and essentially become a more valuable brand in the mind of their customers.

Reputation Management

Whether banks or credit unions are using social media doesn’t matter anymore. People are talking, and they’re talking about you. In 2013, it was reported that 75% of people talk about brands on social media, and with the fast adoption of social media channels you can only assume that the number has continued to grow.

Banks that ignore social media let negative reviews and comments build up and define who they are. Social media can be a tool that helps fix tarnished reputations. Consumers want to work with brands they trust and social media (when used correctly) helps to build that trust.

Compete With Larger Institutions

It’s happened in other industries, and can certainly happen in financial services. Smaller brands have used social media to compete with larger corporate brands who have big pockets. Community banks and credit unions have carved out a niche for themselves, have loyal customers, and have established relationships they can turn into powerful stories. This gives them an edge that larger institutions don’t have.

While large institutions will crush smaller organizations when they bid on keywords, developing a content marketing strategy amplified by social media will help you stay in the race. In fact, it could put you ahead of them.

Attract Top Talent

A digital presence is one of the first things prospects will encounter when looking for employment opportunities. If they aren’t impressed they’ll quickly turn the other cheek. Social media is just one of the digital footprints an organization can leave, and if it’s promoting a positive work environment, celebrating accomplishments, and showing the culture of the organization, it will work in your favor.

Bridge The Generational Gap

The average 18-21 year old uses 3.7 social networks, and for those 30-34 that number decreased to 2.9. These are either current, or future customers for any brand, not just banks.

If banks are going to remain relevant with potential clients they need to direct their marketing efforts to where those consumers spend a large portion of their time. Those places may be different from bank to bank and credit union to credit union, but social media has gone from trend to phenomenon and there may come a time when many consumers will ONLY take advice about purchasing decisions from social media.

Social media matters. It’s no longer a fad. It’s no longer a shiny new toy that “only the kids are playing with”.

Only 7% of marketers say they don’t use social media for business. As bank and credit union marketers we’ve got to start talking to people in the places they hang out. Otherwise, us marketers might was well be talking to no one but ourselves.

What’s your advice and insight for banks and credit unions that are still not on all, if any, social media platforms?