It is our pleasure to share a guest post with you today from James Robert Lay, a leading voice in the credit union industry on the power of social media, innovation, communication, and collaboration.  Enjoy!

As more and more credit unions enter the social media conversation, it can sometimes be overwhelming with all the different accounts one has to manage.  In addition, to follow up Michael’s previous thoughts, it is also important to post and create content after hours when people are checking their social networks.

While some are connected all day to Facebook and Twitter, others do their primary social networking after general business hours.  But what happens to your credit union in the conversation?  Are your social media channels playing the quiet game after hours?

There are some amazing web tools available to manage multiple social networks and even schedule posts to go out at a certain time.  Before we take a look at a few, please remember that social media is about being social and providing relevant information to your followers.  Social media is NOT about broadcasting or reusing marketing messages about the latest promotion, rate or holiday closing.  If this is all your posting, there is a good chance that no one is listening.

As an alternative, I recommend three simple steps: listen, learn and engage.  Listen to what is being discussed by your followers, learn from their conversations and then engage them in a real and personal way.  Keep in mind that all your tweets or posts do not have to be financially related or even about your credit union.  Make them real and relevant to your members and community.

But I digress… let’s get back to practical ways to manage social networks (primarily Twitter and Facebook) during the day and even after business hours.

One amazing online tool I recommend for managing both Twitter and Facebook is Hootsuite.  Hootsuite runs in your browser and let’s you manage multiple accounts including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more all from one location.  No more going to Facebook to make a post or Twitter to make an update as Hootsuite allows you to do it all from one location.

In addition, Hootsuite also allows you to schedule posts whenever you like.  This is very helpful when following a social media plan and strategy where you have planned content to go out that is helpful and educational.  Furthermore, Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts to go out after hours or on the weekends to keep the conversation going with your followers.

Another useful tool for after hours social media management are mobile applications that run smart phones.  There are many different apps available for iPhones, Androids and Blackberries allowing you to connect and manage your social networks where ever you are.  So if it is the weekend and someone tweets out to your credit union, instead of waiting until Monday to respond, using a mobile app will allow you to respond much quicker as needed.

In summary, there are many different ways to connect and manage multiple social media accounts in addition to scheduling posts and tweets to go out after hours.   There is also an option of syncing your social networks with your cell phone for easy mobile management.  Take some time to play around and try new things to find what works best for you.  But remember… listen, learn and engage.

About James Robert Lay

James Robert Lay is the Grower of Relationships at PTP NEW MEDIA and the Chief Tailor of Conversation at CU*SWAG. He is a web, viral and social marketing consultant as well as credit union advocate dedicated to helping credit unions connect and build relationships with their members and community. In addition, he is also one of the founders of www.cugrow.com, a credit union industry blog with a focus on innovation, communication and collaboration.