Sustaining Social Media Success With Marketing Muscle

American Express first ran national TV spots for its OPEN Forum, an online resource and networking website for business owners, back when the social media project was launched in July 2009.

Now — in what may be a first in the financial industry — American Express just rolled out a new wave of ads supporting its OPEN Forum.

In this one-minute spot, a number of real users from the OPEN Forum are quoted.


As small businesses are busy reinventing the economy,
small business owners have a lot of questions.
“Can paperless billing get me paid faster?”
“How can I keep my best employees?”
“How can I bring down my insurance costs?”
And while at American Express OPEN,
we might not have all the answers, we know who does.
Other owners.
That’s why we’re helping business owners connect.
Together, we’re building a community for them to talk,
to share, and to help each other.
A place called
Where owners can swap ideas and ask questions.
“Will tweeting get me more customers?”
“How can I make my business green?”
And one questions seems especially popular.
“How can I get paid faster?”
“How can I get paid faster?”
“I was about to ask you the same thing.”
And there are inspiring ideas like AcceptPay,
a new tool from OPEN that lets owners invoice digitally
and helps them get paid faster.
Ask a question. Find an answer.
Join the conversation at

These days, it isn’t uncommon to see the a financial institution placing offline ads celebrating the debut of their new online initiatives. In fact, using traditional media tactics has proven to be one of the more effective ways to stimulate strong initial interest in a bank or credit union social media project. But what you don’t see are ads and other forms of offline marketing for these projects six months after they’ve launched.

Financial institutions launching their first few social media project will frequently delude themselves with these four myths:

  1. If we build it… they will come.
  2. As long as it’s awesome, people will find it.
  3. You can do it all online.
  4. It’s all free!


Many financial marketers want to believe this is all it takes
to build a successful social media project.


In reality, it takes just as much time, money and energy — if not more —
to create a successful social media presence as any other
major marketing initiative your financial institution has ever undertaken.

Reality Check: People aren’t going to magically flock to your financial institution’s social media project. It still takes good old-fashioned marketing muscle to drive meaningful results and user participation. Without marketing support, you won’t sustain people’s interest… if you were lucky enough to catch their interest in the first place.

Bottom Line: If you don’t allocate an ongoing budget, resources and personnel to your social media project — and measure according to specific goals — it’s bound to be a flop.

More about OPEN Forum: The AmEx OPEN Forum enables business people to market their companies, find vendors and build relationships with one another. Primarily the site is used for business owners to ask and answer questions about subjects like balancing cash flow and managing insurance costs. Business owners can also receive the latest news from OPEN Forum by following @OPENForum on Twitter.



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