Cant Buy Me Like - 1In today’s Facebook world, everyone wants consumers to “like” their credit union or bank on Facebook. After all, you often judge your social media success and ROI by the number of members or customers who “like” you on Facebook. So can you buy “like” at your credit union or bank? Hardly.

At least that is the premise behind the book Can’t Buy Me Like by Bob Garfield and Doug Levy. The book hits on a major social media theme today: building authentic customer connections. It’s not about your messages on social media; it’s about authenticity and connections. If you want to improve your financial institution’s social media efforts, then reading Can’t Buy Me Like will give you several ideas how to do so.

Below are some quotes from the book and how we can apply them.

(1) “Simple truth: if you are still selling goods and services by blanketing the world with advertising…you are doing things all wrong.”

Ouch. That puts things pretty bluntly. The authors argue that traditional advertising has gone the way of the Betamax and Yugoslavia. We have to change our marketing efforts because they believe we are in a digital revolution and now living in a relationship era.

  • Application: Completely analyze your current marketing efforts.  Stop using the same tactics (direct mail, billboards, TV ads, etc.). They don’t work. Instead, rely more on digital channels that build genuine relationships with consumers. Need help with your digital strategy? Then check out CU Grow.


(2) “You must understand and internalize that these {technologies} are not about messaging; they are about relationships.”

In the words of Jeffry Pilcher from The Financial Brand, “social media is well, social.” The authors could not agree more with Pilcher. Too many marketers (and bank/credit union CEOs) believe social media is just an inefficient channel for selling stuff. Social media isn’t so much a channel as it is a social activity.

  • Application: Treat your social media efforts as more of a conversation rather than a marketing tool. Use it to listen, not shout. Ask consumers questions, respond to their answers, post information (not sales), etc.


(3) “We expect every one our brands to be guided by a purpose that defines how it uniquely touches and improves lives. We think of it as the soul of the brand.”

That is actually a quote in the book from Marc Pritchard, global marketing and brand building officer with Proctor and Gamble (which knows a few things about building brands). The authors add their insights by noting that when you focus on serving people we uncover human insights, not product insights. However, this focus on your soul (yes, the touchy feely branding stuff) actually leads to profits.

  • Application: Focus on your brand’s soul. Dive deeply into why you as a bank or credit union even exist. Develop a brand central vision statement. Draft brand values. Create a brand plan. This is hard work but taking these steps will improve your bottom line (as the authors note by giving multiple examples).


(4) “You are engaging in a sales strategy, which is pretty close to the antithesis of social marketing.”

This quote is pulled from a section where the authors are making the point that if you are cultivating community and conversation for the purpose of sales you are doing things wrong. They believe people will see right through your efforts. Yes, more social leads to more sales. But don’t do social to get sales.

  • Application: Have the hard conversation with executives about what their expectations are with social media. What kind of return on investment (ROI) are they seeking? Too many times there is a disconnect. CEO, CFOs, boards and number crunchers want an immediate return on how social media increased loan penetration numbers. That may be the wrong way to look at social media.


Those are a few of the key quotes from Can’t Buy Me Like. But there are plenty others. One of the best things the authors developed was the Brand Sustainability Map, where they compare transactions and trust and put your organization in one of four categories (limited, reluctant, emotional, sustainable). So it’s not just a social media book; it also offers great branding insights as well.

You may not be able to buy like, but you can buy Can’t Buy Me Like to learn how to improve your credit union or bank’s social media and branding strategies.