Magazine article Business Credit

Expanding Credit Knowledge through Social Media

Magazine article Business Credit

Expanding Credit Knowledge through Social Media

Article excerpt

In today's tech-savvy world, the ability to communicate with another person halfway around the globe can literally be done in the palm of your hand. While now second nature to many, this type of instantaneous communication was not even a consideration a mere decade ago, especially in the professional industry. But today, small businesses to large corporations are active online through various social media platforms in an effort to promote their products, market opportunities and stay relevant with the ever-changing times.

The same can be said for the credit profession. As the industry evolves, NACM-National and many of its affiliates are expanding their roles to manage social networking websites in part as a way to elevate the profile of B2B credit and promote the importance of the field. The evolution of social networking sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, has given credit managers the ability to further their reach and connect in new ways. "Everybody is attached to their phones," said Caitlin Duree, industry group coordinator for NACM's Southwest affiliate and manager of its Facebook page. "Social media is one of those things that has completely taken over the world and is becoming more prevalent to more people."

The Next Generation and Elevating the Profile of Credit

NACM Gulf States President Kathleen Quill, CAE, CBA, oversees social media sites for her region as well. In the beginning, social networking was a way for her to keep in contact with family and friends. Over time, she wanted to create the same sense of community for NACM members. She also recognized it as an opportunity to recruit and connect with younger credit professionals. "It is not your grandpas world and this isn't your grandpas NACM," Quill said. "If we want the next generation who grew up with iPads in their classrooms ... we need to make sure that we are where those people are when they grow up."

Erica White, CBF, credit manager for Ferguson Enterprises, serves as chairwoman of NACM Connect's newly formed social media committee. It oversees four social networking websites: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. "I think the association started to realize that in order to engage the younger generation, we needed to change the way we're handling some things," White said. "That 22-year-old credit manager who is just starting out in their career--how do we provide resources for them?"

Quill cites LinkedIn as her region's most successful social networking site, with nearly 500 followers. She also oversees a LinkedIn group exclusively for individuals in the transportation industry, which allows group members to post topic-specific questions or information related to their profession. NACM Gulf States also has a Facebook page, which is mainly used to post photos from events or announce upcoming workshops or seminars. Quill notes that these sites are not only frequented by credit managers, but also by professionals in other departments, including upper management. By having an online presence, CFOs, accountants and other personnel are able to ask questions and gain insight into the field of credit management. "That couldn't have happened before," Quill said, referring to a time when social media did not exist. "I think a [social media] presence raises the level of credit as a credible profession and one that matters."

Emily Lee, membership and marketing specialist for Forius NACM North Central, concurs. "I think, ultimately, [social media] can create an awareness of the credit profession and what credit managers can do for a company," she said. "It can help others better understand the issues of the credit profession. Social media elevates the level of awareness."

Lee also cites LinkedIn as her regions most popular site, which consists of more than 370 NACM members and nonmembers. She describes the group as "still very much in a growth phase" and would like to see the number of followers grow. …

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