The true impact of the social media explosion on businesses, including credit unions, is still relatively murky.
It’s apparent, however, that social media engagement is important: Half of all adults in the U.S. use social networking sites. Still, marketers are struggling to figure out how social media fits into the marketing mix and how to gauge its performance.
Two recent white papers—one by the Aberdeen Group and the other by the Filene Research Institute—try to add some clarity to the subject.
Filene’s report, “Measuring Social Media Success in Credit Unions,” evaluates what qualities make credit unions’ social media campaigns successful, and seeks to measure the quantitative impacts.
The study sought to determine how social media programs affect loans, deposits, and share of member. Among the findings are:
►Increased web traffic. Credit unions reporting successful social media campaigns saw a greater number of visits to their websites, and saw a larger percentage increase in their shares and deposits.
►Greater loan and deposit volumes. Credit unions reporting successful programs had higher loan and deposit volumes than others. Those considering their social media efforts to be successful were 45% more likely to see a 2% or greater loan growth.
►No share of member correlation. Few credit unions experienced any positive change in their overall share of member, so it’s difficult to prove or disprove social media’s influence in this regard.
When approaching social media campaigns, credit unions need to realize that a “one size fits all” approach won’t work, according to Filene.
Planning is also important. It should surprise no one, the paper says, that those who don’t start with a plan and don’t tie their plans to key goals are the least likely to report success. Successful credit union social media campaigns:
♦ Use outside consultants for marketing matters by about 87% of those who consider themselves successful;
♦ Post to Facebook one to three times per day;
♦ Use multiple channels to promote efforts, and include video and photo formats; and
♦ Link their social media closely with overall strategic objectives.
Meanwhile, Aberdeen’s report focuses on business-to-business social media efforts. The research and business intelligence provider’s white paper, “B2B Social Media Marketing: Are We There Yet?” examines how best-in-class companies benefit from social media adoption. The benefits include:
►Lead generation. Best-in-class companies acquire 230% more marketing leads from social media channels compared with all other companies. These best-in-class companies are more actively engaged in social media marketing than the industry average: 80% indicated they’re somewhat or extremely active with it.
►Internet interest. Best-in-class companies enjoyed a 186% greater increase in year-over-year positive mentions, or “buzz” in social media, from their efforts.
Social media marketing winners, notes Aberdeen’s report, will be companies that can out-educate and in some cases out-entertain the competition with compelling content and experiences. Aberdeen recommends businesses:
♦ Listen, and identify the right social media channels and influencers;
♦ Get quick wins (and fails), and include some meaningful measurement; and
♦ Start integrating with existing marketing channels, processes and systems.