In late January, the Filene Research Institute launched a new pilot to help credit unions improve their presence on social media.
Despite what skeptics say, social media’s reach grows daily. Consider that:
If that isn’t evidence enough, Filene’s research shows that social has become an expectation among consumers: “Digital branding and social strategies are becoming the necessary norm for all business including credit unions,” reports “Credit Union Digital Branding.”
A new member or new hire may not even consider a credit union that doesn’t do Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn well.
Consider the size of the opportunity with social networks. According to a 2011 Pew Internet Study:
Filene’s pilot allows credit unions at any stage of social media engagement to use social media to drive stronger business results. The unique pilot approach engages individuals throughout the credit union in the solution.
Pilot participants include CEOs, human resource and marketing executives, business development officers, salespeople, member service representatives, and tellers.
This approach to engagement is imperative. After all, an effective credit union social media strategy goes well beyond simply creating a Facebook page.
“When implementing social media programs, credit unions must understand how to develop strategies that will help them communicate effectively with members and potential members, foster credit union growth, and build social equity and awareness,” according to “The State of Social Media in Credit Unions: Opportunities and Challenges.”
Pilot participants have access to a platform that, through a gamified approach, helps credit unions manage and improve both engagement and results. Users access customized training and shareable content that is specifically designed for credit unions.
Users earn points for challenges that start out as simple as sending a tweet or connecting with a new contact via LinkedIn. As the game progresses, the challenges become more closely tied to the credit union’s desired business outcomes.
The pilot is new but it has already yielded some valuable insights. Here are five:
1. Improving social engagement is important to credit unions of all sizes. Of the 34 pilot credit unions, six have less than $100 million in assets and four have more than $1 billion in assets.
2. Content is king. A common concern among pilot credit unions is the need for easily accessible content that is relevant and refreshed regularly.
3. Peer learning is powerful. The pilot platform allows users to share ideas, best practices, articles, and questions. Within two weeks, users are posting regularly.
Some sample discussions:
4. Allow staff to post content. Some pilot credit unions were nervous about allowing employees to post on behalf of the credit union. There are risks to this approach—what if employees post inappropriate comments or noncompliant content?
But through customized training, a strong participant-selection process, and clear social media policies, a credit union can set the stage for individual participation to succeed and ultimately broaden their social media reach exponentially.
5. Games motivate and create good habits. The Filene pilot leverages a growing gaming trend: “Corporations are expected to spend as much as $2.8 billion a year on gamification by 2016,” reports “Get in the Game: How Credit Unions Can Engage Members, Solve Problems, and Improve Skills with Game Thinking.”
“Since engaged audiences and solved problems promise relevance, revenue, and reward in the business world, these investments are not surprising,” the report states.
Platform users earn points daily for their social activity and the leaderboard changes regularly, reflecting broad engagement across users. The challenges through the game create solid social habits in just a few minutes a day that credit unions can leverage for years to come.
Social is an expectation for consumers today. Isn’t it time for your credit union to join the conversation?