America's CU Conference

Brogan: Facilitate Member Desire, Success, and Legacy

The CU 'isn't just a place to stick my money.'

June 22, 2012

Credit unions need to be more than just a place for members to stick their money, says social media expert Chris Brogan.

They need to worry about access and trust and not the banks, normally considered the industry’s biggest rival, Brogan explained at Wednesday’s closing general session of the America’s Credit Union Conference in San Diego.

"You are in the relationship business," said Brogan. "You are in the business of facilitating desire, facilitating success, and eventually facilitating a legacy."

Brogan is the president of Human Business Works and co-author of The New York Times bestseller “Trust Agents.” His keynote address was titled "Harness the Power of Social and Online Networks to Build Influence, Reputation, and Results.”

"Which costs more--retaining a member or acquiring a new one?" he asked. "What is the larger business goal of your organization?

The credit union "isn't just a place to stick my money," he added. "We think of competition as banks, but no, it's access and trust. Financial turmoil is worse than it has ever been. Even with the recovery, people don't know what to do. You win the trust thing, but access is an issue if you make me drive to the facility or call only during business hours."

Technology is a key to access, he noted. Social media tools such as Facebook are attracting 750,000 new joiners each day in the 35- to 65-age bracket--mostly women who use it to look at photos of their grandchildren and show photos on their iPhones.

"Sixty percent of websites are not mobile-friendly, which means 60% of your marketing isn't reaching the mobile devices. Sixty-eight percent of Web traffic to a site comes from a mobile device," Brogan said. He urged credit unions to fix their websites and to build apps to make it easy for members to get their money.

"You don't have to build the coolest app, just build access," he said.

He also noted that most credit unions' websites indicate how they believe in their communities, in what surrounds the marketplace. They need to develop listening tools and learn what to listen for to facilitate meeting members' needs. Community presents an opportunity to earn trust.

"Start using social media tools, such as Facebook or Twitter," he said. But he cautioned against hiring a 24-year-old as the social media strategist because the credit union's brand could become damaged in inexperienced hands. "If you consider social media, including blogs, as the kiddie table, oh, are you mistaken," he said.

Also consider the social media landscape, he added. Facebook has nearly $1 billion users, but none of the information shows up on Google. Google Plus is the dominant search engine system on mobile devices. YouTube can be used for tutorials, and passionate fan-made tutorials can be effective. But, he noted, the person on the video should be passionate.

Other advice included:

► Go mobile and fix the problems on your website, so it's easy to navigate on a mobile device. "You can't navigate through 700 buttons. Too many choices equal no action."

► Make email newsletters interesting and cut some relationship-killer language. Make them less than 500 words, with only one action a day, don't use the unfriendly "FROM: Do not reply," and delete "Click this to view in browser. The email's first line should be smart and have the person's name."

► Use sales leads such as "likes" on Facebook and other social media as opportunities to do business. "We buy from people we like." Treat these as opportunities for customer acquiring and retention, he concluded.