COLUMBUS, Ohio (8/8/11)--Roughly 80 Ohio credit union have a presence on Facebook, according to the Ohio Credit Union League (eLumination July 27). Bryce Roth, marketing coordinator, at Vacationland FCU, Sandusky, said Facebook and other forms of social media offer two-way communication--where traditional forms of “broadcast” marketing and advertising allowed for only one-way messaging. “If you’re not in those places where you can connect with members, you really stand to lose in today’s environment, but if you’re there and you execute correctly you really stand to gain,” Roth told News Now. Vacationland FCU keeps its page lively with simple messages that any Facebook friend would ask--such as, “What’s for lunch?” or “What’s up this weekend?”--mixed with relevant financial and marketing information. “When members feel more connected to the credit union, then they feel more invested in it,” Roth said. “We strive to create an atmosphere that this is their page.” Social media also provides a great tool for organizing people, said Roth. Vacationland FCU uses Facebook as an extension of its Change Agent Squad community, a group of local high school and college students interested in giving back to their community. The credit union posts videos of the squad’s projects, alerts of upcoming meetings and ideas for expanding the program. Ohio University CU, Athens, posts first-person messages from its mascot, Cool Cat, as he makes his rounds throughout the summer. Posts include photos of Cool Cat exploring local attractions--which happen to be existing and potential select employee groups--and entertainment. Cool Cat is part of the credit union’s youth marketing campaign, which has tailored products and services for children of all age groups and financial education. Dover-Phila FCU, Dover, keeps its Facebook page lively with ticket giveaways, event updates, links to financial articles and photos of raffle winners. As a conversation starter, the credit union recently asked its Facebook fans if they opted for a “stay-cation” rather than a traditional vacation this summer. Midwest Community FCU, Defiance, shares ideas for managing personal finances through its social media presence. The messages support the credit union’s mission of improving the financial lives of its members and contribute to the organization’s image as a trusted resource. Among the topics Midwest FCU recently shared with its members on Facebook were “Six Ways to Save on Back-to-School Basics,” “Eight New Annoying Things Consumers Need to be Aware Of” and “How to Complain About Your Credit Card.” All four credit unions hold frequent contests to gain more followers. Contest prizes range from low-dollar gift cards to hot items such as iPads.