MADISON, Wis. (2/16/12)--Social media might help credit unions create some chatter among their followers, but that "buzz" does not always translate into more business. That was among the findings of a new survey, "Measuring Social Success in Credit Unions," from the Filene Research Institute.
The survey indicates that credit unions reflect overall social media trends: more emphasis on video, less on blogs, and more use of Facebook and Twitter.
Credit unions that called their programs "successful" or "very successful" saw rises in Web traffic and loan growth. But those gains did not extend in a measurable way to membership growth or to higher products per member, said Filene.
Several key success drivers emerged and solidified during the yearlong study. Credit unions that do all or most of these are much more likely to succeed:
- Tie the social media program to the strategic plan and include metrics for tracking progress.
- Conduct periodic member surveys. There continues to be a correlation between success and credit unions that conduct member surveys two to four times per year and have otherwise active marketing programs.
- Post messages in varying media formats, with topics focusing on credit union events, helpful financial information, alerts/information, product information, and community events.
- Target between one and three Facebook posts per day. This was an area with a clear point of diminished returns: Those making more than three posts per day were less successful.
- Consider outside consultants, which may be a good alternative for smaller credit unions that do not have a large in-house staff. Nine in ten credit unions that consider their programs successful used outside consultants.
- Promote the program through multiple channels and with credit union staff participation and buy-in. The qualitative interviews showed that staff engagement is a huge piece of generating interest in the program.