Recently, I created a Twitter page for myself and have yet to tweet a single tweet. The recent launch of Credit Union Times Twitter and Face
book pages got me thinking about what I use social media for.
It's a common misconception that Twitter equals Gen Y. I only know a couple of people my age that use Twitter on a regular basis. Most of my friends that don't use, like myself, don't really see a need for it because, frankly, we just don't have that much to say.
If I did start using Twitter I'd be much more interested in tweets from Perez Hilton than my bank.
Using Twitter can engage members if it is used correctly. The issue is that many think that these are Gen Y members. Social media isn't just for the young anymore, and you're more likely going to get a Gen X or Baby Boomer Twitter user to be interested in getting Twitter updates from their credit union than a Gen Yer.
Customer service wise, I admit being able to solve a banking problem or ask my bank a question through chat or Twitter is convenient and pretty cool. But, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers use more services and products and have more money in their accounts and therefore have more potential to ask questions or need to interact with their credit union more than a Gen Yer.
Even when I do have a problem or a question about my banking, my first reaction isn't even to ask my bank, it's to call my accountant, financial adviser and all around life problem solver-Dad. He then tells me to stop bothering him and call my bank, but like I said, it's not my first thought. With a Gen Xer or Baby Boomer it probably is.
I will tell you though the first place a Gen Yer will go to vent or complain-Twitter and Facebook. All day long I see status updates about people being tired, people who hate something or people who are mad about something. I admit I'm guilty of it myself. The only times I write a status update is when I'm annoyed or angry about something.
Since I'm still not a credit union member, I decided to find out what social media my bank uses. I found no links to a Facebook or a Twitter page on my bank's Web site. A search on Facebook turned up a page that looked like its official Facebook page. The group had 142 and a long list of wall posts of complaints. The creator of the site, while his name was listed, was no where to be found. The group resembled more of a hate group for the bank than a promotion for business.
About a month or so ago my bank completed a transition of operating systems that caused online banking transactions to be shut down for long periods of time and left people without access to their account and balances. During that time I saw a bunch of different conversations about my bank and other banks stemming from angry status updates about the black-out period.
While I'm not completely convinced that Twitter and Facebook is where Gen Y is going to go to talk to you, it is going to be where we will go to talk about you.
Even if your credit union is anti-social media, it is extremely important to still be tuned in and have some one on staff that is knowledgeable about it and can navigate social media sites. You should be checking up periodically on what is being said about your credit union on Twitter and Facebook.
The privacy settings on Facebook make it harder to see everything that is being said about your credit union, but you can search for your credit union name and see if there are any unofficial pages about your credit union, like the one I found about my bank and if there are any I hate so and so credit union pages.
Twitter makes it easy. All you have to do is enter your credit union name in the search box to see what people are saying about you. Even just doing a general "credit union" search, I came up with a tweet from a young girl saying, "I should be takin a nap but no im @ my darn credit union waitn 4 my turn."
You might not get Gen Y members from Twitter and Facebook, you might not get Gen Y followers, but what you can gain is honest and unprovoked feedback.