Marketing Director Amy McGraw of Public Service Credit Union is firmly entrenched in the camp of marketers who have found success using social media and traditional marketing strategies.
Serving members in Detroit, which has been one of the cities hardest hit by the economic downturn, the $124 million credit union has experienced double-digit growth within the past year.
"We were under $100 million when I started getting serious about social media, and we've grown a lot this year not only in asset but membership size," said McGraw. "The key is not throwing away traditional marketing or you might as well shoot yourself in the foot. Social media is just a piece, not the end-all solution."
McGraw dubbed her foray into the Twitter and YouTube arena as a way of being social and staying local.
"I thought this is a neat way to get to know our members, so I developed relationships with people in Detroit credit union land."
Given the green light by her CEO to move forward, McGraw started the @pscuamy Twitter account with an eye on being personable.
"I wanted people to know that pscu_amy was an actual human being with likes, dislikes, who loves the city of Detroit and would do anything for locals and PSCU members," said McGraw.
To build up her following, McGraw held a "Tweet the Love" contest in February 2010. For five days, members who'd never had a Twitter account opened one to tweet what they liked about PSCU for a chance to win $100, and McGraw had some 200 followers. Since then she's held other contests for fun, and her following has swelled to over 600.
"I started to realize just how much credit union love was out there so I met with Todd Gilleland at Cola Creative to help PSCU break into YouTube," said McGraw. "We wanted to make a big impact and create something that would go viral and as a joke we said how about a banker in a bathtub full of money."
It worked. PSCU's Cashtub video has had 5,760 views and was picked up by local news stations. Its latest video that demonstrates how credit union members can make a big difference prevent big banks from taking advantage of the little guy using a visual of bunches of grapes making quick work of a watermelon. It has so far garnered more than 1,400 views in just two months.
"Honestly it's helped align our branding strategy. In 2008 we worked with CU Growth Solutions and learned that what we thought was happening in the branches as far as cross selling and promotion simply wasn't," said McGraw. "We focused on internal staff training and instead of saying how can I help you the branch staff now asks what do you want out of life and they find ways to help them get there."
McGraw added that the shift from pitching a product to more of a counseling has made a difference and allowed the branch staff to focus on doing right by the member rather than meeting a product goal.
Another unexpected door PSCU's social media efforts opened was to longtime local television station WXYZ News Anchor Stephen Clark who tweeted that he was sick of hearing all the bad news in Detroit and wanted locals to make videos that show the good going on in the area.
"If it was good enough, he would cover the story. So we made a video of our donation to a local organization that was working on creating urban gardens and sent it to Stephen," said McGraw.
Within minutes of uploading the video, Clark blogged about it and set up an interview with Quality Solutions Community Development Corp. and credited pscu_amy and provided a link to the credit union's YouTube page. Since then, McGraw has submitted five more videos.