On a recent chat up on Twitter hosted by @SM4CU, I posed the question, “Don't y'all think that we're engaging more CU industry folks on Twitter...and more of our members on FB?” Many agreed, and thus began an entirely different chat up, on and offline.
I began calling, emailing and DMing friends in the CU industry to see what they had to say on the topic. @bryceroth from @VacationlandFCU brought up a very good point. He stated that Twitter usage for credit unions in rural Ohio will be quite different than it is for those in large cities where folks are much more tech savvy. (Great point, Bryce!)
We’ve all gone out and launched our Twitter and Facebook accounts. We’re following the advice of all the social media gurus: pick a target audience, tweet strategically, engage your followers, deliver interesting content, follow other relevant users, be yourself, and create a social media policy.
And yet, where in the world are our members? (Cue theme song from “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”) Shouldn’t the members have flocked to Twitter by now in search of our amazingly awesome words of wisdom?
For a few credit unions, that has happened. (Lucky!) For most of us, our members can only be found on Facebook. Our followers on Twitter tend to be limited to tech savvy tweeps in the CU industry.
And, that my friends, is NOT a bad thing. Sharing information, tips and trends with fine folks from other financial cooperatives is one of the coolest aspects of our jobs!
@AmandaLThomas with Members First Credit Union (@trymembersfirst) had this to say, “My credit union views communicating with actual members as a secondary role for social media because we know very few of our members are on Twitter. Twitter can open doors to an entirely new demographic. ”
We’ve seen doors opening up for us right here at Directions CU. Through the relationship established with Ondine Irving at Credit Card Connection (@CCardConnection) on Twitter, we were offered an opportunity to advertise on her website FREE for 6 months. We all know that Ondine is a great friend to have (cough, cough…@SuzeOrmanShow) and a huge supporter of the credit union industry. (Thanks, Ondine!)
So, while it may be easy to find members among our friends on Facebook and harder to do so on Twitter, that is not a reason for boards, management, marketing, and business development teams to get discouraged and question our presence on Twitter.
Twitter is here to stay, folks. Users are sending more than 1 billion tweets per week. Bruce Ulrich (@Brudaddy) at Statewide Federal Credit Union shared this precious little nugget, “Deb...you go to where the people are. Twitter is hip/sexy/new. Let’s face it…it’s tough to make a financial institution seem to fit into any of those things. I think many members see their CU as more of a staple, rather than something fun to interact with.”
I couldn’t agree more with Bruce. “Go to where the people are”, even if those people aren’t currently your members, they’re great people to follow and engage. Your members will come.
Make sure the Twitter (and Facebook) logo is on your website, newsletter, business card, and anything printable. As our members begin realizing that Twitter isn’t just for announcing what you had for breakfast, but rather a place to engage your credit union in a personal way, they’ll start following.
The great Fred Brown (@fbrown101) from Northeast Family FCU (@nefamily) shared this, “I think, to be successful, you need to make up your mind to spend "X" amount of time on social media and commit to it. Start it and make it a habit. The more people see your name, the more easily recognizable you are to them when they have a problem or (gasp) a compliment.”
Slow and steady wins the race, my friends. Keep tweeting, engaging and growing. And, if you’re not following the fine folks mentioned in this blog, you need to begin doing so today! (I’ve already provided their Twitter handles.)
Deb Schaffer (@debschaffer) is marketing and community outreach coordinator for the $550 million Directions Credit Union in Sylvania, Ohio.