The Case for Social Media: Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore It Anymore

Guest post written by Sundeep Kapur, Director Strategic Marketing – Ecommerce, NCR Corporation

“I don’t have time to blog!” (SVP of Marketing at a mid-sized credit union)

When I heard this from my friend “MC” I quickly thought about three recent events, and what his perspective implied about how his credit union engages with their members. The world of social media allows us to invite our members into our lobby or us to join our members in their homes. Staying in touch with them through social media allows us to keep them informed, and also market to meet their needs. We can make social media even more powerful by integrating it into our traditional communications and marketing strategies.

Despite three disparate topics, each of these three stories has a common thread—there is a credit union story inside each of them that is dying to be told to members, and not in a way that requires a TV commercial, print ad, or direct mail.

(1)    Are Credit Unions Better than Banks?

The Economix Blog at the NY Times wrote about the virtues of credit unions in an article published on October 22. The article is best summarized by this statement, “Credit unions typically charge much lower fees than banks and offer more attractive interest rates. In rankings of customer satisfaction, they beat for-profit banks hands down.” Last year Bloomberg news published an article, “Bank Fees Are a Credit Union’s Best Friend.” Credit unions are here to serve our members and we help our members as much as possible. The challenge lies in informing non-members about why a credit union is better than a bank, and what better way than to engage our existing members and their friends via social media?

(2)    Taxpayers EXPOSED in South Carolina!

The State of South Carolina lost more than 3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit cards to a foreign hacker. Did you know that the data that was stolen wasn’t even encrypted? One explanation offered by the Governor of South Carolina was that financial institutions typically do not encrypt account information, as it is very hard! This statement, and the way this saga continues to unfold, is alarming. Very little information is available and the biggest worry by consumers is lack of access to this information. Any credit union member in the State of South Carolina, or who like some of us, may have gotten a parking ticket there at some point in the past, is worried about their identity. How many credit unions in the southeast engaged their members in a conversation on this issue?

(3)    My Friend Saved $3,200!

My friend was in the market for a new car. She thought the best way to buy a car was to go to three dealers and get them to compete for the same vehicle. Boy, was she wrong! The negotiations quickly turned into which dealer could get her the best financing and there was really no bargaining about the car. I quickly stepped in and took my friend to her credit union—we got her pre-approved and went back to the dealers. No longer were we negotiating for the financing but our focus was completely on the car. My friend saved $3,200—real money that she gets to put back in her pocket! Is it possible that story might be worth sharing via social media, where it can be shared and shared again, leveraging not just our network but those of your members?

Our members expect us to keep them up-to-date and in the know. Many times we wonder what type of content we should put up for our members and how we are going to find the time to keep the engagement going. But look at social media as a conversation, not as you would think of more traditional media channels.

When you come home from work, and your neighbor asks you how it went today, you might very easily and vary naturally tell them one of those stories, with a particular emphasis on how your credit union is involved and can help. Social media is no different—just that your neighbor is not someone you’re talking to over a fence, but over the Internet or Twitter. Look at the fence post as an analogy—connect with your members via the virtual fence post.

At the 2013 NAFCU Strategic Growth Conference, I’ll be presenting a full-day workshop on social media, and we’re following our own advice with this blog post and engaging with our audience. You don’t need to wait until March to get involved; we’re starting in December with the first of a series of educational seminars where we share best practices in social media to equip you to better serve your members.

Free Webinar: eMarketers Exclusive—Top 10 Trends of 2013
Thursday, December 6, 2012
2:00 pm ET

Our first web seminar will focus on how today’s consumer is on the go, they are in the know, and they are surely connected. More than 40% of consumers check their email on mobile devices. 68% of consumers access the social web from work, and more than half of these consumers use mobile to interact with social media. Did you know that less than 10% of consumers who opened an email on mobile, actually remember to go back to the offer? How can your credit union leverage this insight to create more meaningful interactions with your members in 2013? Join us for an hour of fast paced learning where we will review the top 10 trends of 2013 and what you can do to improve your credit union’s eMarketing strategy.

Register now »

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