Embracing a well-rounded social media strategy

by. Paige Calahan

Even though credit unions are catching on to the idea that social media is here to stay, they haven’t been able to maintain a social media strategy. A 2012 study by Thefinancialbrand.com revealed that more than one in five credit unions had abandoned their Twitter accounts. That means after building and customizing profiles, these credit unions didn’t find it worth the time and capital to maintain these accounts.

Consumer feedback suggests they are wrong. Socialmediatoday.com reports that businesses gain 185 percent web traffic lift after gaining 1,000 Facebook likes. Businesses with 51 to 100 Twitter followers generate 106 percent more traffic than those with 25 or fewer followers. Not only does social media activity raise web traffic, businesses have also found success connecting with prospects and responding to customer service issues. At least one of these factors will benefit your credit union. Simply put: If your credit union isn’t making connections via social media, you’re missing out.

The Basics: Join the Conversation
Part of the reason the credit union industry has been slower than others to adopt social media is probably due to old thinking in a new environment. Conventional advertising relies on direct messages and calls to action, but these strategies only work in moderation on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Instead, users expect businesses to contribute to social conversation and provide value in the content they share. For example, Go Daddy founder Bob Parsons keeps his more than 38,000 followers interested by mixing in personal interests and web hosting information. It’s a free-flowing conversation rather than a self-serving press release.

Credit unions that pester followers to upgrade their accounts every other Tweet will find their number of followers dwindling. The center of your social media strategy should be followers, not your marketing agenda. Inform your credit union members and prospects about relevant information in the banking industry. Link to helpful content that isn’t your own. When followers trust your brand’s social media presence as a resource, they’ll be more likely to listen when you pitch them a product or service.

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