Make the most of online member reviews

121 Financial Credit Union encourages reviews on its blog, Facebook and Twitter.

by. Karen Bankston

When customers talk, people listen.

Internet giants like Amazon and TripAdvisor power their business on customer reviews, and the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey supports that approach with its finding that 68 percent of respondents trust consumer opinions posted online (Internet reviews ranked third in the 2013 survey behind word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, at 84 percent, and advertising on branded websites, at 69 percent).

121 Financial Credit Union aims to take full advantage of positive feedback by encouraging members to post reviews on its blog, Facebook and Twitter.

“Studies shows that consumers really do believe real stories from their peers carry a whole lot more weight than what businesses say about themselves in ads,” says CUES member Cindy Breslin, VP/marketing for the $450 million Jacksonville, Fla., credit union with 38,000 members. As an added impetus, “75 to 80 percent of our new members come from referrals, whether verbal or posted online.”

Yet another consideration is that online reviews are a key factor in how Google ranks search engine returns, Breslin notes. 121 Financial CU (pronounced “one-to-one”) works with third-party vendor WSI (We Simplify the Internet), to hone the CU’s online marketing strategy and continually improve its Internet positioning.

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