>Credit Union Marketing on MySpace

This entry was posted by Thursday, 4 October, 2007
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>We’ve posted on this before, but I’ve recently found a few relevant reports on the subject. It also bears repeating since MySpace is the most trafficked website in the U.S., registering 45 billion page views in July.

If you are like most credit union marketers, you are trying to figure out how and where to start your MySpace or Facebook presence. 70% of 15-to-34 year-olds in the US are on these sites, but most likely your credit union is not. Where do you begin?

First, you need to know what users are doing on the site, and then how you can build a meaningful relationship with them.

This past Spring, MySpace sought out to find out some of the answers. Their findings can be found in a free pdf here:


Also, according to Charlene Li at Forrester, marketers interested in building relationships on these sites should:

  1. Dispense with traditional Web marketing tactics,
  2. Encourage “friending,” and
  3. Regularly refresh content.

Forrester has an informative report available on the subject here (free to guests).

If you have any other ideas or suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below.

Related reading:
Credit Unions and MySpace…It Can Work
CUs using MySpace to reach young members
Debate centers on MySpace use by companies

20 Responses to “>Credit Union Marketing on MySpace”

  1. terrell

    >i’m still not sold on credit unions on MySpace and Facebook, but then again…i don’t have accounts on either of those sites.

    if we were to be involved, we would need to hire another full-time person. it’s a LOT of work participating in all the social media sites, plus having a blog, plus doing podcasting, etc.

  2. Jeffry Pilcher


    Excerpt: “Sorry! Our mean lawyers say we can’t be friends on MySpace.”

  3. Josh Jones

    >Hi Terrell! Thanks for the comment… perhaps one way to look at this is to ask, what are some compelling reasons for a credit union to NOT post on MySpace?

  4. Josh Jones

    >Hey Jeffry, thanks for sharing that link… that’s certainly one way to get around some of the concerns.

    I’d be interested to find out why the CU and/or lawyers chose that route. Is it that they are concerned they don’t have the ability to control what “friends” have posted on their personal MySpace pages?

  5. Jeffry Pilcher

    >Online communities such as MySpace are comprised almost entirely of individuals – real people with names and faces. How will they react as more corporations infiltrate their once ad-free, unsponsored world? Will it backfire?

    The Web 2.0 world is pretty hip, smart and savvy, while banks and credit unions are generally uncool. How can a typical financial institution fit in? Will it be like when parents try to look cool for their kids.

    The other day, I audited MySpace for credit union pages. I found about 50. Few of them had any friends or comments, and those that they did have were all other CUs or CU leagues.

  6. Josh Jones


    Would love to see the list of CUs you found via the MySpace audit. Perhaps we could post that on the blog?

    Also, one point to consider is how long have those MySpace pages been up? In my personal experience, it takes some time for you to build a list of friends. It also takes a bit of initiative… going out and asking others to be friends. Usually you’re asking people you know to be your friend. Of course others can find you “organically” and ask to be a friend.

    So, as with anything, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. It’s not necessarily a simple task.

    Some ideas for finding friends include looking for employees of other credit unions and asking to be friends with them. Or publishing that you have a MySpace page in a newsletter, in the branch, or other materials to ask young adults to “friend” the credit union. First 10 friends get a prize… just a thought.

  7. Christopher Morris

    >Terrell – It is a lot of work…that is so true. To your point, you have to wonder though, would hiring that full-time person be worth it? A PR person specializing in Social Media outreach? The ROI might be worth it in courting Gen Y.

    Jeffry – Interesting Link. If you can’t friend though that kind of defeats the purpose of MySpace (and the whole premise of the MySpace marketing study I reference). Also, notice their occupation is listed as “Making your GREEN work for you!” and NCUA is listed as a “hero.” It looks like one of those that someone set up quickly and abandoned.

  8. Christopher Morris

    >Josh – Great idea. I’d simply start with your FOM and go from there. Search your city or state and start friending!

  9. terrell

    >I echo what Jeffry says about individuals vs. corporations on MySpace. I too have looked at CU MySpace pages (the ones you provided in your original post on MySpace) and have seen very few people friending them. I also don’t get what the CUs are offering via MySpace…just another friend? None of them seem to have much going on in their pages.

    So, I guess I wouldn’t want to waste an employee’s time keeping up with those pages; I wouldn’t want to risk being affiliated with sketchy people; I wouldn’t want to come off as looking like we’re trying to hard to be cool.

    If the success of being on MS depends on an employee actively friending people on the site, it seems like a waste of time because I don’t get what one gets out of being someone’s friend.

  10. Christopher Morris

    >Terrel – all great points. If you read the MySpace study, it notes that it’s not enough to just friend but offer an incentive as well such as free stuff or services.

    For example, Land of Lincoln CU promotes through its MySpace site its LLCU Student Pack for new CU enrollees. It offers a free checking account with a free box of checks, a free Visa Debit/ATM card, a fee-free student Visa credit card, free online banking and bill pay, AND a free hooded sweatshirt, oversized coffee mug, mouse pad and cooler.

  11. Christopher Morris

    >I would also re-think the notion of “friending” – think of it as free advertising instead.

    The MySpace study says:

    Being a good friend means focusing on others’ needs as much or more than your own. Generally, social networking adherents participate in the community because they value the wholly consensual, value-added relationships cultivated therein. When asked whether they wish to be Advertising targets, adherents overwhelmingly respond “no.” When asked whether they’d like to enter into two-way, “friend”-like relationships with brands they know, trust, and like, the answer is a resounding “yes.” In sum, as one respondent said, “Friends treat you how you want to be treated.”

  12. Jeffry Pilcher

    >Here’s 45 of them, which took time to compile. Most have one or more of the following problems: abandoned, have no friends, no traffic, no content, wrong tone, no comments and/or are shamelessly shilling their crud.

    I’m not saying MySpace can’t work, but there’s a lot more to it than it seems. My estimate is that it would take about 15-20 hours a week, or 750 hours in the first year, to create a truly successful CU MySpace page. Who’s got that time to give?


    List compliments of Jeffry Pilcher, Creative Director at Weber Marketing Group, the leading strategic branding and marketing firm for credit unions in the U.S.


  13. Christopher Morris

    >Jeffry – Thanks so much for that list.

    How can a CU do their MySpace presence successfully? 15-20 hours a week? One word…interns!

  14. terrell

    >Christopher and Josh, which CU, in your opinion, has a successful MySpace presence? maybe we can start from there and see how much work they put into it.

    i’d love to be able to hire another person or two to do marketing/PR, and have one of them devoted only to social media efforts. we haven’t hired anyone new since I’ve come along, and that was almost 5 years ago.

  15. Christopher Morris

    >Terrell – I know, we’re dreamers aren’t we? Just hire another person! As if Josh and I don’t both need personal assistants.

    I’m right there with you too…I’m not really sure that there IS a credit union presence on MySpace that we can all point to and say “a-ha!” which is why I posted the studies today. By learning from other industries and sharing info we can chip away at it.

    I’m reminded of an article I read today on the ROI of Communities. The author crystallizes part of the problem perfectly:

    “Firms have to recognize that there is just so much innovation, that the speed of change is so accelerated, that they cannot possibly hope to control or own it all. There’s just no way. My best advice? Use social networking technology to ride the wave that’s already forming, rather than make it yourself. You’ll end up ahead of the game, with far less energy, capital and resources spent.”

    Exactly. Let’s try it and be ahead of the curve.

    Unfortunately there are so many unknowns – even Myspace admits it’s still trying to figure out how companies can fully leverage this new technology. As my dear mother used to say, “Christopher, I don’t have all the answers, just more questions.”

  16. Justin Ho

    >I definitely feel that credit unions need to have a presence on places such as myspace and other social networking websites but not as a “user” that could possibly be seen as an “invader” to those that use it. I challenge the effectiveness of having accounts on these sites and would be curious to see if there’s a credit union myspace, facebook, or blog account that logs more than 10,000 unique hits per month. From the ones that I’ve seen, its unlikely to even see consistency in the number of comments posted per entry.

    Rather, IMHO, and as a Gen-Yer that was born into this era, I believe that these sites should be used as a strategic tool to draw attention to a credit union’s particular product/mission/advantage over the next financial institution.

    Targeting a selected demographic (ie utilizing specialized facebook ads) that is eligible for membership to XYZ credit union and creating products/services that cater to their interests is a much more effective strategy AND a better way to dedicate one’s resources. No matter how big a credit union’s presence on myspace/facebook is, Bank of America and Wells Fargo’s will be bigger.

    The blogs and the accounts on these sites can come later once members of Gen-next have joined a credit union. But until then, I think most credit unions would be hard pressed to find ANY increase in Gen-Y members through having a myspace account. The “online space” is too big and the power of a social networking account diminishes drastically without the online community component–one which would be vastly difficult (maybe even impossible at this stage) for a credit union to develop. Perhaps more resources should be dedicated to creating educational and effective programs that directly appeal to this savvy generation :D

    I welcome your comments.

    -Justin Ho

  17. Christopher Morris

    >Justin -

    Thanks for posting and great points.

    I was thinking along the same lines last night:

    - What if you are a community charter? Would a MySpace account make sense? Probably not and if so, only to have a presence to direct folks to their standard site. State charter? That’s a different story.

    And Justin to your point, using ads is an effective way, but I’d argue that by both focusing on your products (like Land of Lincoln) AND actively friending, you will stay ahead.

    Another question – What about the 25% or so of CUs who block staff from accessing these sites?

    Also notice that much of the conversation is around “pointing to a successful CU MySpace presence as proof.” Just because it hasn’t been done yet doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

  18. Weber

    >I have to admit, I clicked on a banner ad at MySpace yesterday while I was harvesting the list of URLs. I also noticed the contextual advertising from a number of credit unions who didn’t seem to have MySpace pages yet saw value in advertising there.

    In fact, should should all go to MySpace, type in “credit union” as your search term, and review the first 100 results. Pay attention to the ads that appear.

  19. Christopher Morris

    >Good call on looking at the banner ads.

    To me, it’s another argument to get your CU using Google AdWords!

  20. Jeffry Pilcher

    >I just read in Adweek that over a third of MySpace users are from somewhere other than North America. I recall seeing similar numbers for SecondLife.

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