Posts Tagged Facebook

How credit unions and financial institutions use social media

Posted by on Wednesday, 1 February, 2012

A friend was recently hired into the credit union industry. As she got up-to-speed with credit unions she wanted to get a better sense for how financial institutions use social media and asked if I would supply her with resources on the subject.

I said to myself after replying to her request: “Self… CUNAverse readers might find this information useful!” I agreed with myself, as I often do.

So, here is a small list of online resources I track with periodically or have found to be useful. It is by no means an exhaustive list—nor an endorsement—but rather a small sampling of what I use to stay current with the credit union space and better understand how financial institutions use social media. Perhaps you will find these helpful as well.

What resources and examples would you suggest? Please share them in the comments!

 

Examples of credit unions using social media:

 

Resources from the credit union industry:

 

Articles on social media and financial institutions:

 


What I’ve Learned about Online Community Management

Posted by on Wednesday, 25 August, 2010

A little over two years ago, I helped the Councils launch CUNA Councils Connect, an online social network for members. Why? Soon after I started working here, it was clear there was a need for robust member searching and more targeted discussion groups with additional functionality. Working with volunteer credit union members of every Council, planning and development took about six to eight months before we launched the network. I learned a lot in that span of time, but I’ve probably learned even more in the last two years actually managing the online community.

The following are the biggest lessons I have learned. Keep in mind that it not only applies to social networks or communities, but could easily be applicable to some aspects of your credit union’s social media activity, particularly your credit union’s Facebook page.

Care and feeding is a must. This is huge. “If you build it, they will come” does not apply here. As most of you know, with almost any social media tool or website, you need to constantly remind and tell your prospective users about it. Council members are plugged into a lot of networks and still have a very heavily used list serve. Therefore, I not only set up and update Connect to send many types of automatic notifications, but I also frequently send email reminders with relevant news and information to remind members of the network’s usefulness.

Make it easy. If you work and work to get them to use your site, you want them to find what they are looking for. Otherwise, they probably won’t login again. For example, in the set up phase, I worked very hard to make Connect’s username and password the same as the rest of Council’s other password protected areas. That was a small thing, but I know it ensures members have one less hurdle to jump when using the site.

Your users will surprise you. That’s a good thing! Because social media is so participatory and conversational, often your members will have good ideas. For instance, we envisioned Connect’s discussion groups to be focused around areas of expertise, geographic, or topical subjects. And they were. But a few months after launch, some members started vendor “users groups” for members to share best practices and questions on a specific vendor or product. They took off immediately.  In the same vein, your users will also have good suggestions on usability and functionality. Listen to your users.

Beware of feature creep. You can do a lot with social media tools and you will be tempted to use all the bells and whistles at your fingertips. To make it easy and useful, just focus on your objectives and then look at actual activity. One example:  the company we work with to provide CUNA Councils Connect offers a bunch of cool features as part of their social networking platform. I use about 60% (ie: I really don’t have a reason to roll out wikis and geo-caching…yet). Additionally, when we launched Connect, we had a “live chat” feature, where we envisioned members talking to other members in real-time over CU issues, etc. After a year of usage and education, I noticed no one really used the feature correctly or even understood how to use it. We pulled the plug on it and no one noticed. That means one less thing to get in the way of Connect’s core features and usefulness.

Find a few evangelists & power users to help spread the word. You will find that certain individuals will take to the community right away. They post more than others. They love the features. They are not shy. They have good ideas. Get to know these people! I have a group of people like that in Connect and always promote their postings when I can, send them emails or notes after they post, give them a nudge sometimes, and even go so far as sending some small “trinkets” in the mail to thank them.

These are the big ones. Did I miss anything? Please feel free to leave in the comments.


>A Look at a Facebook Page – Christian Financial Credit Union

Posted by on Thursday, 10 July, 2008

>Recently, I was engaged in a great discussion around pay-per-click advertising on the YES CU Community and came across Christian Financial Credit Union’s Facebook page. Lauren Vance, Marketing Manager for the CU, had a nifty button from her YES CU Community profile that says “find us on Facebook” which led me there.

I’ve always preferred Facebook’s layout over MySpace’s sometimes chaotic design. Christian Financial’s page makes good use of the layout and it has everything I’d expect from a credit union’s Facebook page. It includes:

  • Short info on the credit union
  • How to join
  • Link to their Facebook banking application (MyMoney).
  • Current promos, notes and events
  • Discussion board and wall access for fans to post.
  • Featured info on their online gifting service
  • and more.

It’s pretty good and attractive (although is the album of branch pictures really necessary?). I followed up with Lauren with a few questions about the page:

Why did you start a FB page?
Lauren: I’ve been looking for the best possible way to establish a strong online community (since CU’s are suppose to invest in the communities they are a part of), and had read about the marketing potential within FB. Our core processor (Fiserv Galaxy) was also building an online banking app for FB, so with a value-add for the community, we opted to work within FB.

Who maintains it and monitors it? About how much time does it take?
Lauren: My department (Marketing) maintains and monitors our page. It does not take much time at all. It’s just important to log in daily to see what activity has been occurring to ensure the integrity of the page. I check back in throughout the day (which takes less than 2 minutes at a time). Updates never take more than 10 minutes.

How often is it updated?
Lauren: I’ve been trying to post at least 3 new things a month. I’d love to further enhance it with video and additional applications in the future to keep our “fans” wanting to come back. It’s important to update or else the page gets stale.

Have you got any feedback from members on it?
Lauren: We have gotten positive response about just being in the community, and also that the online banking application is very easy to use.

Any other info you want to share on your CU’s facebook experience?
Lauren: Advertising your page within the community makes a big difference in fan growth and traffic. I recommend making use of the CPC- or CPM-based ads in FB. FB lets you select your target audience (it may be as broad as the entire FB community or as narrow as, for example, 26-year-old females in Detroit who love “The Office”). Once you begin the ads, make sure to monitor them frequently. If you’re not getting much activity, consider expanding your target audience.

Thanks again to Lauren Vance for the interview. It’s important to note that Facebook Pages are free – I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but it’s worth a look!

Additional Links:
> Christian Financial Credit Union’s Facebook Page
> Facebook Pages Overview
> Facebook Pages Tutorial (pdf)
> Nine Reasons You Should Be Using and Watching Facebook
> The Updated Unofficial and Smartass Guide to Using Facebook
> Facing Your Fear of Facebook


>Facebook now has a credit union

Posted by on Thursday, 14 February, 2008

>Have you heard the news? Technology Credit Union is now the official credit union serving Facebook employees.

Check out the following article about the new relationship here…

I wonder if there will be anything that will come of the relationship between the two?

UPDATE 02/15/08: There’s an excellent conversation on this very topic over on the CUES Nexus blog. A nod to Mike Templeton for giving us the heads up in his comment below.


>How Can CUs Use Web Widgets?

Posted by on Tuesday, 29 January, 2008

>We’ve touched on Web widgets before, thanks to Christopher’s Blogging 102 post. But I’d like to take the coversation on widgets a bit further. You see, widgets can be used for more than just blogs.

What are widgets, exactly? Basically they are bits of code embedded in html to customize a Web page. A user selects them from a third party and installs the ones they like. RSS feeds are an example of a widget. Countdown timers and quiz results on individual social network profiles are also widgets.

To learn more, check out the following post on the Project New Age blog. There you’ll find a good description and several useful examples. And if that doesn’t do it for ya, there’s always the following wikipedia entry. Want to know how to make a widget? Here’s a really cool resource (albeit very technical) from the World Wide Web Consortium

Okay, so why could this be important? Well, widgets are popular with a lot of Web users, but especially popular on social networking communities such as Facebook, which are heavily populated by the 18-t0-30 crowd. Come up with a widget that someone likes, and they’ll spread it around to their friends, and their friends friends like… well, like a virus. It’s good ole’ fashioned viral or word-of-mouth marketing on a new stage… if you do it right.

It all sounds great, but a few words of caution…
  1. Most widgets I’ve seen aren’t commercial, or meant to advertise a service or a product. They are simply to make a user’s experience unique, fun and they become another way for users to interact with eachother. For example, you find out that your friend Sarah is also a fan of the Muppets, or that you have 30 friends who have scored higher than you on the sports trivia challenge. So, you’ll have to be creative in figuring out a way to develop a widget that “sells without selling” if you want to use a widget to bring traffic to your credit union

    With that said, there are an ever increasing number of “widgets with a purpose” (as I like to call them) being added on social networks and Web sites alike.

    In fact KeyPoint Federal Credit Union is a prime example of a credit union using widgets in this fashion. They’ve developed a Facebook widget that allows users who are on Facebook to access their KeyPoint account online. Of course, just to confuse the matter, Facebook calls widgets “apps” (as in applet). Essentially, they’re the same thing… bits of code used to customize a Web page, or individual user profiles in Facebook’s case.

  2. This isn’t the answer to all of your young adult worries at your credit union. This, just like a MySpace profile or any other initiative is simply a step in the right direction. There are many other steps needed to reach your destination.

But don’t let that stop you! Get out there and come up with some great widgets. Get some input from young adults at your credit union and make it happen.


>Facing Your Fear of Facebook

Posted by on Monday, 29 October, 2007

>

Does your credit union block Facebook? MySpace? YouTube? Why?

If your CU does, ask your boss or IT department. Then ask them if your CU needs to serve Generation Y (hint: all CUs need to).

Then ask them to create a Facebook account. Seriously.

I just read this great piece at SearchCIO.com – Facing Your Fear of Facebook by Kate Evans-Correia.

“With the premise that you can’t criticize what you don’t understand, CIOs and IT managers are being challenged to take on a social networking leviathan — and join Facebook.”

She makes some great points and I’d also argue that part of being a professional is staying up with significant trends and developments in your industry. Social networking is not going away – it will change over time, but its basic function has definitely caught on. As a Wharton article last year noted:

“…these types of networks are ingrained in Internet society. ‘They’re here to stay. Like eBay, they are embedded now. The idea of joining online communities and being able to participate in them is not going to disappear.’”

So do it! It’s very easy and guess what? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

PS: There is also a campaign called “Stop Blocking” that argues that the benefits of sites like these far outweigh the risks. Check it out: www.stopblocking.org


>Is traditional lending headed out the door?

Posted by on Wednesday, 17 October, 2007

>Hey folks, I just ran across a really interesting article that you need to check out. Not only does it give a pretty good overview of the current peer-to-peer landscape, the author highlights an individual who uses peer-to-peer lending as a means to escape the for-profit payday lending trap.

The article goes on to talk about how peer-to-peer groups such as Lending Club are using social networking sites to conduct business. Credit unions also get a shout out, as Aite research director Christine Barry points out, “Peer-to-peer lending reminds (her) very much of the credit union model… You’re usually lending to people that belong to the same kind of affinity group. There’s a certain degree of trust.”

Call me a credit union dork, but I love reading about this kind of stuff. I get all excited thinking of all the possibilities for credit unions with peer-to-peer lending, social networks, and specifically the 18-to-30 demographic.


>Credit Union Marketing on MySpace

Posted by on Thursday, 4 October, 2007

>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:

www.myspace.com/neverendingfriending

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


>I Can Get Money On Facebook?

Posted by on Tuesday, 17 July, 2007

>Yep, just log on to your Facebook profile… add the Lending Club application, click on a few links to setup your account with Lending Club, and you can be a part of the recent trend of organized peer-to-peer lending that is quietly gaining popularity. While Lending Club is not sponsored or created by Facebook, their use of Facebook is another way social networks are being used to drum up business and spread the word.

Zopa, a peer-to-peer lending group in the UK, now has a page or two on Facebook… however they aren’t directly soliciting members as Lending Club has done. This is most likely because they have yet to launch in the U.S. Here is an excerpt from Lending Club’s Facebook page:


Thinking of charging $1,000 or more to a credit card?

Think again: the Facebook Lending Club is a fun, smart and responsible way to get a small loan from the Facebook community, fully online, at the lowest possible rate.

So, why do I bring this up? To broadcast how social networks are being used to directly target young adutls and offer financial services. How successful Lending Club will be, and whether their use of Facebook will have any impact on that success, remains to be seen.

I will go out on a limb and say groups like Zopa and Lending Club are doing one thing right with the use of Facebook… they are reaching out to the demographic on their terms and being relevant to their needs. They aren’t afraid of being a leader and trying something new. And if this takes off, they won’t be the one’s playing catch-up.


>Credit Unions and MySpace… It Can Work

Posted by on Friday, 23 March, 2007

>

There has been some recent discussion in the credit union world about the use of MySpace to better attract and serve youth and young adults.

In my opinion, this is a great opportunity with one concern… be careful with what you post.

And I’m not speaking of wild credit union parties or questionable content. Be sure to keep sales pitches and any mention of great interest rates off of the profile. The last thing a MySpace user wants is to be “solicited” by a financial institution. You can always post a link to your credit union’s website where folks who want to find out more information on various products and services can do so.

Instead, please post something relevant to the social network in which you are entering and be subtle in your approach to attract young adults through your MySpace page.

Here are a few ideas…
* Information highlighting young adults at your credit union.
* Have a young adult employee post a story about a recent financial experience Post pictures of young adults who are served at the credit union
* Post some very basic financial education information, such as the difference between CD’s and savings accounts or describe how loans work… just be careful not to post how great your rates are and smack them over the head with a sales pitch.
* Explain why credit unions are different than banks
* Post pictures/video/content about a recent community service project, or some other story about how the credit union has upheld it’s commitment to bettering the community.

Take advantage of placing a profile on MySpace to educate members and potential members. Do not treat this as free advertising, MySpace users won’t warm up to how great your interest rates are, or that they can get a great new car loan. In fact, that may achieve the opposite. Save that stuff for your real website.

Okay… so how do you post a profile? Ask a young adult who works at your credit union to take some time and post one. Can’t afford to have your valuable employee away from serving your members? Here’s a great idea… make it a contest among your young adult members to come up with a design, and then have young adult members vote on the best idea.

MySpace can work… as long as you are careful about what you post. This is a great opportunity for credit unions to reach out and communicate with the younger demographic on their terms. It’s a great opportunity to put a friendly face on your credit union, and explain a few things along the way. Who knows, you might even gain a few young adult members.

Just remember not to post content that screams “I want to sell you something”.