Feb 14 2012

Measuring Social Media Success in Credit Unions


Filene researchers use an extended survey period and input from hundreds of credit unions to explore whether social media use correlates with key credit union goals like share of wallet, membership growth, and loan growth. The old saw that correlation is not causation is worth noting, but nevertheless, the correlations are intriguing.

At one level the surveys show credit union trends that mirror overall trends in the environment: more emphasis on video, less on full-scale blogs, and the continued rise in popularity of Facebook and Twitter. As more credit unions have joined in and strengthened their social media initiatives, it stands to reason that they should do so in sync with overall trends. But at the business level some interesting connections emerged. Notably, those that called their programs successful or very successful saw rises in web traffic and loan growth. But those gains did not extend in a measurable way to membership growth or to higher products per member. Social media helps, but it doesn’t help everything.

Several key success drivers emerged and solidified during the yearlong study. Credit unions that do all or most of the following are much more likely to succeed:

  • Tie the social media program to the strategic plan and include metrics for tracking progress.
  • Conduct periodic member surveys. There continues to be a correlation between success and credit unions that conduct member surveys two to four times per year and have otherwise active marketing programs.
  • Post messages in varying media formats with topics focusing on credit union events, helpful financial information, alerts/information, product information, and community events.
  • Target between one and three Facebook posts per day (this was an area with a clear point of diminished returns: Those making more than three posts per day were less successful).
  • Consider outside consultants, which may be a good alternative for smaller credit unions that do not have a large in-house staff. Nine in ten credit unions that consider their programs successful used outside consultants.
  • Promote the program through multiple channels and with credit union staff participation and buy-in. The qualitative interviews showed that staff engagement is a huge piece of generating interest in the program.
Report Number 257