Oct 28 2013

From Presence to Purpose: Developing Social Media Strategies and Metrics for Credit Unions

Report  
Number  
310

It takes a concerted effort to use social media effectively and get results. It requires integrating these new channels with traditional marketing and communications and with your branding strategy. It also requires creating metrics and measuring effectiveness, and this report has the whys and wherefores.

Hope Schau
Hope Schau
Eller Professor of Marketing at the Eller College of Management
University of Arizona
Per Ivar Schau
Carondelet Health Network
Report Number 310

Executive Summary

Credit unions should have it made. As cooperatives with defined fields of membership and members with common experiences, social media should be a natural extension of built-in affinity. Members should be at the center of social media conversations and spilling over with their own ideas, feedback, and content about the credit union. That theory is nice, but this new research expands on what many credit unions are discovering: that deep member engagement with social media comes only after a lot of work.

And there’s still a lot of work to do. Nearly 40% of the credit unions studied are “Prospectors” who stake a social media claim but never do much with it; more than half are “Flirts” who approach social media sporadically, without long-term commitment. Only 10% are “Settlers” who stick around to finish what they started.

What is the Research About?

Using surveys and online content analysis of 157 credit unions, and qualitative interviews with leaders from many of them, this report describes and helps to solve two pressing credit union challenges: 

  • Integrating legacy marketing/member service relationships with social media. 
  • Addressing the often missed credit union opportunity of data gathering and analysis.

The first challenge entails educating credit union decision makers on the role and purpose of social media and how it interconnects with the overall strategic branding decisions of the credit union. This includes moving from a minimal social media presence to an active, value-added social media engagement; identify-ing and engaging the appropriate member base; and incorporating measurements of success. The second challenge entails the development of appropriate metrics against which social media strategies can be evaluated.

The research defines the straightforward challenges and goes on to outline how credit unions should become more adaptable Settlers, create a social media strategy, and begin the essential process of encouraging and supporting an actual brand community.

What Are the Credit Union Implications?

You don’t win in social media just by showing up. While using Facebook or Twitter might have been buzzworthy in 2009, today’s members are not impressed with mere presence. If they don’t sense a purpose in your efforts, they will not pay attention. This new research expands on what many credit unions are discovering: that deep member engagement with social media comes only after a lot of work.

This report is sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance.