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Social Media for Credit Union and Bank Marketers

You're here because you're wondering how you can use social media to attract more customers, sell more loans or open more checking accounts at your bank or credit union.


Don't waste your time.

As a marketer, finding customers, growing share of wallet and the like are good goals and there are numerous ways to do that effectively, but social media is not one of them. Sorry, but it's true.

If you're thinking about setting up a Facebook page or creating a Twitter account, how are you going to use it? What are you going to say that will cause people to give you their most precious commodity - their attention - for even sixty seconds?

How do most people use social media? Who do they pay attention to? For most consumers, it's friends and family, not their dry cleaner, lawn service or financial institution.

Now consider the question from your own perspective (you do use social media, right?). How many companies that you do business with did you interact with last week on Facebook or Twitter? How many last month? If you're like most consumers, the answer is zero. With the exception of a small number of enviable brands that are able to connect on an emotional or even fanatical level with their customers, most consumers have no interest in connecting with businesses in social channels.

A Strategy is the Silver Bullet. Right?

Most consultants will tell you that you first need a strategy before you start any social media activities. This is good advice, but we believe it's premature to start there. Instead, we recommend first scouring the web to see how other retail banks & credit unions are using social media. Pay close attention to how much interaction occurs between the FI and the followers. What you'll see in nearly every situation is a marketer broadcasting trite messages to a disinterested audience. In other words, it's all media, no social.

If there's no social, how come so many FIs have hundreds of followers? There are three common sources of followers: employees, family members and gimmicks.

We don't need to explain why friends and family members become followers (guilt, usually). As for gimmicks, you'll see many contests designed to grow a fan base (e.g., get your Grandma to Like us and we'll enter you in a contest to win $100), but then nothing to nourish that fan base and turn fans into new customers or loans or accounts.

If you have to resort to contests to buy followers, then a marketer must ask himself why followers aren't flocking to the space on their own? The answer, in nearly all cases, is that banks and credit unions have nothing interesting to say. Or at least nothing more interesting than the dozens of friends, family members, brands and media sources competing for that precious commodity called user attention. In the end, gimmicks result in nothing but hundreds of disinterested fans, which are useless to the FI.

Some marketers will argue that Twitter & Facebook are useful customer service tools. Unfortunately, for compliance & security reasons, most needs customers have cannot be fulfilled through Facebook or Twitter. The most common result is a response directing customers to the FI's website or to call the customer service center. That's not customer service. No, that's actually speed bump to providing real customer service.

We're not saying that social media is useless. Social media tools such as Yammer are excellent for sharing information inside an organization. Social media is even useful for sharing information and building relationships with others inside the industry, such as vendors, other FIs and the press. It's just not a good way to spend time, energy or money for retail FI marketers trying to sell products or services to customers.

If you believe we're all wet and want to talk to us about your social media strategy, we'd love to talk with you. You can contact us online or call us at 855-728-5839. You can count on us to give you a candid assessment and to admit that we're wrong if you have a strategy that will knock our socks off.



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