A while back I wrote about banks and credit unions needing to incorporate their social media links in their traditional marketing. Well it seems that SC Federal CU is doing just that.
Below is an image of an ad that was run in the Business Review of Charleston’s Post & Courier. The links to SC Federal’s blog, Twitter and Facebook pages are listed at the bottom. You’ll notice that they also us QR codes (which didn’t work for me).
Incidentally, other companies listed QR codes in their ads but no one else listed their social media sites.
Well congratulations. You’ve been successful with setting up the Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube accounts for your financial institution. You’ve also set up a blog that has more than 100 daily readers. You’ve even run a few Foursquare and Facebook contests. Your Twitter account is actually used to communicate with customers, not just blast marketing messages. I’ll bet you’re even looking into get your own special badge on Gowalla.
Looking at your website, you have all your social media icons listed on your home and contact us pages. They can even be found on the footer of all your pages. And the best part? Upper management bought in after you proved the business case for why social media is important.
But are you really all in yet? The next time you’re watching those shows on DVR, watch some commercials instead of skipping them. Did you notice that some companies mention their Twitter and Facebook pages in their commercials? Open a few non-industry magazines and look at the ads. Notice Twitter and Facebook icons there also?
Now look at the marketing material you send out. I’m willing to bet that you don’t promote your social media sites on anything other than your website. If you go into your branches, you won’t see any icons listed on your displays either. But you know what you will find? The link for your website.
The adoption of social media reminds me of when online banking came onto the scene. It seems like it took forever for banks and credit unions to promote their website in their marketing materials. Online banking was the driving force for getting websites promoted by marketing.
I’ve seen some discussion about low numbers of Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Because these numbers are so low, people question the validity of social media in financial services. This same argument was used when online banking first became available. If you build it, people won’t necessarily come.
Yes, most of your online banking customers probably know you’re on Facebook and Twitter. But that’s just because they noticed it on the homepage when they were logging into online banking. Besides, that’s only about 25-35% of your customers. We all know the online banking login screen is the #1 hit page on your website.
You have other marketing channels that you need to use to promote your social media presence. There is absolutely no excuse for you to not list your links on direct mail, email messages, commercials, and branch displays. I’m sure they will fit right beside or below your website link. And if you’re really social media savvy, you’ll create and display a special #hashtag for your customers to use.
Comic from Dilbert
Hubspot posted an article about facts that can help justify companies using Twitter. A few of them stood out as being important to banks and credit unions:
5. Twitter users are more educated than the general population.
63% of Twitter users have a 4-year college degree or higher, as compared to only 40% of the general population. If your product/service/company is targeting a more educated customer, there’s a good chance they’re tweeting—or will be soon.
6. Twitter users have higher incomes than the general population.
47% of Twitter users earn $50k or more per year; 24% earn more than $75k. Compare that to 33% and 18% among the general population, respectively.
8. Twitter plays an active role in purchasing decisions.
42% of Twitter users rely on this channel to learn about new products/services, and 41% of them share opinions about products/services via Twitter. Soliciting opinions about products/services and seeking out discounts/coupons/sales are also popular Twitter-based activities.
9. 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy brands that they “follow”.
Whether interaction on Twitter is the cause of this greater allegiance or not is unclear—but it certainly seems that extra Twitter love doesn’t hurt.
10. Companies that use Twitter average 2x more leads per month than those that do not.
This, perhaps, is the most compelling reason of all to invest some time on Twitter—particularly if your target customer is educated, affluent, and tends to be an early adopter.
Read more: 10 Essential Twitter Stats
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the CU Water Cooler Symposium. When Matt Davis invited me, I was very hesitant. “You actually want a banker to attend?”, I asked. “Sure, why not?”, was the response. “You can bring a different perspective.”
So off to Fishers, IN I went. Let me tell you, this had to be the best conference I’ve ever attended. There were two days of great speakers and a wealth of information. As someone commented, if you didn’t get a ticket because you thought it would just be about social media, bad mistake.
The tweets from the event are only a sample of a information we received. You can find an archive here.
While the symposium as a whole was great, I’d just like to highlight a few sessions:
Robbie Wright, from CU Innovators, spoke about using social media to discuss the hard topics. He said that instead of just talking about marketing fluff, we should try solving the hard problems. Credit unions need to focus on the non-sexy to stand out for their customers. At the end of the day, credit unions are a business, not a charity. They can’t just focus on “being on Twitter and Facebook”. Social media needs to add value to customers and the credit union. You should build a business case to use these tools and income is a good thing.
Rebecca Corliss, from Hubspot, gave a presentation on inbound marketing. I’m a big fan of Hubspot and have always wanted to meet someone from the company. Hubspot really helps you leverage your online presence to generate leads. Old school marketing is interruption based while the new school is permission based. Some advice Rebecca gave was to think of inbound marketing as an ecosystem, not a cubicle. You need to target your keywords in order to build your rank. Inbound marketing is an investment and can build down the cost of leads. Another piece of advice was to have more than one “contact” form. The forms on your website should have a “call to action”, not just ask for generic information.
Ed Brett, from Westminster Savings, would probably get the vote for best speaker. No slides, just straight talk. Ed explained that although his credit union was much smaller than the competition, they were able to compete because they take advantage of their small size. Smaller companies are able to be much more agile so there are less levels to go through to get to a decision. At larger companies, there are more politics, agendas, and decision makers. Also, credit unions need to be better bankers than the bankers. This is a business and they need to help people do their banking better. There should be less emphasis on social media and more on simplifying banking. If you want to be agile, you should partner with agile vendors. At the end of the day, you need to bring value to your members. Ed also gave three statements that really stood out to me:
1. I challenge you to find other industries that are seeking to model their service after credit unions (banks).
2. The only innovation in financial services over the last 50 years has been in ‘access’
3. Your job is not to use technology, but to apply it.
Maya Bourdeau, from Attune, spoke about Psychology in Marketing. She talked about how her company discovered that small sample sizes gave as good results as large pools of participants. But, of course you have to be very discriminate in selecting your small sample. Another thing they discovered through their marketing development was credit unions need to show two times the value to get members to switch from a bank. They also said to keep it simple and explain the personal benefit. For example, instead of saying “we helped people save over $7 billion”, say “we can help YOU save $200″.
In addition, I had the opportunity to be on the expert panel about credit union branding. One recurring theme was credit unions really need to sit down and decide what they want to be. I mentioned that credit unions need to play to their strengths and explain how they’re different from banks. Most people don’t know what the difference between the two is. I also stated that “credit unions can’t out bank a bank, we’ve got that down”.
All in all, this was a great conference and I’m looking forward to going back next year. One question I was continually asked was, “why don’t you work for a credit union?”. My response was, “I believe I’m a credit union person trapped in a banker’s body.” As Morriss Partee said, that statement is “an instant classic”.