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Most Credit Unions Using Facebook, But Some Say They’ll Quit

Nearly every credit union in the U.S. says they are using Facebook today, but one in 14 of those says they’ll give it up. Two thirds plan to use Twitter in the coming year, and almost no one is paying any attention to Pinterest. Everyone, however, continues to struggle with social media ROI.

New research from a credit union social media survey reveals that nearly all credit unions (94%) are using Facebook as a form of social media marketing, however only 87% say they will continue to use Facebook in the future. That means one out of every 14 credit unions who are currently using Facebook have plans to abandon the popular social platform.

The majority of credit unions responding to the survey have plans to develop or enhance their social media strategies for 2013. Here’s how credit union marketing professionals indicated they planned to use social media channels in the coming year:

  • 74% Mobile applications (technically not social media)
  • 66% Twitter
  • 61% YouTube
  • 48% Social media analytics
  • 39% LinkedIn
  • 29% Tumblr
  • 24% Google+
  • 1% Pinterest

The top barriers to using social media identified by credit unions in the survey were measuring return on investment (ROI) and a lack of time and resources to implement social media plans.

Currently, credit unions are using crude social media metrics, with 75% saying they track the number of Facebook fans they have. 59% measure the number of mentions or comments, and 55% track the number of posts on Facebook. No one, it seems, is tracking actual ROI — as in “how does social media impact the bottom line?”

“The challenge is that while these are quantifiable metrics, they do not measure member engagement, changes in awareness, or increases in sales,” said Patrick McElhenie, sales planner at CUNA Mutual Group, as he presented the survey’s findings to attendees of the 2012 CUNA Lending Council Conference.

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“Advanced social media users are using Twitter, YouTube and podcasts at a much higher rate than beginners. These three social media platforms lend themselves to member engagement more than some of the others,” McElhenie said.

“Survey findings show credit unions using social media for more than three years are more adept at integrating it into their overall marketing strategy and are achieving better levels of member engagement,” added McElhenie.

The majority of credit unions surveyed are primarily using social media to educate, build awareness and promote events, the survey found.

“Social media can supplement traditional marketing and help credit unions educate and promote, but its real strength is in the ability to engage members,” noted McElhenie.

However, as credit unions gain more experience with social media, their objectives are expanding beyond using it simply as a one-way marketing and communications tool. Beginners focus on education, awareness and promotion while more advanced users also focus on attracting new members, providing customer service, supporting sales and providing consumer reviews, according to McElhenie.

Those credit unions who adopted social channels earlier than others use more than just Facebook. Credit unions who have been using social media for more than three years, are significantly more likely to use Twitter and YouTube than those who have been using social media for less than three years.

They survey was fielded with 160 members of CUNA’s Lending- and Marketing Councils in August 2012.

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  1. It’s scary to see how so many credit unions look at digital content strategies. It’s going to take constant education for every credit union to learn how to do it right so they can see its value. Thanks for posting the research

  2. No need for Credit Unions to measure ROI in Social Media for one simple reason … their efforts are non-productive to the purpose of member acquisition and growing wallet share. Buying ‘likes’ on facebook and attempting to engage ‘fans’ in discussions unrelated to their financial health will not create value for either the ‘fan’ or the Credit Union.

  3. This is really sad to see a few participants in an industry give up when they don’t even realize that their strategy is flawed.

  4. How can you be so sure that those who are abandoning social media didn’t try the “right strategy” before giving up? There are many financial institutions who have hired social media consultants and did everything they were told to who still aren’t seeing success. You can have a good strategy run by good people with good intentions and you can still fail.

    There seems to be a belief circulating among social media enthusiasts that there are only two paths and two outcomes: There are those who do it right and find success, and there are those who fail because they did it wrong. But there is no guarantee that even if an organization does everything “right” with social media (according to experts) that they’ll succeed. It’s dangerous to assume every FI that walks away from social media is doing so because they had a flawed approach. Every organization has its own priorities, own resources, own audience and own set of constraints.

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