Measuring Social Media (What One Credit Union Should Have Done)

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As I look at the title of this post, I’m painfully aware that I really don’t know if the credit union I’m going to mention did what I think it should have done or not. If it did it, then my apologies to the marketing folks there for implying that they didn’t. If the credit union didn’t do this, then they should keep reading.

The Credit Union Journal recently reported on the Facebook efforts of Fort Knox FCU. On Facebook for about a year now, the CU attracted 4,700 fans in the first three weeks of having a Facebook page. With more than 5,500 fans now, the CU claims to be the “most popular credit union on Facebook.” The article states:

“About 70% of those friends are members, not other credit unions or industry groupies. The CU isn’t able to provide metrics that prove its approach is attracting new members or increasing sales. But [marketing manager] Stapleton said she feels Facebook has helped Fort Knox FCU diversify the membership and reach a new target demographic.”

My take: Popularity is not the goal of your social media efforts. Business results is. If it hasn’t already done so, FKFCU should put some measurement approaches into place. Ideally, it would have done so right from the start.

After its initial three-week honeymoon with Facebook, FKFCU has averaged about 16 new fans per week. Is that good or bad? I don’t know. But after averaging 1,600 new fans in its first three weeks, fandom has only grown by 1% of that weekly average since then.

My bigger concern, however, is the statement that the CU “isn’t able to prove its approach is attracting new members or increasing sales.”

What the credit union should have done (if it hadn’t or hasn’t) is:

1. Profile the initial fan base. The first step the CU should have taken is determine who these new fans are. The CU did identify 70% of them as members, but that’s not enough. The CU should determine the average tenure of those fans with the CU, average number of product owned and average balances. The initial 4,700 fans — 3,300 members, 1,400 non-members  — could have become a control group for understanding the impact of Facebook interaction.

2. Develop an engagement tracking metric/measurement approach. A year later, can marketing at FKCFU tell management how often fans interact — not just on the FB page, but in other channels as well? It should be able to do that.

3. Track bottom line results for the control group. With steps #1 and #2 in place, a year later FKFCU would be able to say “here’s how engagement/average accounts owned/average balances for our Facebook fans compares to the changes in those metrics for non-Facebook fans. In fact, they’d be able to compare active FB participants to inactive participants to see if FB participation is correlated to bottom line results.

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