Marketing

Connect With Members Online

Treat members like they’re your friends.

May 01, 2011
KEYWORDS connecting , media , social
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Connecting with people online isn’t about hyping your credit union’s great rates, it’s about generating a passionate conversation, says Bo McDonald, president of Your Marketing Co., Roebuck, S.C.

“People don’t care about your credit union; they care about its people, the work it does, and the community it serves,” McDonald told attendees at the 18th Annual CUNA Marketing & Business Development Conference in Las Vegas. “People don’t trust advertising—people trust people. That’s why social media is so important. It’s about people talking to people online.”

McDonald cites an unlikely example of a company that inspires passion in its customers: Fiskars, the global scissors maker.

The company created the “Fiskateers,” a nationwide group of “crafting ambassadors” who blog about what they’re doing with their scissors.

“The scissors’ one-year guarantee doesn’t excite people; connecting with others does,” McDonald explains. “Find something your members can rally around.”

He advises credit unions to join the conversation in social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and blogs.

Some insights about using these tools:

  • People like free stuff;
  • There’s a big difference between updates and spam;
  • Include photos, videos, and links in addition to updates;
  • Make your fans and staff famous by highlighting them;
  • Let your fans go crazy—don’t censor their postings;
  • Give people something to look forward to, such as “freebie Friday,” when you regularly give away items; and
  • Don’t delete complaints. Instead, address them immediately.

The particular social media vehicle is less important than the conversation, McDonald says. “Remember when MySpace was the shiny new thing? It’s dead now. Facebook and Twitter will be in the same boat someday.”

Next: More conference highlights

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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