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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