Social Media’s Role in Crisis Management

CU staff must use new technology intelligently to survive in today’s crisis-ridden ‘reputation economy.’

November 22, 2011
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What you and your staff say on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites can directly affect your credit union’s reputation. Social media platforms have introduced new challenges in maintaining organizations’ reputations, especially during crises, according to a white paper from CUNA’s Marketing and Business Development Council.

In addition to the challenges, social media sites also bring great opportunities. For example, direct communication between organizations and their stakeholders is easier in some respects.

But credit union staff, notes the report, must use new technology intelligently to survive in today’s crisis-ridden “reputation economy.” Make sure you and your staff are clear about your credit union’s social media policies and responsibilities.


New challenges

Today the power of the message lies with the individuals in the virtual community, not only with the business itself. In addition to monitoring consumers’ perceptions and reputation risks, credit unions must guard against increased risks of fraud, robbery, false online rumors, natural disasters, cyber-attacks, and employee/management misconduct.

When any of these events occur, staff who are active on social media platforms can help dispel concern and answer members’ questions. “A truly sustainable reputation has the potential to buffer an organization from the negative fallout of a crisis,” notes the white paper.

New opportunities

Credit unions can now communicate with members in multiple ways. More than 85% of American consumers have mobile devices, according to Direct Marketing News.

Mobile technology gives users a sense of connectedness to the world and limits uncertainty, says the council white paper. And credit union staff can use it to connect members to the credit union.

Social media platforms are a direct communication channel to members. The credit union and its staff, however, shouldn’t limit communication efforts to high-tech platforms, the report suggests. Instead, they should create the best messages, then share them through social and traditional media (television, radio, and newspapers).

Note that your credit union’s reputation isn’t determined only by information you “push” to members and potential members. It also depends on their reactions.

Monitor perceptions about your credit union on all platforms—even the ones you don’t use directly. Keep in mind that the most popular social media platforms will change over time, and follow all of them carefully.

Next: Best practices

Social Media - A tool for Credit Unions to get better at Customer Service

Sankar Krishnan
November 29, 2011 9:35 am
Social Media and Social Media Analytics are two powerful tools that can be deployed for better and targeted success. Credit Unions have a great opportunity to replace banks with their community focus and dedication..

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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 ( 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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