Social Media Works for CUs

It makes a difference when you contact legislators to share the CU story.

September 12, 2013
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Does it really make a difference if you write your lawmaker? Comment on a proposed rule? Post a pro-credit union message on your Facebook page? Tweet using “#DontTaxMyCU”?
Most definitely—now, more than ever.
You often hear me, along with other CUNA leaders, extol the value of “getting involved” on behalf of credit unions. We remark about the more than 96 million members. We note that 93% of the 40 million members who use a credit union as their primary financial institution say they really love their credit union.
And here’s another thing you’ve likely heard more times than you can count: “We’re the best-kept secret in financial services. If only we could get these millions of people to tell our story.”
Now’s the time to convince these members to help tell our story. Here’s why:
We’re locked in a campaign to keep our tax exemption safe and secure, as Congress takes a very close—and serious—look at reforming the tax code.
We’re fighting to enhance the credit union charter, so credit unions have more flexibility to serve their members with more business loans and with additional methods for building capital. These enhancements will allow credit unions to continue to meet the expectations of their growing memberships.
We’re striving to lessen the regulatory burden that weighs down credit unions from most efficiently serving their members.
Fortunately, we have tools to make our voices heard loudly and forcefully. One of the best of all, especially for a “people-power” group like credit unions: social media (including Twitter and Facebook).
Look no further than our “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” initiative for proof. And, in particular, look to the “Don’t Tax Tuesday” social media blitz, which we sponsored on July 23 and Sept. 10.
The idea for this blitz initially came from some credit unions, who shared with our political affairs staff their idea of a one-day, overwhelming, and focused messaging onslaught, featuring our “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” message. The target: members of Congress on both sides of the Capitol.
Carrying out this social media barrage became a slam-dunk decision for us when we scheduled it just days before the deadline for senators to deliver their tax reform recommendations to leaders of the Senate Finance Committee.
The best news: Credit unions, and their supporters, immediately embraced the concept—logging on to Twitter and using “#DontTaxMyCU” in their direct tweets to members of Congress, and posting similar messages on their Facebook pages.
During the first Don't Tax Tuesday event, more than 2,100 tweets were sent directly to legislators urging “Don’t Tax My Credit Union.” And nearly 1.5 million Twitter and Facebook users heard our message through retweets, followers, and friends on the social media networks.
That created quite a buzz in Washington. More than once we heard from people across the nation’s capital remarking on the omnipresence of credit unions’ social media message, saying, for example, “Credit unions are really blowing up Twitter today.”
The bottom line: It worked. Congress heard our message.
Case in point: Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, responded to what he was seeing on Twitter with his own tweet: “I support credit unions as essential banking options to all Texans. Having worked with #creditunions for 3+ decades, I agree #DontTaxMyCU.”
You can’t ask for much more effective feedback than that.
We still have more ground to cover to protect our tax exemption, enhance our charter, and reduce the regulatory burden.
But when credit unions get involved—as they’ve shown they can—we can capture the attention of decision makers. We just have to make the effort—and forget about being “the best-kept secret.”
BILL CHENEY is CUNA’s president/CEO.

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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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