Social Media 'Spokester' Speaks From the Heart

‘I don’t have to “sell” anything to members—I just have to be honest with them.’

October 08, 2013
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

In 2010, as Mississippi’s Young and Free “spokester”—a job she competed for via social media—Sarah Dale Harmon drove up and down Mississippi in a bright purple car visiting credit unions.

Meeting people who operate service-oriented, cooperative credit unions helped her decide on her career path. After her stint with the Young and Free youth marketing campaign, she attended the Credit Union Development Education program in 2011, and later was hired as marketing specialist at $132 million asset Magnolia Federal Credit Union in Jackson, Miss.

“Credit unions have products and services created for the sole purpose of helping people,” notes Harmon. "That’s something I can feel good about. I don’t have to ‘sell’ anything to members—I just have to be honest with them.”

Since joining Magnolia Federal, Harmon has overhauled its Facebook/Twitter pages and added other social media networks such as Vine, Pinterest, Blogger, and Instagram. 

“Social media is an inexpensive way to promote our products and services, communicate with our members, and increase our presence in the community,” she says.

Harmon makes Magnolia Federal’s Facebook page attractive by updating it daily, giving away prizes on Trivia Tuesday, and posting articles, tips, and pictures of staff out in the community.

“Sarah Dale’s social media results are astounding,” says Lanet McCrary, vice president of marketing and business development. "The ‘Likes’ on our Facebook page increased from just over 200 in October 2012 to more than 3,600 today.”

Magnolia Federal had reached approximately 26,000 people through Facebook as of May 2013—a figure that grows monthly, with most of those contacts residing within its field of membership.

Magnolia’s statistics are impressive. In the first half of this year, membership increased 7.6%, checking accounts and online banking grew by approximately 10%, and mobile banking was up more than 21%.

In addition to handling all digital marketing, Harmon also serves as Magnolia’s “Adopt-a-School” liaison, recently working with a school located in the community surrounding the credit union’s newest branch.

“Sarah Dale has amazing social media skills and the ability to reach our local youth,” says McCrary. “We aren’t a huge credit union,” adds Harmon, “but with a little initiative and smart use of our advertising dollars, we’ve really had some success.”

Post a comment to this story

heroes

What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

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.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive