Outsource Social Media? It's Working for These CUs

Resource-strapped CUs pleased with early returns from partnership with marketing firm.

April 9, 2014
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Determined to lay a solid foundation for his successor, Duane Otremba added a recent college graduate to his one-man marketing team in January 2013 to handle St. Cloud Federal Credit Union’s new social media channels.

“Then she turned in her resignation in November,” said Otremba, who plans to retire in May 2015.

Meanwhile, Marnie Perfetti Galston knew after setting up Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union’s Facebook page that her two-person crew would be overwhelmed by a full-on social media strategy.

“I didn’t want to do it halfway,” she says. “If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it right. It’s a full-time job.”

Fortunately, credit unions caught in these conundrums now have an alternative to handling social media duties in-house. The Minnesota Credit Union Network recently created a partnership with DAYTA Marketing, a fast-growing startup based in St. Cloud that handles day-to-day social media responsibilities for resource-strapped credit unions in that state and elsewhere.

DAYTA Marketing maintains or has set up all of the accounts for St. Cloud Federal and Mid-Minnesota Federal, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube, and also coordinates their blogs.

Otremba estimates the cost at one-fifth of a full-time employee, while Perfetti equates their bill to the tab for a large billboard.

“They do a fantastic job,” Otremba says. “They’re a great company to work with. The enthusiasm they bring to the job is important, because enthusiasm sells.”

SIDEBAR:

Social media has become a standard tool in most credit unions’ arsenal in recent years, but many organizations struggle to consistently execute a cohesive, integrated strategy.

That’s a problem for many industries, says Luke Riordan, who founded DAYTA Marketing in 2011 after implementing a transformative social media strategy for an medical clinic while still in college at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn.

Too often, organizations treat social media launches like a New Year’s resolution and quickly run out of steam, according to Riordan.

“It takes time, diligence, and consistency to implement a social media strategy,” says Riordan, who now employs 20 full-time staff and 12 interns to serve DAYTA Marketing's 140 corporate accounts. “One of the things DAYTA marketing has to offer is a team of social media experts in our offices. That’s all we do. We’re a social media marketing company filled with social media experts. We stay on top of things because it changes so fast.”

Some might blanch at the idea of outsourcing social media, because experts regard expressing an authentic, unique voice as a standard principle for success.

But Otremba and Perfetti underscore they remain engaged in the process, feeding their content ideas to a point person at DAYTA Marketing who handles most of the posting responsibilities for their respective credit unions. They communicate primarily via phone and email, meeting occasionally to discuss larger topics or initiatives.

“We’re constantly talking, and every morning, the first thing I do is monitor what’s been posted,” Perfetti says. “It’s no different than checking that the newspaper ad read right.”

But DAYTA Marketing also supplies the credit unions content—primarily educational material—and introduces strategies that have proven successful for their clients in other industries.

“That’s maybe the strongest benefit of having an outside firm doing this,” Otremba says. “It’s easy to get blinders on; you’re just seeing your business and you get indoctrinated into your industry.

“We constantly have to think about how people see us. They’re not seeing us the way we see ourselves. It’s a real challenge.”

As for compliance concerns, Riordan says DAYTA Marketing knows and monitors NCUA and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations and proposals. His uncle and business partner, John Riordan, notes that a robust social media presence can be beneficial from a regulatory perspective, as the backbone of a crisis management plan. 

DAYTA Marketing promises its clients will experience significant audience and engagement growth if they adhere to its blueprint. Mid-Minnesota Federal’s Facebook following increased eightfold to more than 1,600 in six months, and its Minnesota Vikings tickets giveaway post on Facebook produced more than 32,000 views and 600 shares.

“When I start seeing numbers like that, it’s cool,” Perfetti says.