Social Media Study Reveals Why Consumers Join a Credit Union
By Gina Ragusa Credit Unions Online
Independent social media study cites service as being one of the top reasons why consumers are flocking to a credit union.
Social media analyst company, Crimson Hexagon recently studied 220,000 social media posts pointing to reasons why consumers joined a credit union. The study spanned over 11 months and examined several aspects consumers seek from a financial institution.
Overall member/customer service topped the list at 17%. Crimson Hexagon reported that the proportion of conversations related to joining credit unions because customer service has increased 20% since January 2012.
Following service, 15% of credit union members said that joining helped improve their credit score and 14% became members because of access to higher credit limits.
Cash conscious consumers also joined credit unions for lower loan rates (14%) and to save money on fees (13%).
“Based on daily monitoring of our social media channels, member service is easily the number one reason why we're seeing a migration from banks to credit unions, especially Truliant,” explains Cristen Fletcher, PR and Online Marketing Specialist at Truliant Federal Credit Union ($1.5 billion, Winston-Salem, NC). “In addition to our member-owners commenting that they feel like they are a part of Truliant, members posting to Facebook and Twitter tell us that they feel taken care of due to our quick response times to posts and reaching out to them offline.”
Fletcher adds that social media is an online community, and the credit union wants to benefit its members and the surrounding communities by extending that relationship via our social media platforms. “We typically do not promote our products or services through Twitter, but offer links and tips to facilitate valuable financial education. We believe this is a great way to use our social media channels, and our member-owners have noted that they feel Truliant actually cares about their financial health above all else, which meets our goal to enhance their lives.”
Credit Unions Aren’t Surprised By the Results
Although significant, members and credit unions aren’t surprised by Crimson Hexagon’s findings. Michelle Payne, Communications and Education Manager/Marketing at Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union ($1.1 billion, Indianapolis, IN) says that she closely tracks the credit union’s Facebook page and reads member comments that elude to service and trustworthiness as being a top reason why the member is with a credit union.
“When I take inventory of our recommendations on Facebook, I see several members describing our credit union as ‘helpful,’” she says. “They’re not finding this personality trait at banking institutions. Credit unions are known to be more about people than products and transactions. Specifically at ELFCU, we want our members to regard us as trusted friends who happen to operate a credit union. Consumers appreciate the sincerity of the credit union industry’s mission and, fortunately, they’re openly sharing their positive experiences with us through social media channels. As marketing professionals, we have to harness the power of that feedback to make sure others hear our story.”
Steven Page, Social Media Marketing Manager at 1st United Services Credit Union ($800 million, Pleasanton, CA) says that social media has opened a new channel to have dialog with the member.
“Members have told me that the reason they joined or stayed with 1st United Services Credit Union was the personal attention by the staff. By simply answering a member’s question on any of our multiple social media channels in a timely matter, gives the member a feeling of being in-touch with the credit union. It’s the old ‘I hear you and want to help’ acknowledgement that we do every day that the big banks can’t. It’s personal, quick, easy and fosters a close relationship with the credit union. Social media has made us transparent and available to the member. We have had great success making traditional media and social media work together. It gives both the credit union and the members a voice.”
Social Media Helps Credit Unions Continue Service Excellence Tradition
Trust and advocacy continues to be a running theme with credit unions throughout the nation.
Lynne Jarman-Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer at Consumers Credit Union ($323 million, Kalamazoo, MI) taps into the credit union’s social media outlets to respond to members and share comments with staff.
“Consumers has set up social media marketing as a way to engage on a new level with members and potential members. We have very specific strategies for each of the social networks we have platforms for. Our number one goal for all of our social medias is deepening financial education. Listening and responding to members or community neighbors with quick response and feedback has been very successful. We love what social media has brought to our table - a way for members to share their success with us or help us to improve services. Our favorite posts are those I get to share with our employees - about how much a member loved a service from a specific person they trust.”
She adds that many comments that come through the credit union’s social media site are unsolicited recommendations from members who just want to share their positive experiences online.
Ashley Witt, Community Coordinator/Social Media Manager at TDECU ($1.84 billion, Lake Jackson, TX) says that social media has allowed the credit union to grow and improve on service through comments and interaction.
“The wonderful thing about TDECU is that we have a great relationship with our members in person as well as through our social networks. Our members do feel empowered to share with us how much they love a certain branch, line of business or product to name a few things whether it’s through Facebook or Twitter. Positive sentiments like these are what push us to keep that member relationship going strong. Without us knowing what we are and aren’t doing right, we don’t have the chance to grow and succeed as a credit union. It’s a symbiotic relationship – we keep our members happy and that in turn makes them want to be part of the TDECU family as well as recommending us to THEIR family and friends.”