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Credit Union Members Win Cash and Prizes Through Social Media

Credit Union Members Win Cash and Prizes Through Social Media

From winning cash for commenting on blog posts to random prize drawings during milestone anniversaries, credit unions seem to be giving away a host of goodies for those who visit their social media sites.

Sweepstake offerings have long been a cornerstone in many credit union marketer’s bag of tricks. The notion of being able to attach a giveaway to a product has helped numerous credit unions boost overall product adoption and penetration, which has made contests and sweepstakes a staple. With the advent of social media, credit union marketers view the virtual vehicle as an additional channel to reach members, bolster visibility and increase sales.

For IBM Southeast Employees’ Federal Credit Union ($850 million, Boca Raton, FL), ongoing Facebook contests have become an instrumental tool used for member communication.

“We want them (the member) to engage with us as much as possible using as many channels as possible,” explains Christine Pescatore, Sr. Marketing Specialist. “We find these contests work well to add some ‘fun’ to their experience with us and to engage them with their credit union.”

Pescatore says that the credit union runs a Facebook contest each month and uses the North Social Application, which she has found to be very user friendly. “All that is required after the member likes our page is to click on the contest and enter their name and email address,” she explains. “For the monthly contests, we primarily promote on Facebook and Twitter, although we have a permanent link on the front page of our website encouraging members to like our Facebook page. These are usually the $50 gift card contests.”

The contest IBM Southeast EFCU is currently running is a $500 VISA Gift Card giveaway for one winner and $50 VISA Gift Cards for 10 other winners.

“This offer is run about twice a year in an effort to boost our likes,” Pescatore says. “When we do this bigger giveaway, we promote it on our website with a prominent banner, send an email and provide the branches with marketing materials. This type of giveaway, specifically because of the email we send, generates a much larger response of new likes. We don't use the other channels to go around the app, we use the other channels to assist in promoting our Facebook page to members that don't currently know about or like our page.”

Although some credit unions have taken a dip in the Facebook contest app pool, others haven’t totally committed to hosting exclusive social media contests. For example, credit unions like Genisys Credit Union ($1.4 billion, Auburn Hills, MI) promotes contests primarily on its website but then uses Facebook as more of a call to action. Recently the credit union launched the “Get Real about Debit Cards” offer in June where the majority of the promotion was done on the credit union’s website with a link to its social media pages like Facebook.

According to contest rules, “Only Facebook friends and Twitter followers who watch and share/retweet our ‘Get Real About Debit Cards’ video on their Facebook and/or Twitter page will be entered into the drawing.” One random member will win 10,000 Genisys Rewards Points ($100 value), which will be applied to their Genisys account.

Multi-Channel Creative Zombie Campaign Attracts Attention

Because not all members live and die by their Facebook status, credit union marketers know that if they hit numerous channels to promote contests they can kill a few birds with one stone.

Obviously marketers need a magnanimous offer partnered with killer creative in order to attract the members’ attention. One prime example is Carolina Postal Credit Union’s ($81 million, Charlotte NC) multi-layered “Survive Banker Zombie” campaign.

The credit union invited employees and actors to dress up like zombies and swarm both credit union branches and the Wells Fargo Stage Coach during Octoberfest in Hickory. A microsite was created that not only backed the Bank Transfer Day movement but also focused on the credit union’s low auto loan rates. The theme urged members to “escape the zombie invasion by driving away with a great rate.” Any member who refinanced an auto loan was given $50 for gas--so they could get a head start on the zombie apocalypse.

Carolina Postal’s Facebook and Twitter pages were also a popular stop during the autumn zombie invasion as pictures of the “undead” popped up throughout the site, helping to drive the campaign.

According to a credit union management magazine, Carolina Postal experienced an 83% increase in average volume for auto loans in October in addition to an 88% increase in new members, and a 50% rise in checking accounts.

Apparently both the live and virtual elements worked harmoniously to create a significant jump. “People will talk about it if a zombie hands them something,” says Deb McLean, VP/Marketing and Business Development. “We had so many people come up and want their photos taken with the zombies, from the Miss Hickory beauty queen to police officers. And it worked well with the postcard, which a lot of people mentioned. They said, ‘I’ve always wanted to join a credit union, but I didn’t even know about yours.’”

Cold Hard Cash Speaks Volumes to Members

Some credit unions are giving away cash--just “because.” Over the next several months, Wildfire Credit Union ($652 million, Saginaw, MI) will give away $100 to individual members over 100 days. Wildfire 100, a social media initiative created through the credit union was developed because, according to the microsite, “the act of giving changes everything.” The “no requirements or strings attached” offer only suggests that winning members instead try to make their community a better place any way they can.

"No strings attached, all we ask is that they think about if there's some way they can pay it forward," Linda McGee, Vice President of Membership Development told a local news station.

The efforts are extremely popular on the credit union’s Facebook and Twitter pages with the majority of its posts dedicated to touting and posting pictures of the latest winners. YouTube also hosts numerous videos featuring credit union member reactions when they receive the cash--another viral way that credit unions can enhance visibility through social media.

Random cash drawings at Wildfire are nothing new. Last year the credit union hosted the offer, touching many lives. One member, Jennifer F. of Freeland, wrote about how her father ended up using the money to pay medical bills and prescriptions before he finally succumbed to his illness.

Last summer I nominated my Dad, Kevin Chenoweth. He was surprised to receive the $100 in August. He really needed the money for medical bills and prescriptions - my Dad had multiple myeloma. He passed away in November. I'm so happy that I was able to nominate him and that Wildfire agreed that he deserved the money. Thank you Wildfire for helping my Dad in his time of need!

When was the last time your bank gave you $100…just “because?” Don’t fall victim to “banker zombies”--find a credit union and join the fun.



By Gina Ragusa
Published June 6, 2012
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