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Michigan Firsts social media strategy featured
LATHRUP VILLAGE, Mich. (8/14/12)--Michigan First CU's social media strategy was highlighted in an interview with Linda Douglas, vice president of marketing, by The Financial Brand, a website dedicated to  ideas in financial services marketing.

Michigan First, with $623 million in assets, Lathrup Village, Mich., uses every major social media platform, Douglas said. The credit union is active on Facebook and Twitter. It uses YouTube as its primary video platform and uploads photos to Flickr for sharing.

The credit union initiated its social media strategy in April 2009 in tandem with its enhanced online banking service, Douglas told the publication. The new banking product included personal financial management capabilities and social media, including Twitter and Facebook, were employed to publicize the roll out.

Day-to-day management of social media was handled in partnership a public relations agency. Michigan First CU's marketing staff developed a social media calendar and provided content. The agency provided ongoing monitoring and third-party content.

In May, Michigan First hired Janelle O'Hara, its first full-time employee dedicated to social media. O'Hara previously served as the credit union's Young & Free spokesperson, a role in which she created content, attended events on behalf of Michigan First, and built up the credit union's following among Gen Y.

Now, O'Hara manages Michigan First's social media content and multimedia daily. She also produces video content and works with the credit unions public relations agency.

O'Hara has helped Michigan First achieve what Douglas calls the credit union's greatest accomplishment in social media: 24 x 7 monitoring and diligence in responding to members. "We ensure that each post is acknowledged as quickly as possible, and dig in to identify members posting anonymously using a variety of tools," Douglas told The Financial Brand. "With regular follow-up both in social media and offline, we've been able to turn perceived problems into positive customer service experiences."

One of those problems developed when the credit union unintentionally offended some older and more conservative members with videos that were intended to attract Gen Y members, Douglas told The Financial Brand. The credit union has since moderated the videos and taken a more targeted approach to any youth-oriented videos, Douglas said.

In the interview with The Financial Brand, Douglas said Facebook is the most important social media vehicle in use today. "Facebook has reached critical mass and is such an integrated part of our members' lives," Douglass said. "With Facebook, we are able to enter more involved conversations with members and directly share multimedia content that paints a more complete picture of who Michigan First is."

To read the full interview, use the link.
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