MADISON, Wis. (2/28/12)--Many credit unions are struggling to develop a following on Twitter, and about one in five credit unions surveyed have abandoned Twitter entirely, according to a new study released by the Financial Brand.
But the study also showed that many credit unions weren't very active in developing a following. The average credit union studied sent about one "tweet" every other day, or 0.6 tweets per day.
The Financial Brand analyzed 350 "activated" credit union Twitter accounts. The study's sample size represents over 5% of all U.S. credit unions, and a minimum of 10% of all those on Twitter.
Accounts were considered "activated" if the credit union's profile had been customized with an avatar/logo, at least one tweet had been sent through the account, and the account had at least one follower. For the study, any account that had not tweeted in the last three months was considered dormant or abandoned.
The study found that the more often a credit union tweets, the higher its growth rate of new followers. The top 20 credit unions sent an average of 1,486 tweets, or about 1.5 tweets per day. Credit unions with the fastest growth rate for followers--those adding at least two new followers daily--send an average of at least three tweets per 24-hour period.
The typical credit union using Twitter has 300 followers, adding about one new follower every two days, according to the study. That credit union follows 150 other Twitter accounts.
Most credit unions have activated their Twitter accounts since December 2009. The majority of tweets sent are one-directional, often with links back to a press release or similar credit union Web page. Very few @replies are sent by credit unions to other Twitter users.
Southern Oregon FCU, Grants Pass, Ore., topped the list of most followers with 10,242. The Golden 1 CU, Sacramento, Calif., was next with 4,002 followers. Southern Oregon FCU has $709 million in assets, and 71,660 members. It has one follower for every seven members, or one follower for every $69,000 in assets.
Of the 350 credit unions included in the study, 74 (21.1%) had abandoned their accounts. They created their accounts in late 2009, and sent about100 tweets before giving up.
Smaller credit unions abandoned Twitter more frequently than larger instituions. Of the 74 credit unions that gave up on Twitter, 47 (63%) had less than $200 million in assets. Only four (6%) of the 66 credit unions in the study with more than $1 billion in assets dropped out.
The study noted if consumers had any interest in connecting with financial institutions on Twitter, they'd have done it by now. "As a tool to keep tabs on other financial institutions, to connect with industry peers, and to spread press releases, Twitter can be very effective, no doubt. But Twitter's usefulness beyond that is highly disputable," the study concluded.
To view the study, use the link.