WASHINGTON (11/30/09)--About 240 credit unions use Twitter, and more than 800 use Facebook, according to a recent survey on credit unions’ use of social media. The study, conducted by Callahan and Associates, indicates that credit unions are part of a growing business population that is using Twitter and Facebook to connect with a younger demographic. “It’s important for credit unions to keep in touch with younger members and to understand the new ways this member segment communicates,” said Denise Senecal, Callahan research manager. Ent FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo., launched a Facebook page last year to support the credit union’s university branch. “We quickly found we were reaching more than just our student members,” said Victoria Selfridge, director of marketing and e-commerce. “A recent social media survey showed that 44% of Ent members actively use social media websites--and of those members, 90% use Facebook. “With Facebook, we try to post information to our fans’ news feed just a few times each month, while with Twitter, we try to post a minimum of one tweet a day,” she added. Ent uses Facebook for online contests and to share information and photos. The credit union employs Twitter to promote free financial education events and community involvement activities. It also regularly searches social media sites to track what is being talked about. “You need to be aware of what is being said--good and bad,” Selfridge said. University FCU, Austin, Texas, also uses social media and found that more than just high-school or college-age students use Facebook. “We found of our 379 Facebook fans, only 18% were 18 or younger, 64% were 25-44 and the remaining 18% were age 45-plus,” said Lyndee Bennett, marketing media project manager. Through Twitter and Facebook, University FCU had a welcome-back student promotion--the Twenty09 Challenge. Members created videos that showed ways to use $20.09. The contest became a viral hit, the credit union said. Callahan also surveyed credit union members about their use of social media. It found:
* Younger members, under age 29, spend the most time on social network sites; * Younger members want and expect interactive communication from social media sites; * Facebook is the most widely used social network site among credit union members; * Half of members surveyed said they would read a credit union’s Facebook page periodically; * Members’ awareness of credit unions’ Facebook pages ranged from 5% to 16%; * Members said they learn about Facebook pages through credit union websites; * Thirty-four percent of Twitter users surveyed said they follow companies with which they do business; and * Members using Twitter expect their credit union to provide information like fraud alerts (71%), special offers (60%), financial tips (58%) and rate specials (57%).
Callahan will offer a webinar on social media Dec. 10 titled, “Engaging Members through Social Media: Challenges and Opportunities.” The webinar will focus on implementing and enhancing social media initiatives, and the results of the social media survey. Senecal is scheduled to speak at the event.