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The State of Social Media in Credit Unions: Opportunities and Challenges

The application of social media programs continues to evolve at credit unions. To examine the use of social media, the authors surveyed 187 credit unions on the use and success of social media endeavors.

Executive Summary

Credit unions today face an evolving array of challenges, including the volatility of the corporate credit union system, adapting to the Reg Z changes, political uncertainty, and the dawning realization that historical expense ratios have been unsustainably high. The changes and uncertainty in today’s environment leave many credit unions with the challenge of doing more with less in marketing and member services. 

The increased popularity of online social networks and a widespread desire by credit unions to attract and retain a younger membership make social media sound like a panacea. And credit unions’ social media presence is clearly expanding, but useful studies on credit union social media use have been few. A recent article in The Credit Union Times states that credit union usage of Facebook and Twitter, in particular, is expanding rapidly, but that credit unions are “still barely scratching the surface of what can be done with social media.”

What is the research about?

The State of Social Media in Credit Unions: Opportunities and Challenges is the front end of a yearlong longitudinal study. The research, conducted for Filene by Crescendo Consulting Group, LLC, examines the extent of social media usage among credit unions, highlights characteristics of credit unions currently using social media, and examines practices that drive social media success. This report provides information from the baseline survey, conducted in the fall of 2010, including a summary of the findings and, more important, their management implications. In short, what should social media mean for your credit union.

What are the credit union implications?

The credit unions that report feeling the most success with their social media campaigns have, without exception, put in the most work. There is a clear correlation between feeling a social media program is successful and dedicating time, resources, and attention to it. Credit unions either considering or currently using social media will find in this report an extensive summary of the current state, a bellwether for their own efforts, and a source of direction for improvement.