The Credit Union Social Media Disconnect

Do I really care about the latest marketing campaign that XYZ Credit Union is doing? “Have you seen the video on YouTube by GenY Star? It would make the perfect national marketing campaign,” bleets many of the social media sheep in the credit union industry.

Do you know why most credit union CEO’s don’t blog and aren’t on Twitter? Because nothing important happens in the credit union blogosphere. Yeah, we all get to network, see what each other are doing, and maybe catch a pearl of wisdom here and there. But the bottom line is the important stuff, the game changing stuff, is never really talked about online. Changes to the member business lending cap. That’s a game changer. A partnership developed between FSCC, CUSC, PSCU, Fidelity, etc that enables all credit unions to become shared branches automatically. That’s a game changer.

I’ll bet we could fill an airplane with all the people in the credit union social media space. Literally. What would happen if that plane went down? Nothing. That’s right, nothing.  Now imagine filling that plane with the CEO’s of the credit union leagues, trade associations, CUSO’s, and credit unions. We would have a catastrophe. Innovation would be ground to a halt. The real partnerships and collaborations that were happening, albeit on a small scale, would cease.

Tim McAlpine recent wrote on the CUES blog about using social media to advanced your career. And he is 100% right. Social media can help to get your name out there. But we in the social media blogosphere need a greater goal than getting 500 twitter followers or blog subscribers. Trey Reeme and I recently had a conversation about this issue of social media being disconnected from the important things in the industry. Daily life at a credit union isn’t glamorous and fun. It is trying to find a way to help a teller do a process 1 minute faster. It is about finding a better checking product to match up with the maturity of your credit card portfolio. It is about patterning with neighborhood credit unions to form a multi-owned business CUSO to get around an individual credit union’s business lending cap because a.) business loans are profitable and b.) members need them.

If a flood was coming to the credit union industry, would you be invited onto Noah’s Ark to weather the storm? Right now, I wouldn’t be. And I’m not going to stop fighting for the credit union industry until I am.

Join the Conversation (Book Review)

It took me a while to finally get around to it, but on my vacation this summer I had the opportunity to read Joseph Jaffe’s Join the Conversation.

For those of us already embedded into social media at our various organizations, much of the content of the book will be a review for you.  But Join the Conversation is a great tool for those folks in your credit union who are new to social media and need a little helping hand in why it is so important to get involved.

In Chapter 12, Jaffe lists 33 ways to get involved in the conversation and this is precisely what more credit unions need to do.  Things such as Google Alerts, Digg, tracking product names, company website linking, key brand phrases, etc.  Jeffry Pilcher just wrote about an Ohio bank who learned what this could cost you the hard way.  It is incredibly important for credit unions to be aware of the tools and options they have for tracking their brand image.  Much like the newspaper clippings services from the days of yore, tracking your brand, and the conversation around it, is a must.

If you have some hesitant execs kicking around your CU, make sure they read this book.  It’ll help them understand why you feel so passionately about this social media stuff.

Credit Unions and Amazon.com

Shopping around on Amazon the other day and decided to search for credit union.  And the results were pretty, um, not interesting.  Most look like text books and seem to be fairly dated.  What does this say about credit unions?  Search for social media and you’ll get a bunch of up-to-date, hip stuff.  Does someone need to write a cool credit union book?  Are we just in a old industry and is that what we should expect?