Facebook Lures Consumers In and Brings Them Together

Social media demands to be heard by the business world. Credit unions heed the call of Facebook, and one in Kentucky has success.


Holly Stapleton and her colleagues wanted to engage their credit union’s members through social media. Fort Knox Federal Credit Union ($891.3M, Radcliff, KY) had a Facebook page, but it didn’t have many fans. So the marketing staff launched the Valentine’s Day Fan Drive. The idea wasn’t revolutionary, but the staff thought just maybe it would stir up some online excitement.

The contest exploded.

“The growth was immediate,” says Stapleton, assistant marketing manager at Fort Knox FCU. “We went from nothing to 4,500 [fans] in three weeks.”

The Fan Drive, like PSCU’s Tweet the Love Twitter contest, was straightforward. The contest started in late January and ran through early February. For every 100 fans its Facebook page earned, the credit union held a drawing for a $50 Visa gift card.

“People are changing how they communicate,” says Michael Bateman, Fort Knox FCU’s vice president of marketing, on why Fort Knox established a Facebook presence. Bateman, along with Stapleton and web and graphic designer Brian Tindle, teamed to integrate Facebook into Fort Knox’s communications arsenal.

The contest not only brought in more fans, it also spurred discussions about the credit union. Facebook allows users to comment on page posts, which can stimulate conversations, and fans began to interact on Fort Knox’s page. “The members started answering questions among themselves,” Stapleton says.

Fort Knox also recently launched a second contest in which it allowed outsiders to design content for the video signs it uses in its lobby. As part of the contest parameters, the content had to be related to the credit union, and the top prize was a Macintosh computer with video software. The contest increased the Facebook fan count by 1,500, another clear payoff.

Fundamentally, Facebook allows credit unions to reach people who might not hear about them otherwise.

“It’s not going to reach everybody,” Stapleton says. “But you have to have all of your bases covered.”

She’s absolutely right, and there is a right way to cover them. Fort Knox FCU does not use Facebook to promote its products or to advertise; rather, it provides information that is either useful or directly beneficial to members. Stapleton is keenly aware that if members come to a Facebook page and see ads, they won’t come back twice.

Fort Knox Credit Union has been able to effectively harness the potential of Facebook. Still, they’re not resting on their past successes. Stapleton and Bateman say they are watching for what the next Facebook will be, and they intend to be players whenever that platform or device hits.  

That’s the right attitude.