Networking on Twitter between credit union professionals and advocates from industry-supporting businesses is increasing. The line that divides these two factions is blurring. Labels of “vendor” or “sales lead” are often forgotten and replaced with the word “ally.” In my opinion, Twitter is doing more to bring the credit union movement together than any one conference, meeting or webinar ever could. The cooperative spirit that binds us together is strong and clearly evident.
Twitter resonates the most on days when the credit union community acts in concert. When a flood of voices blend together to call attention to a topic and their influence is felt outside the social network. For example, a recent Credit Union Times op-ed critical of social media usage at credit unions triggered a tweet-storm to be remembered. I consider the smattering of comments below the article to be a monument to the power of social networking.
Innovation always carries a degree of danger along with the hope of rewards. Information Technology experts should not undermine innovation and dissuade a movement from going where it wants to go. They should work to keep us safe while going there. Three other authors, Chris Tissue, my coworker at Callahan & Associates, Matt Davis, the CUWarrior who was featured in my first Credit Union Twitter Twenty, and Ryan Shell of Truliant Federal Credit Union, spell out the positives of social media in Face Up to Facebook, Analysis Shows Worth of Social Media and Reap the Benefits of Social Media.
Addison Avenue Creates Dimension with Social Media
Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union’s commitment to innovative technology and attitude toward social media is a good example for credit unions. They approach the Addison Avenue Twitter account and other social media channels with a patient mind. There is no rush for an immediate return on their investment. “We just planted seeds and are waiting for them to grow before harvesting,” says Stu Fisher, Senior Vice President of eCommerce. “Our website was flat, 2-D, so we’re adding more dimension with social media. We use it to establish meaningful content and deepen relationships with our members.”
The discussion groups section of their website features fresh, daily content that is relevant to member’s needs. Important conversations frequently occur there, and members control what topic is front and center. Fisher views the forum as a place for “sharing ideas without parameters, positive or negative, where our credit union employees can give honest, authentic responses.” He believes the online member groups highlight the integrity of the credit union.
Addison Avenue recently sought to expand upon the goodwill generated by its social media initiative with a Tweet-up event. The motive was to transition from virtual, online networking to real-world, face-to-face discussion. The event expressed appreciation for Addison Avenue’s members and local community by partnering with its favorite neighborhood café, Philz Coffee, and by giving away free cups of coffee to participants and passer-bys. Conversation flourished over cups of delicious coffee, and the latest Bank Intervention videos played in the background. Unprompted, attendees began sharing personal financial experiences and loving stories about credit unions. Stu says, “They would tell stories about how the banks have wronged them,” Fisher says. “It contrasted dramatically with their stories about credit unions.”
Continue to Page 2 of the Credit Union Twitter Twenty