When To Hire A Social Media Specialist

El Paso Employees Federal Credit Union found that investing in a new staff position to strengthen your social media outreach has several advantages.


El Paso Employees Federal Credit Union ($291M, El Paso, TX) wanted a stronger social media presence to better connect with members while supplementing its marketing campaign. After months of research, the credit union added a new position and has since found success from her efforts. Now, with the help of the social media strategist, El Paso plans to expand and improve its social media outreach.

Weighing An Investment

El Paso Employees FCU marketing executives hired Elisa Terrazas to the credit union’s member service division to develop and launch marketing through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a blog linked to its website. She started with creating brand-consistent materials and a social media calendar, which she says were two of the most crucial parts of planning.

Before going live, Terrazas created similar blue-splash patterned backgrounds for El Paso Employees FCU Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blog and then ensured El Paso Employees FCU’s logos were consistent, appropriately sized icons. She outlined topics for posting, tweeting, and blogging that promoted El Paso Employees FCU products or strategy. Her calendar held strict deadlines for content.

The careful preplanning enabled El Paso Employees FCU to launch its social media accounts on several platforms all at once, making it more impactful, she told creditunions.com in a phone interview. Members were very excited about the launch, mentioning content they had seen online during their visits to branches, Terrazas says.

Getting The Message Out

By launch time, Terrazas had already written several blogs – and had them approved by executives – and had several tweets, posts and videos ready to go. As El Paso Employees FCU’s social media has matured over the past year and a half, with Terraza often directly answering questions that come in through the social media outlets. Her once-strict schedule has become more flexible and she no longer needs approval for topics, which give her more time to develop plans for further improving El Paso Employees FCU’s social media focus.

Terrazas messages, which mirror the co-op’s broader marketing messages, seemed to be reaching El Paso Employees FCU’s audience. When she pushed out messages about the credit union’s new e-checking accounts, which can be opened online, a strong enrollment for the accounts followed – about 170 enrollments in all, she says.

Measuring Success

To justify the time and resources spent on social media and the new position, El Paso Employees FCU continuously measures each social media platform. The credit union looks at members’ reactions to its online presence, and considers whether those reactions were what Terrazas was aiming for. It monitors the number of comments, tags, Facebook “likes,” @replies on Twitter, and retweets.

“It’s easy to accumulate a ton of followers, but more important are the people recommending our site on their Facebook page or Twitter feed,” says Terrazas.

Right now Terrazas is the only person contributing to the El Paso Employees FCU’s social media platforms – which is exactly what she was hired to do. But the credit union’s new goal is to get more people involved and more community voices heard. So El Paso Employees FCU is considering enlisting community ambassadors to conduct interviews and create videos to post, ramping up its Internet outreach even more.