What does Generations Federal Credit Union ($504.3M, San Antonio, TX) have in common with JCPenney, Esurance, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Suave, and WWE? They are all finalists in PR Daily’s 2014 Social Media Awards. Generations is joined by Navy Federal and Notre Dame FCU in the Best Use of Twitter category.
CU QUICK FACTS
Generations community FCU
data as of 09.30.14
HQ: San Antonio, TX
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 18.69%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 7.45%
It's a great time to be a credit union. There's plenty to talk — and tweet — about. That's why in March 2011, Generations committed to creating its own media and hired a content manager to maintain its editorial calendar as well as its social media, blogs, and newsletter. The current content manager, a former journalist named Megan Dahle, also assists with ads and other communications tasks.
Dahle, who joined Generations in 2013, has worked as a web producer at a local news station where one of her primary responsibilities was running the station’s social media accounts. At Generations, she’s taken the credit union's strong social media brand and accelerated it.
"We approach content from a journalistic perspective,” says Wendy Bryant-Beswick, chief marketing officer at Generations. “So that background as a journalist is important.”
Generations’ social media audience has grown from 8,200 in 2013 to 21,000 today. It's Facebook reach has grown from 1,000 in 2012 to 8,100 currently. And in the past year, its Twitter followers has increased from 4,300 followers to 6,600. Additionally, blog readership increaed 45% from 2013 to 2014. In total, engagement across all channels is up 1,700% compared to last year, according to the credit union
“I’m a strong believer in not outsourcing content creation,” Bryant-Beswick says. “We couldn’t operate without having a dedicated content manager who understands our business, our audience, our members, and who can write content that’s relevant.”
Each month, Dahle holds an editorial meeting and plans the credit union’s content calendar. She writes blogs, but she also collects submissions from others. For example, recently Bryant-Beswick has been writing a lot about small businesses. Bryant-Beswick also reviews all content before it’s published, including tweets.
The credit union wants to be a financial resource for things like how to manage a credit card or what to know about a home equity loan. Its articles tackle topics such as "4 Resolutions to Make for Long-term Success" and "5 Tips to Tackling Holiday Debt". And in 2015, Generations plans to add lifestyle content to the mix.
“We want to be a place our members come when they want to read,” Bryant-Beswick says.
To help achieve that goal, Generations takes advantage of the paid advertising on social media platforms. Yes, it buys ads on Twitter and Facebook.
“Social has become a paid platform,” Bryant-Beswick says.
If you’re not using the paid side of these platforms, you’re not going to get above the noise, she adds.