Use Social Media To Listen

Credit unions should take a deeper dive into social media to really hear what their members need.


Credit unions have been jumping on the social media bandwagon to rejuvenate their marketing, but they may be neglecting its greatest value: two-way dialogue.

Before social media and our modern web-culture, marketing was a one-way street from businesses to consumers. Businesses fed customers messages but they couldn’t receive feedback in return. The model kept businesses from understanding their customers’ true wants and needs, and tailoring their products and services accordingly.

No more. Social media has led to this era of business-and-consumer dialogue creating an exchange of ideas and allowing businesses to better understand their consumers. You can engage FourSquare users who check-in at your branch, you can respond to Yelp reviewers or keep Facebook chats lively. Whatever the way you use social media, it’s time to start using social media to listen.

Getting started is easy. Credit unions can encourage customers to participate and to speak openly and honestly with an incentive. And the incentives don’t need to be money or discounts. They can just as simple as giving customers the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Better Customer Service. Combining social media with traditional customer services methods gives the consumer 24/7 access to assistance, providing them with a better overall product experience and providing the credit union with feedback. For instance, invite your Twitter followers to message you with a concern and message them right back to answer their problem. You can listen to feedback through these channels and correct common problems.

Better Product and Service Offering. However great your product or service, your members likely have some suggestions for making it better. Engage them about their ideas – post a Facebook question or Tweet a survey link – and use these suggestions to your advantage. Is there an overwhelming amount of support for one new product update? Are a majority of members in agreement that a service should be altered? Listen to the feedback your consumers are giving you. Even if you can’t make the change right away, respond to let members know that you hear and value their opinions. Your members will feel they are understood and appreciated.

The key to maximizing your credit union’s social media presence is to embrace the potential for customer feedback. Ask for it, encourage it, listen to it and respond to it.

Follow Callahan & Associates as we embark on our own two-way path toward more customer engagement with the launch of our new Twitter account. It's all about the dialogue, so follow @CallahanAssoc and let’s start the conversation!


Aug. 31, 2011


  • Another way of saying this is that many financial institutions take the "social" out of social media. They use it like the old school "newsletter" that is simply a disguise for the latest promotion. In that case its just "media."

    Consumers on social media, especially Twitter, want to be engaged - they want to participate in a conversation.

    Here's an example...locally a credit union member discovered their credit union was on Twitter. They tweeted "just found out my credit union (@XXXXXCU) is on Twitter!" Two weeks later the credit union responded.

    If you're going to take the "social" out of social media, then your should just stop and focus your efforts elsewhere.
    Scott Bell
  • Research conducted by The Financial Brand revealed that a credit union will find 1 mention on social media sites per month for every $100 million in assets it has.

    Here's a great social media strategy, written back in 1937:
    Jeffry Pilcher | The Finanical Brand
  • I love the ideas presented on how to use social media. Thank you. Now if you could just convince management to hire a full-time employee to manage our social media we'd be in business!
  • Very informative Liz. Very sharp!
    Barbara Gleason