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23 posts categorized "Weblogs"

March 14, 2013

Google's Killing Its RSS Reader. How Will Your Readership Survive?

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Arrested-development

There are times when the leader of a business knows he or she has to kill off a product. In some cases, this is celebrated. In others, it's met with many loud groans and much sadness.

Google Reader is a perfect example of the latter. Widely used, widely adored, free to all - but on July 1, it gets the proverbial knock on the head from Google. This simple, lovable web service is going to that big farm upstate to chase rabbits. Yeah, that's it. Rabbits.

Hopefully, this won't affect the "CU Blogosphere" too much. Heaven knows there are plenty of places to get your fill, including CU Insight, the CU Watercooler, various Twitter feeds, Facebook feeds...the list goes on, but you get the point. Just because Google Reader dies, that doesn't mean the stories stop coming.

But for those RSS-heavies, it's going to be a rough few months. Where will they go for their stories, their thought pieces, their news?

Humbly, I submit a few suggestions.

  1. Outlook Users, Rejoice! - I'm forever in Outlook (Neil Diamond, where are you? I've got a song for you and you don't even need a new melody!), so the Reader news doesn't bother me that much - I had one of my Nerds-in-Residence set up my RSS feeds in my Outlook. It's a simple, painless process and it means you can use Outlook for more that just email churn and booking meetings. Here's the Outlook team on how to set it up for yourself.
  2. Mac Users, Hit the App Store - The Mac App store has a few dozen RSS-app options, a few of them free, the rest only a small amount. One thing I did notice - many apps are "Google Reader Apps", meaning they integrated with Google Reader. Wonder if their developers will try and adapt or simply close up shop.

    One highly recommended app, Fever, is $30 (yikes!) and its developer has stated, publicly, he really doesn't have the time to work on it. Plus, you self-host the service. A big turn-off for the non-technical.

    So what are our lonely Mac Lovers going to do? I turned to my go-to on things like this, Jimmy Marks, and - after several minutes of teasing him (he's a big-time Google Reader Believer) - asked what he planned on doing.

    "Feedly's probably the way to go. It's not as cut-and-dry as Reader is, but it focuses on the newest content and lets you navigate around on your terms. I don't use Mac's Mail app, or I'd do what you did and add the RSS feeds there. Now stop throwing paperclips at me, I'm in a bad enough mood as it is!"

    (Editor's Note -- I wasn't throwing paperclips at him. That you know of.) 

  3. See If Your Favorite Blogs Have Social Feeds/"Updates by Mail" Options - Many blogs have their RSS items go directly to their Twitter or Facebook feed. Others still use direct-to-inbox delivery to get the message out when it's time. The CU Soapbox's posts go to a mail audience in the hundreds, many of whom prefer to read their feed from the comfort of their email inbox. Giving people different points of entry doesn't do anything to the results - if they're reading and engaged, you're doing your job.
  4. Google's Cleaning Up, Why Don't You? - If you're anything like me, you've gathered quite a few blogs over the years. Many of them stop posting and you just sort of forget about them. Go ahead and delete those feeds. This frees you from the struggle of bothering with too many blogs and sets you up to find something new and exciting out there in the blogging world.

There are plenty of people who want to petition Google to save Reader. They're probably the same kind of folks who are waiting on that Arrested Development movie. Want my take? Let's give Reader a good send-off and then move on to bigger and better. There are always better apps out there, and if there aren't, it's our duty as lovers of technology to create them. Necessity is the mother of invention.

As far as how this applies to credit unions' blogs...you went to all that trouble to create a blog or a news feed or an events feed. Will people still follow it when Reader bites the dust? Better be sure they do. Find new ways to get the same content to the same people without the crutch of Google Reader and you're good to go.

September 06, 2012

The Crystal Ball: Will Fewer Credit Unions and More Technology Make a Better Industry?

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by Ron Daly 

If you don't spend a few coffee breaks each week reading The Financial Brand, you're doing yourself a disservice. Jeffry Pilcher, One-Man-Journalistic-Juggernaut, does a great job breaking down the industry from either side - banks, credit unions, and beyond. Best of all, there's really something for everybody. Finance folks? Check. Marketers? Check. Fortune tellers? 

...wait, fortune tellers

Jeffry Pilcher has spent this past week showing us a glimpse of the future...and it might be a little scary for some. 

One article that's turned a lot of heads is "Credit Union Industry Outlook: 5 Years Back, 20 Years Forward". In it, Pilcher predicts that, at the current rate of retraction/"asset shift", half of all credit unions around today will be gone by 2032. The smaller credit unions are dying, hemorrhaging members and losing assets year after year. The larger credit unions keep growing, grabbing up new members and more assets and swallowing smaller credit unions. The bright side? Credit unions will continue to add members AND assets, growing into a stronger, if much smaller, force. Branch growth is slowing for the big guys, and is actually negative for smaller credit unions. 

Now, anyone can tell you the future is tricky to pin down, especially on only five years of evidence. But the reasoning behind Pilcher's prediction is strong and it's not impossible to imagine the industry going this way. Not disappearing, mind you - this isn't any indication that credit unions are dying/are dead. But things aren't looking great for "the little guy". 

I'm not a biologist, but I'm reminded of one of the important parts of evolutionary theory - "only the strong survive". It stands to reason that credit unions with billions in assets will be well set for the next two decades, but what of those with "just enough"? How will credit unions with only a few hundred million (or much less) keep their edge? 

Pilcher's second hum-dinger article of the week, "Killer Online Services Can Level The Playing Field For Smaller Institutions", talks about the relationships people have with smaller institutions versus the "big banks". The trade-off used to be convenience for high-quality service. The game changer, according to this article, is great online banking. The study mentioned in the article shows that online banking penetration for the CUs studied is 73% and that 85%  members surveyed rate their OLB experience as "excellent". 

Recall the first article mentioned in this post. If branches aren't practical to build and members are willing to do most of their banking online, shouldn't you have a virtual branch that really screams? Yes, yes you should. I've been saying as much for years.  

It's nice to hear someone else singing the same tune. Tim Bunch of CapEd FCU wrote a great guest piece on the Financial Brand about turning your online branch (mobile, browser, et. al) into your flagship branch. It's a brilliant article, written by a person who knows what they're talking about in the realm of online development because, hey, he's doing it first hand. His take:

Sadly, online banking doesn’t get the same internal treatment as a physical branch. It’s often something that we like to “set and forget”. It tends to be viewed as an inanimate object. We think of it like a hammer. When our members want to use this hammer, they pick it up and hammer away. But in reality, online banking has so much more potential. We need to stop thinking of it as a tool, and start thinking of it as a branch. Then, add the tools needed to make it an effective branch.

Some of the things Bunch thinks are critical in making the best online branch possible:

  • Pre-filled loan applications
  • Targeted marketing
  • Easy account management/PFM

If I can add a few of my own?

  • Switch kits that actually handle all the action of switching 
  • Single sign-on to other services
  • Wealth management tools/secure document storage and management

The crystal ball always shows a murky picture. It might be that more credit unions survive than predicted, it might be fewer. But what will all the survivors have in common? I'm betting they'll all have a strong focus on mobile and online convenience, a few helpful branches and a commitment to helping their members for the long run. 

Got an insight? Leave it for us in the comment section. 

August 22, 2012

GUEST POST: The "Overly Attached Girlfriend" Approach to Follow-Up

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by Jimmy Marks

872

[Ron Daly is on vacation, so Jimmy is here to share his thoughts on the aggressive, obsessive, invasive method of post-sale satisfaction some people think of as "follow-up".]

I don't normally go in for memes. Some of them are funny, but usually, they get all the "juice" squeezed out of them a few days after they first appear. I don't think I need one more "Call Me Maybe" parody, ever. Matter of fact, I don't think I want to hear "Call Me Maybe" anymore, full stop. 

But "Overly Attached Girlfriend" was really funny. This creepy, bug-eyed caricature of an obsessed stalker (A young lady named Laina Walker who did this as a joke) took over the Internet for a few weeks and gave birth to a few "splinter-memes" and follow-ups. 

We've all met people like this...people who can't let go. They're the people who obsess over their relationships and go a tad bit crazy. It's not just "girlfriends" that do this - boyfriends can be just as guilty, as can best friends or even casual acquaintances. 

Or, in some cases, marketers.

Too often, marketers will create "follow-up" campaigns with no end-date in sight. You go to get your oil changed and the service center calls the next day to make sure everything went well. Thoughtful, right? But then, they send an email. Then, they send a message from the manager. Then, they send you pictures of the inside of your kitchen. What?! How'd they get in there?

Okay, so maybe it's not that bad. But it is annoying to be unrelentingly thanked by a company and begged for more business. Even worse, getting an email that says "Where have you been? We've missed you." It's just plain creepy. Why should my dry-cleaner care what I'm doing? 

I'm not the only one that thinks so. Take this article from Target Marketing titled "Famous Last Words: 'Stop Touching Me!'":

I don't know when various follow-ups came into the picture—the tracking number and the shipping advice from UPS. But I don't mind these "touches" from a supplier. When I order special dog food from PetFoodDirect.com for my 15-year-old Auggie or hulled sunflower seeds for my winter bird feeder from ebirdseed.com, I am comforted to know that my little four-legged and feathered friends will definitely be seen to in a timely manner.

These purveyors want me to know that they really, really care, and I appreciate that...

But...

What you do not want is for your customers and prospects to be so fed up with your intrusions that they...tell their friends what a pain in the *** you are and put you into their spam filters.

So, how do you know when you've "cared enough"? I think this article hits it right on the head - only contact people when you have something interesting or pertinent to say. "Just saying hi" is something your great aunt does when she calls you on the phone. Don't disappear from the consumer's field of vision, but as in all things, know your audience and have something relevant and useful to offer. Make every contact with a purpose in mind and always, always, always, make it meaningful for the member. 

Onboarding campaigns have helped many of DigitalMailer's clients. It's a simple, smart way to get people involved with the credit union, a "crash course" in the basics of the new member's relationship. But an onboarding campaign doesn't go on for more than a few emails in the span of a few weeks. After that, contacts should be occasional, and with purpose. 

Now, you're going to deal with a few people that don't want any email at all and a few that want an email every day. There are ways to meet both of those needs. If you do your job correctly, you'll only be sending people things that are relevant, useful, and welcome. 

Don't be the "Overly Attached Marketer" - let the member breathe. Use those points of contact wisely and don't overdo it. 

July 10, 2012

They'd Like to Leave, You'd Like to Have Them…Technology's the Bridge

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by Ron Daly

When we started this blog, we wanted to call it "CU Soapbox" because it was meant to be a place to stand up and shout about the industry. I've been doing a little "shouting" recently and I thought I'd make it a point to do the same on this blog, because hey, this is the right place, isn't it? 

I've done a little reading about a recent Javelin study about big-bank customers and why they want to make the switch to another FI...but don't. The Financial Brand does a great job of making all this digestible and points out one very important piece of information: 40% of surveyed consumers WON'T LEAVE their big bank because of that bank's online/mobile banking service. Do they want to leave? Yes, of course they do. Who wouldn't? Getting beaten by fees and losing a ton of money that you could hang on to would make anyone want to leave...what keeps them hanging on is the illusion of convenience. 

I say "illusion" because the kind of technology that would bend the bow in credit unions' favor is out there, and it can be had. We could be courting these on-the-fence big bank customers and their billions in collected assets. Why aren't we? 

I believe there are two problems:

  1. We're not promoting the technology/convenience we have and already offer, and
  2. We're not positioning ourselves to bring in the technology that levels the playing field. 

 I wrote two articles recently that sum up my thoughts on the topic. Go read: 

Then, start asking yourself the four major questions that need to be answered, and fast:

Question 1: "Are our current members utilizing the online services we offer, and if not, why?"

The best and easiest research to conduct for yourself is on your own member base. If you have 10,000 members and only 1,000 are using online banking, what could be done to get more people to sign up and start using it? Maybe they already did and it was such an excruciating experience that they swore off of it (I can't imagine that happening, but who knows?). What can you do to make it right?

Question 2: "Is our website (or OLB/mobile app/email newsletter/social media feed) everything it should be?"

Websites need updates and overhauls. It comes with the territory. Marketing hates to hear that they have to write new copy and make new graphics and IT hates the hassle of creating and implementing sweeping changes. I have two words for both: tough toenails. If the site needs a face lift, give it one. If it needs a total reboot, give it one. Make it easy for interested outsiders (and undereducated insiders) to get all the information they need.

Question 3: "What next-generation technology would best suit our members?"

Audience is everything. If you serve a member base that's always on the move (military, air travel industry, etc.), why not include remote deposit capture and a smartphone app? If you serve a large area that's tough to reach on foot, more drive-thru ATMs make sense, don't they? Don't just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks...make an informed decision for the member.

Question 4: "Who's in charge?"

So often, technological advances and purcahses are made without clear goals in mind, or anyone to enforce them. Set expectations and meet them. It's not difficult and it means there's a person driving these endeavors from the inside. 

Final Thought

Did you ever hear the riddle about the frog in the well? 

A frog falls into a well, 20 feet deep. Every morning, he wakes up and hops three feet up the side of the well. Every evening, he falls asleep and slides back two feet. How many days does it take him to get out of the well? 

The answer: Considering he jumps three feet every day and falls two feet each night, it would take him eighteen days to get within three feet of the top. Then, on the nineteenth day, he'd jump three feet and clear the well. So simple it's complicated, right? 

Let's put a CU-spin on this. If a credit union gains ten members a month and loses nine by the end of the month, how long will it take that credit union to compete with Bank of America in terms of sheer numbers? 

The answer: You can't compete with BofA on locations. You can't compete on "number of members vs. number of customers". Their product offering is too abundant, their reach is too wide and too far. Where you can compete is on an emotional level -making a lasting impact on your member. You can also compete on member service. You can also compete on rates. You can even compete on technology...provided you're willing to make it happen. 

Start jumping.

May 24, 2012

GUEST POST: Mark Arnold on Becoming Your Members' PFI

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Mark Arnold, CCUE, is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner. Mark speaks regularly to audiences around the country on branding, marketing, strategy, leadership, personal growth and generational issues.  With over 20 years experience in the financial services industry, Mark’s breadth of knowledge covers areas such as marketing, business development, human resources, training, and sales. You can follow him on Twitter [@jmarkarnold] or via his blog at blog.markarnold.org

_______

 

BEYOND A SAVINGS ACCOUNT: BECOMING YOUR MEMBERS PFI

“Credit unions must see themselves as relationship managers. As relationship managers, credit unions better position themselves to become members’ primary financial institution.”

—CUNA E-Scan 

While there is a big rush today to get more new members, one marketing strategy your credit union may want to focus on is getting more from your existing members. Most marketing experts estimate it is eight to ten times easier to expand a relationship with a current member than it is to acquire a new member. Just think about it: what would happen if every one of your members just added an additional product or service per household? Odds are, your net income would skyrocket.

Credit unions must get their members to go beyond just having a savings account and strive to become their members’ primary financial institution. “Financial institutions that make retention one of their top three priorities often enjoy deeper relationships, steadier growth and clearer focus on the core business,” says CUNA’s E-Scan.

According to CUNA, here are the odds of your credit union losing a member based on product usage:

  • 2 to 1 of losing a member if they only have a saving account
  • 10 to 1 of losing a member if they have savings account and a checking account
  • 20 to 1 of losing a member if they have savings account, a checking account and a loan
  • 100 to 1 of losing a member if they have savings account a checking account a loan and any fourth product

Product penetration and member retention are directly linked together.

Two steps your  credit union can take to going beyond just having your members’ savings account are:

1)      Offer relationship pricing

2)      Get sticky products in their hands

Continue reading "GUEST POST: Mark Arnold on Becoming Your Members' PFI" »

April 05, 2012

The Worst Part of "Data"

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by Ron Daly 

The era of social media has changed many aspects of our daily lives. We don't wait for news to happen, it happens and we're sent our own little headline to read and link to click. We don't wait for emails from family, they broadcast what they've been doing and we just observe as an audience. You don't have to work that hard to be a stalker...heck, all the hard work's done for you.

I read this article on Cult of Mac about an app called "Girls Around Me", at one time available on the App Store (now removed), that could show anyone using the app where girls (or guys) were in their area on a Google Map. Not only could you see images of the "girls" in your area, you could see their personal details. You could even track their movements.

I was disgusted...certainly, as a father, but even as a human being. These girls were being tagged - if you wanted to, you could walk up behind one and call her by name. 

Is this what we want? 

Troubling thing is, these girls didn't seem to know they were doing anything "wrong"...they were just checking into locations and updating their Facebook profiles. 

Read this section of the article, where the author was asked by a friend how this app could be sold on the App Store. 

...I replied that as sleazy as this app seemed, Girls Around Me wasn’t actually doing anything wrong. Sure, on the surface, it looks like a hook-up app like Grindr for potential stalkers and date rapists, but all that Girls Around Me is really doing is using public APIs from Google Maps, Facebook and Foursquare and mashing them all up together, so you could see who had checked-in at locations in your area, and learn more about them. Moreover, the girls (and men!) shown in Girls Around Me all had the power to opt out of this information being visible to strangers, but whether out of ignorance, apathy or laziness, they had all neglected to do so. This was all public information. Nothing Girls Around Me does violates any of Apple’s policies.

You see, it's all just data. Yes, it's personal. Yes, it's revealing. Yes, in the wrong hands, at the wrong moment, it could be dangerous, even deadly. But on the most basic level, it's just data. Facts and statements, numbers and figures. Separately,  they don't seem like much:

"I went to the laundromat today."

"I just became the mayor of the Fro-Yo place."

"I dumped Josh, so I'm single again." 

Put them all together, you get a pattern. Look at a pattern long enough, you begin to see ways to exploit it. 

A few weeks back, we brought up the story of a teenager whose parents figured out she was pregnant after she got baby coupons from Target. Our solution? A little more humanity in an automated process. But all of this data comes from behavior. The girl with the coupons? She bought a certain set of products Target had flagged as products purchased by pregnant women. The girls on "Girls Around Me"? They were posting updates and "checking in" to locations. They were all behaving a certain way and leaving an easy-to-follow pattern. What's the solution? Make people behave differently? Or, more simply, teach people how to self-select their level of privacy?

The same website (Cult of Mac, which for Mac-minded people is a very good read week-to-week) came up with a guide to stopping this kind of data output on your Facebook and Foursquare accounts. Give it a look...it could be very helpful. 

 

September 27, 2011

Not Measuring Results -- Some Jaw-Dropping Insights into Credit Union Social Media

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by Ron Daly 

Recently, to gauge our clients' level of interest in our new social media "getting started (or not)" course, we decided to send out a survey and see where our clients were (or weren't) with social media. 

The course that Jimmy Marks, our Creative Media Director, spent the summer building focuses on: 

  1. Deciding whether or not to get into social media and the information you'll need to gather first
  2. What it takes to make good content
  3. Getting fans and followers that match your goals
  4. Safeguarding yourself against compliance and security issues
  5. Monitoring your results

...and we wanted to see how useful that advice would be to current clients who were interested in social networking. 

We sent out a simple survey. The results we got back were shocking. 

First, some table setting:

Average size of credit union surveyed: ~400 million

Average year-over-year share growth: 5.04%

Average number of members: 35,216

Now, the numbers worth noting:

  • 63% of CUs surveyed are involved with and using social media in some form. 
  • 54% of those are using Facebook, the winner by far. Second place was a tie between YouTube and LinkedIn
  • Of the CUs that said they are using social media, 51% had been using social media for less than two years.

Interesting thusfar, but here's the number that made my jaw hit the floor: 

  • Of the CUs surveyed, 76% DO NOT MEASURE THEIR SUCCESS OR THE RESULTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA AT THEIR CREDIT UNION. 

What??? 76%??? It's true, according to our results. 

Now, I'm not one to just hear numbers and completely ignore how they got there. As I looked at a later question, where we asked respondants what information they would want to hear in a social media workshop, many people said they needed measurements and better metrics. As a result, part of me wonders how much the lack of measurement has to do with not understanding what these CUs are measuring or how to measure it.

Some of the results were actually very helpful - many CUs are measuring their results in feedback and next-steps in the marketing/sales funnel, not just numbers of "likes" or followers. I worry, though, that much of the problem with social media is how people think it's a solution to something. If you don't have a clear message and a clear understanding of how people make buying and borrowing decisions, what difference could YouTube or Twitter possibly make? 

At DigitalMailer, we have lots of followers and friends and likes and so-on and so-on and so-on. But make no mistake, we don't call any of those "leads". Not until we've been contacted by that person via email or phone. It's great to promote the brand and talk about what you're up to, but that's not where our scope is focused. Twitter and Facebook help us keep in touch with partners, clients and some very interesting people - but pleasing clients and making products and services that save people money is the thing that keeps the lights on. 

In our workshop, we've got a lot of helpful information and some good actionable steps. More importantly, we encourage the kind of forethought it takes to talk yourself (or your superiors) OUT of doing social media if it's NOT the right way to spend your time, money, or creative energies. 

The workshop is $500 and includes a 90-minute presentation and a downloadable workbook. To sign up for our next session, click here

June 24, 2011

"Duh of the Week" Award: Bad communication can be bad for your health

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by Ron Daly 

That's right, we know you've been itching for its return...it's the DUH OF THE WEEK AWARD!

Cigarette makers learned recently that, starting September 2012, they would have to put pictures of the "effects of smoking" on cigarettes and tobacco products. These pictures are, to say the least, nasty looking. The point being that if the little black-and-white lettered warnings on cigarettes aren't enough to get you to quit, a picture of a stoma should do it. Maybe the legal forms attached to a loan should come with these as well...

This week's award goes to Ally. Read this story from the CU Collector website

Earlier this year, Linwood [Costin, the borrower] called Ally, formerly known as GMAC, to request skipping, or extending his truck payment for March. According to Teresa [Costin's Daughter] “He said when he called they told them they don’t usually skip a payment; they skip two,”, “He said, ‘That’s fine,’ and he sent the amount they told him to for interest.”...

...Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Linwood, Ally had already assigned his truck for repossession.

Teresa claims “He got very upset and asked what he needed to do to fix things,”

“The guy told him he needed to go to the closest Western Union and wire them $567.”

Reportedly, Linwood got off the phone and went to a Western Union office and wired the money due. Costins has receipts showing the made payments.

Teresa reports “He finished his shopping for that day, went home, and they came and took his vehicle anyways and has refused to return it,”

So upset was the gentleman from the story that he had a heart attack and was rushed to a nearby hospital. According to the article, doctors say the heart attack was probably due to stress, as Mr. Costin had no arterial blockage.

We've already heard of Bank of America seizing the wrong houses, but to date hadn't heard of anyone having a heart attack because of it. With so much business to tend to in collections and lending, it's not all that hard to imagine that mistakes like this happen...but please, please, PLEASE make sure you get the right person the first time, and if there's an issue, make sure you make up for it. 

To Ally's credit, they did return the truck with a full tank of gas and waived the next month's payment for Mr. Costin. We hope that Mr. Costin has a speedy and full recovery and that the folks at Ally fix up  their legal language to include a warning label of their own: 

Screen shot 2011-06-24 at 10.30.25 AM

 

May 12, 2011

Your Word-of-Mouth Litmus Test: Do You Make the Cut?

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by Ron Daly 

Kelley Parks is what they had in mind when they came up with the idea of a "go-getter". Shortly after leaving Call FCU, she founded her own consultancy called gira{ph} (the pronunciation of which I've been corrected on multiple times - it's just "giraffe", like the animal, it's not a trick or anything). She's written some great articles and made some waves by talking about what, exactly, makes an initiative stand out for a credit union. Recently, in an issue of the CU Journal, she shared what she calls her "litmus test" for word-of-mouth. According to Kelley - 

  1. Is it engaging?
  2. Is it true?
  3. Is it relevant?
  4. Is it fresh?
  5. Is it memorable?

are the five questions you need to ask . If the program/plan you want to implement meets these criteria, you can bet they'll get people talking. 

Some great initiatives I've seen in recent years that meet these criteria: 

Shell Federal's iLife

Shell Federal in Deer Park, TX has a program to get people involved with the credit union. One of the programs they took on was Cell Phones for Soldiers, which provides cellular services for soldiers overseas. They collected a lot of prepaid cells and minute cards so soldiers could call home and they've engaged members in a way that's fun, relevant and lasting. 

Belvoir FCU Scavenger Hunt

Belvoir FCU in Woodbridge, VA teamed up with CodeGreen to create a web-based scavenger hunt. Members went to the site to browse through the pages and find the "slices of life" pie pieces - which increased viewership and time-on-site for Belvoir and far exceeded their marketing goals. I think this worked so well because A) everyone loves games and prizes, but more importantly because B) it makes the Internet feel like it used to - a fun place to browse around and discover. 

NARFE Premier's Onboarding Program

NARFE Premier FCU in Alexandria, VA started an on-boarding program that increased deposits by 24% and increased loans by 190%. More importantly, it cut their costs by 50% by year end. Why? Because the promotion highlighted all the points of Kelley's litmus test: 

  1. Engaging members that just came to the credit union
  2. True content, current rates, the values of the credit union on show
  3. Relevant to members because NARFE serves a niche community (retired federal employees and their families) and the content reflected their needs and concerns
  4. Fresh look (they'd recently rebranded after a merge) and fresh content (rate changes reflected month-to-month)
  5. Memorable because an on-boarding series sends an email every few days/each week/twice a  month to members to keep you top-of-mind on services. 

Do your plans and products cut the mustard? Ask yourself why or why not and then take Kelley's advice. 

March 11, 2011

Guess I'm Socially Inadequate...

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by Ron Daly 

I got my update from DC's "City Biz List" today (go here - good stuff!) about the most socially networked city in the nation. And guess what? It's us! Or...it's kind of us. 

Washington, DC is the nation's most socially networked city. I count the surrounds as well, because I'm sure whomever did this is. 

What gives? Well the study was conducted by Men's Health. They said: 

We started by calculating the number of Facebook and LinkedIn users per capita, followed by overall Twitter usage (NetProspex). Then we looked at traffic generated by the major social networks, including Myspace, Friendster, Reddit, and Digg (analyzed by ad network Chitika). Finally, after factoring in the percentage of households that check out chat rooms and blogs (SimplyMap), we had the results you see below. Go ahead, tell a friend.

Most socially networked

1 Washington, DC     A+
2 Atlanta, GA     A+
3 Denver, CO     A+
4 Minneapolis, MN     A+
5 Seattle, WA     A+
6 San Francisco, CA     A
7 Orlando, FL     A
8 Austin, TX     A
9 Boston, MA     A
10 Salt Lake City, UT     A-

Wow...some of those are astounding. Salt Lake City? Denver? Even DC is a little surprising to me. 

See, I have a few social media "toes" in the "water". I'll twitter every so often (@digitalmailer), I have my LinkedIn account (over here)...

But that's really all there is. I don't Foursquare, I don't Facebook, I don't flickr, I don't tumblr...If it's a weird, misspelled word, I don't do it. 

Something else that surprised me, how low down on the list Charlotte, NC was ( Number 21, so not bad, but still not top ten). We have an office down there with most of our tech team and they're pretty "wired" guys. I'm going to forward them this and make them jealous, I think. 

So, the moral of all this - is your credit union based in one of the top twenty cities? You should probably be reaching out to people via social media. Check the list and get cracking.

And if you're in the bottom twenty? Maybe you shouldn't be Facebooking all day long. Just a thought. 

We've written our share of articles on social media, both on the Soapbox and our company blog. Read through and find one to help you get started.