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How credit unions can use social media effectively

Credit unions can use social media in a number of ways.

Social media can be a powerful tool for any type of business, and that goes for credit unions as well. This practice is in use, as a survey from CUNA Mutual Group found that 87 percent of credit unions are already investing time and money into Facebook and other social media resources in order to market their business.

Even though social media is a widely used business resource, there is a difference between posting a quick status and using these sites effectively for marketing purposes. It matters how you use social media, as opposed to how often you post statuses and helpful links to articles. Here are a few tips for using social media efficiently:

Educate employees about sites and create a plan
Your employees may be somewhat familiar with different types of social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but they might not be aware of how these resources can help attract more business or educate members. The first step in this process is to talk to your employees about your social media channels and how each can be beneficial to the members. Perhaps your most regularly visited social media site can be used for promoting deals the CU offers, or helpful educational materials that members can read. By knowing the different social media avenues you can create a plan for how to use them.

Figure out the content you're going to provide
After you have gone over the different sources of social media, you should figure out what type of content you will provide. Using the same type of information for each site can be repetitive and cause members to become bored. Designate each social media site for a specific purpose - this way you're providing plenty of resources and are not being stale. Maybe your Twitter feed can be the home for providing news about lending regulations or the credit union industry, and Facebook can be the prime spot to talk about your business and the services and events you offer. This will keep everything organized and serve as a way to provide fresh content on a number of sites.

Let your employees post content
Companies can hire outside social media consultants or copywriters to provide content for their social sites, but if you want members to feel like they're talking to an expert, you should let your employees handle the accounts. Before you let the reins loose on the employees, be sure that they are writing in a professional manner and are providing relevant information.

Interact with members in a professional manner
Being professional on these sites also extends to how you interact with your members. Simply uploading information can seem robotic, but engaging in an overly social conversation with a member like a buddy is not the preferred route to go. Have a tone with these resources that can help facilitate engaging and educational conversation and listen to what everyone has to say. If you're looking to engage more with members and get a feel for what they're curious about, try having a Q&A on the credit union's Twitter page.

Constantly improve your output
Nothing is ever perfect the first time around, and this goes for using social media as well. Filene Institute said that one to three posts a day is optimal for credit unions just starting off. If one site is not getting traction or a resource you're providing is not catching on, consider eliminating it or changing it up.