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Avoid Coming Across as a Stereotypical Used Car Salesman on Your Social Media Sites, Timberline FCU Marketing Director Advises
Monday, May 5, 2014 6:50 AM

More and more businesses today are using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to grow business, engage consumers and attract talent. And while social media can be a powerful marketing tool, Rosalind Ross, marketing director and business development officer with Timberline FCU in Crossett, Ark., says it’s essential to have a social media marketing strategy in order to leverage this tool effectively. 

Ross offers the following tips to help credit unions create an effective social media marketing strategy:

  1. Engage Your Team. It is very important to get everyone’s input.  I ask each department head if they have anything that needs to be “blasted out” on our Facebook page in the coming months.  I also make sure to include our two charity teams, Relay for Life and Children’s Miracle Network.  I’m a one woman department, so 99.99 percent of the content is created by yours truly; however, I like checking in with our operations manager or CEO to get the go ahead on link, articles, videos, ads, etc. Our compliance is outsourced, so if I ever have a question, I can just shoot her an email.
     
  2. Choose Your Channels. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus+, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, My Space and Meetup are some of the more popular social sites; however, your credit union certainly should not try and participate in all of them. You should carefully select the ones that will be most effective for your organization. At Timberline FCU, we currently use Facebook. I would love to see our credit union venture out and possibly utilize Pinterest and Instagram as well. Our target market is, in general, borrowers. Most “younger” people borrow and they are the main ones using those channels.
     
  3. Establish Your Goals. Simply opening a Facebook account or randomly sending out tweets is not utilizing social media effectively. You have to know what your short and long-term goals are. For example, is there a loan promotion that you want to use your social media channels to help promote? Do you want to generate more awareness of your credit union? Having short and long-term goals will offer you guidance on what type of content you need to be pushing out on your social channels in order to meet those goals.  At Timberline FCU, our main objective of the Facebook page is just to be informative and real.  It’s so important to make them “viewer” feel a sense of emotion or a connection when they see your Facebook post.  We just received an expanded community charter, which includes 10 counties in Southeast Arkansas.  If I had to say what our main goal for 2014 is, it would be to get the word out about our expanded territory.  Our campaign this year is “Have You Heard?”  We are sticking with that tag line in many of our marketing pieces.
     
  4. Be Consistent and Make sure Your Content is Rich and Relevant. When using social media, it’s important to not come across like the stereotypical “used car salesman.” I would caution credit unions against only using social media to advertise a product or service.
     
    There is absolutely nothing worse than taking that “used car salesman” approach when utilizing Facebook. I’ve been a victim of that many times with junk email.  They send you something every five minutes and it starts to get annoying.  The “consumer” then starts to have negative feelings towards the company. You definitely want to stay away from that approach.  Does that mean you can’t post about specials or promotions? Of course not.  You just have to do it in a way that isn’t too pushy or offensive. For example, if you are running a car loan promo for the month of May, don’t hit them with a new post about it every single day.  They will start to block it out completely.  Post about it at the beginning of the month, the middle, and then one last time right before the promo ends. Including all the details isn’t necessary.  Make it short, sweet and to the point.
     
    As for what type of content you should be including in social media, just make sure you mix things up.  We post links to articles, videos, quizzes, trivia, tips and tricks, promos, community events, personal touches (like employee of the year), charity team events and pictures, etc.  Our Facebook page normally gets the most hits and views when we post pictures of real people.  You can make a personal connection with the viewer when you post of picture of something they know. Works like a charm every time. 
     
  5. Monitor and Measure your Social Media Efforts. Once you start posting content on your social media channels, you have to monitor those sites to see if your audience is engaging with you. If you get a response to a post, make sure you follow-up with that person(s). To measure your efforts, there are many free online tools to help you do this, and Google Analytics is probably one of the most popular and most used tools for measuring social media traffic, as well as website traffic. Facebook has their own analytics that you can view when you log-in as an admin.

“Social media is a powerful tool if used correctly,” Ross says. “Make sure you are staying current and posting articles, links, etc. that appeal to your target market.  We normally post two to three times a week, which seems to be a good mix.  Also, post about topics that aren’t credit union related. For example, you could post information on how to plan the perfect vacation or ways to save money during summer break.  I welcome you to visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/timberlinefcu.”