A little Facebook poke

Dear Boom,

Is social media really for credit unions? My teenage son hates the idea of his credit union asking him to become a fan. When I asked him about this, he said all of his friends have their money where their parents do or where their employer told them to set up direct deposit. And when he needs a loan, he said he’ll just ask me where to go. But everyone says, ‘you must absolutely have a presence on Facebook.’ Tell me why…really, but don’t tell me it’s because hundreds of people are joining credit unions or applying for loans because of Facebook. Do you have a response from a financial institution who is using social media and getting phenomenal results in new members and loans?

Socially Eire-sponsible

Dear Eire,

I dare you.  I double dog dare you.  Walk outside the door of your credit union right now and pose this question to a random stranger, any age. You already know what the answer is going to be don’t you?

At the risk of sounding like a big old sack of no fun, I’m going to come right out and say what everyone outside of the credit union world is thinking (in the words of my daughter):  “You want me…to be…a friend…of your credit union?…long incredulous pause…why?”

Let me be clear. I like Facebook-stalking as much as the next person.  I did my obligatory two week Facebook frenzy at first.  I connected with people I never thought I would hear from again.  I like it for that. But in true marketing fashion, advertisers have managed to whore out a perfectly good student networking medium for our own manipulative, yet highly irritating, ends.

But what do I know? Because he is 26 years old, Chris in our office automatically qualifies as our director of Gen Y marketing. (He also takes out the recycling.) Chris says a credit union social networking presence has some validity so long as:

“You keep your humility about it. You’re not a celebrity. You’re not a rock band. You’re not someone I want to meet up with for coffee.  YOU’RE A F***ING CREDIT UNION.  You provide a valuable service. I want to know how your existence will benefit both of us and that’s about it.”

Our goal (and we’re not always successful by the way) is to create something that isn’t an utter and absolute waste of somebody’s time. In the end, we want people to somehow feel a little better by coming into contact with you and what you have to say.

So, if you’re going to be on Facebook or Twitter, make what you say count.