Tapping Into Social Media Data

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Contributing Writer

3 minutes

Four areas of opportunity to boost marketing and service with social media analytics

Social media posts from members and competitors offer four opportunities to support marketing and member service execution, suggest Emily Engstrom and Vickie Potter of CUESolutions provider CUNA Mutual Group’s AdvantEdge Analytics, Madison, Wisconsin:  

1. Get to know your members better. People celebrate many milestones on Facebook, Instagram and other social media—college graduation, the birth of a child, engagement, plans to move and/or start house-hunting, a new job or business launch. “Those key life events can trigger personalized outreach to meet members’ changing needs,” Engstrom notes.

2. Gather intel on competitors. The job postings on LinkedIn by community banks and credit unions down the street—and mega-banks and fintechs across the country—may signal new initiatives if they’re recruiting data scientists, business lenders or investment advisors, as just a few examples. And perusing social media marketing offers a view into their new services and target markets for specific products. 

3. Assess member sentiment about the credit union’s brand. This analysis should go deeper than the number of posts and likes, Engstrom suggests. “Knowing that your credit union name has been tweeted X amount of times doesn’t really tell you how members and potential future members are feeling about your credit union.”

She offers the example of a 2019 commercial in which a man presents his already-fit partner with an expensive exercise bike. “A lot of people were talking about that on social media. If the Peloton media people were just looking at traction that commercial got online, they’d be feeling pretty good about that—if they didn’t scale the sentiment to get a deeper view of what was going on to see that many people saw that commercial as a big miss.” 

4. Identify service miscues and opportunities. Consumers are more likely to post or tweet when they’re unhappy with an interaction than when they’re satisfied with the member experience, Engstrom notes. This is partly about timing, especially for problems that occur outside regular business hours. It’s also quicker to spend 30 seconds tweeting than to phone into a call center or chat online. 

However members report service issues, the credit union should respond via the same channel, she recommends. “It can help you get in front of a potential problem when you reach out and fix it through a much richer experience of connecting through members’ preferred mode of communication.”

In addition, directing member communications based on channel preferences can have a direct bottom-line impact, Potter says. “Some marketing methods are more expensive than others. Why put your resources into a method if it’s not going to reach members? A more prescriptive approach offers the right message via the right channel.”

Gathering social media data can also help credit unions identify wider member service issues, she notes. AdvantEdge Analytics worked with one credit union whose social media input formed a word cloud that spelled out frustration with difficulties in making loan payments via the mobile channel. 

“This was a significant issue, and the credit union was able to redirect IT staff to solve the problem as quickly as possible,” Potter says. “Prospective members look at online reviews in deciding whether and where to move their accounts. If they see repeated issues with something like making mobile loan payments, they’re likely to look elsewhere.” 

Credit unions can also download posts from social media platforms to analyze via text type searching what people like about their offerings. “You might even turn up potential strengths you weren’t aware of,” she suggests. “Maybe you’re attracting a certain type of member who likes a specific product. You could create a campaign around that and make it an even bigger deal, and you might be able to reach out to members and ask, ‘Can we use this quote in a marketing campaign?’”cues icon

Karen Bankston is a long-time contributor to Credit Union Management and writes about membership growth, operations, technology and governance. She is the proprietor of Precision Prose, Eugene, Oregon.

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