Native Tools to Tackle Social Media and Online Monitoring at Your Credit Union

Late last year the FFIEC released their findings and guidelines for credit unions and social media use. A key finding was the need for consideration around social media monitoring. While the regulatory concerns that come with the financial industry add their own ingredients to the online mix, monitoring should be high on your list regardless of regulation in an industry.

Protecting brand identity and preventing fraud

Without monitoring your brand on social and online media you run the risk of damage to your brand authority or fraud across both social and online presences. There are several ways credit unions can accomplish brand monitoring on social and online media. In this series we’ll look at both native and non native tools to help tackle monitoring. In this post we’ll discuss the native tools available from internet platforms that can go a long way in monitoring your credit union and protecting your brand and preventing fraud.

Online brand protection

For online protection of your brand identity and preventing fraud starting with google alerts for your brand, your key executives, and key products is a must.
Enter your search query and choose what kind of results. For brand, I always choose everything and set the frequency to daily. As you set up your alerts, you’ll want to play with frequency and the kind of results you’re getting. It can become overwhelming so I’ll usually set up a folder and an email rule for the alerts so they are delivered to the folder and have a time every day where I review them.

Social media monitoring

First things first with social media. Make sure you’ve secured your brand on, at the minimum, the major social networks. Even if you don’t have a strategy. At least squat your brand name so someone else doesn’t claim it.

When it comes to monitoring, the three biggest things I’ll look at are brand mentions, sentiment and similarities/competitors.

Brand mentions

Brand mentions are any time someone mentions your brand name or a variant of it. It’s important you have someone look at the variants as well because it’s unlikely (unless you’re a company like Ford or Apple) that 1.) you’re always going to have secured exactly your brand and 2.) every social media user is going to mention your brand exactly the way you want. When you’re looking at brand mentions you’re looking for two things, sentiment (which we’ll discuss in a second) and false accounts and interactions, people who are pretending to represent your brand.


Sentiment simply refers to whether or not the overall tone of the social interaction is positive, negative or neutral. Think of it as a thermometer to let you know if a situation is getting out of control. It helps you triage situations around your brand on social networks. There are a lot of sentiment analysis tools that you can pay for, but some of the social networks have native sentiment analysis that we’ll discuss in a bit.


Keeping an eye on competitors is key. Outside of the strategic importance of knowing what they’re up to, how it affects your brand is important too. Making sure they aren’t engaged in an assault on your brand or spreading false information. Also, watching for similar accounts. Again, because you can’t always get the exact social account you want, keeping an eye on how accounts that are similar to yours are behaving is important especially if they start to behave like a competitor. In other words, do they start to try to pass themselves off as offering the same products and services as you or as an employee at a branch? If so, you have a problem with false representation.

The Native Search Tools available

In this part of our series we’ll look at the native search functionality within the major social networks: Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and look at some of the uses as they fit in the goals outlined above for monitoring a credit union online.

Twitter’s advanced search has robust capabilities to allow you to search words and phrases, to and from accounts, mentions of accounts, and an entry into sentiment analysis.

Uses: Twitter’s advanced search allows you to fulfill all of your goals monitoring brand mentions, sentiment and similar accounts/competitors. As a tip, keep a spread sheet of the similar accounts you discover and add them to a twitter List so you can monitor them more easily without having to conduct a search every time.

Facebook: Last year Facebook announced its graph search. As this search ability rolls out it will allow you to type in the search about a query for just about anything across Facebook. In an instant you can find all [Posts about MyCreditUnion] or [Posts written at my MyCreditUnion] with the latter allowing for almost instant monitoring.

Uses: With the graph search you can monitor your brand mentions, see what others are saying about you and make sure no one is posing as your brand.

Google+: Google+ search behaves, not surprisingly, like Google search. At the top of a Google+ profile in the search bar you can search across Google+ community and Google in general. As you enter a query you’ll see an auto-response on results for what Google thinks you’re seeking across G+ pages, communities and posts. Similarly how you use Google alerts to monitor your brand, executives etc. However, Alerts should pick up mentions in Google +.

Uses: Google + search gives you an instant look at what’s happening in Google’s social network. Use it to monitor brand mentions on pages, in comments and communities.

If you aren’t monitoring start now

With all the tools made available natively by the platforms we use online and socially there is no reason to not start monitoring your brand today. In the next post we’ll look at some of the tools outside of the platforms themselves to help credit unions tackle the social and online brand monitoring and fraud prevention concerns of 2014.

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The Value of Authenticity in Your Credit Union’s Social Media Strategy

78,000 retweets in the first 12 hours of your tweet. How would you like stats like that for your social marketing program?  Not bad, eh? That’s about the total of retweets Arby’s gained from their tweet with the hashtag #Grammys on Sunday (January 26, 2014)

A split moment tweet calling out the similarities between Arby’s logo and Pharrell’s hat had nothing to do with selling roast beef but it had everything to do with showing the authenticity of the Arby’s brand. A real person behind the digital brand put Arby’s in the middle of conversations its consumers were having about a topic important to them.

Whether you’re Arby’s capturing the Grammys stage or Oreo capturing the attention of the 2013 Superbowl with their “You can Dunk in the Dark” tweet after a blackout shut the game down the lesson stays the same and it doesn’t matter how big your organization.  In online and social marketing, authenticity is your currency.

The Authenticity Imperative

For credit unions attempting to capture the attention of new members and compete with regional and national banks, online marketing and social media provides a unique medium to level the playing field.  Yet many still struggle. What’s the lesson to learn from consumer brands like Arby’s and Oreo? Be authentic.

In a post on the Holmes Report,  Honeywell’s Chief Communications Officer goes so far as to give the importance of authenticity in today’s online, social and mobile world a name.

“Call it the “authenticity imperative”: the expectation that organizations and individuals perform in a matter consistent with who they claim to be or say they are. Big data and seamless speedy search makes misalignment all the easier to spot. Know who you are, embrace it or change it as you choose, and take comfort that integrity is a powerful ally.”  Tom Buckmaster, chief communications officer, Honeywell.

This imperative extends to every communication a brand embarks on online. Somewhere along the way, marketers forgot who they are before they step in the office. But thanks to changes from online platforms like Google & Facebook in 2013, forgetting these important element will spell disaster for online campaigns.

Know thy consumer, know thyself.

Before we are marketers, we are all consumers. And we are all moved to act, or not moved to act. We have questions, we seek answers, we are moved by emotions and we are innately humans, by nature we are social creatures.

So when did we lose sight of these innate things, and trade them for marketing speak? When did we trade quality and insanely great experiences and community in lieu of quick results?


Somewhere in the past decade, online marketing repeated the same tactics of old marketing communications. “YOU THERE! BUY THIS!” and ignored the communication trends of social networking  where consumers were talking to each other before making purchases or the quiet changes being made to search results that were favoring quality content over quantity of content.  Last year both Facebook and Google changed their algorithms to favor good online content that appeals to consumer questions. Not crap that crams sales down their throats. No more keyword overload. No more “offer offer offer ACT FAST!”


After all the online marketers panic attacks subsided post announcements what was left?  A realization that, we’re going to be okay. Because what the changes really did was slap us upside the face and say hey! Treat others the way you want to be treated.  Know your consumer, because your consumer is you.

The opportunity awaits.

I hear the term, financial education thrown around a lot from partners, prospects and associations. But what does that mean to us as an industry? What does that mean to consumers? Ultimately, it’s the nexus of the great opportunity that lies ahead for credit unions.

In order for credit unions to capitalize on the enormous opportunity that authenticity in online marketing can afford, putting the in-house knowledge front and center is key. Don’t just focus on pushing your products. Searches for topics related to what brands sell exceed searches for what brands actually sell 10,000:1 creating an enormous pool of conversation taking place. Stepping back to the overarching topic of finance or money unlocks a wealth of things to talk about.

Asking yourself what else motivates your members and your communities? What else motivates you? Those are the conversations your team should be a part of. Just like Arby’s, Just like Oreo. IN both situations someone on their respective marketing teams was watching the event, in both situations a member of the marketing team was wearing both hats: consumer & marketer. In both cases authenticity won out.

Will you score big with a tweet and get 78,000 retweets? Probably not, but the traffic and leads you get from these authentic conversations are far more valuable than from your traditional tactics.


bank and credit union marketing swot analysis

How to Prepare Your Credit Union for an Online Marketing SWOT Analysis

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where–” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. “–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation. “Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 6)

Marketing without direction is a lot like wandering around wonderland. Heck, sometimes marketing with direction feels like a wonderland, a world filled with things that may not always make sense, under constant change and assault. However, with a little planning and thought, direction can add a lot of clarity and you’ll know which way you’re going.

Seizing opportunity with a SWOT analysis

ebook-blogWhether you’re in planning mode for a new campaign or about to embark on a new project, a good rule of thumb is to perform a SWOT analysis on your credit union’s online marketing program from time to time.

This analysis provides an opportunity to gather insights from all areas of your organization providing a clear understanding of your current market landscape so you can overcome obstacles and seize opportunities in marketing planning.

When we work with new clients at result150, one of the exercises we do is to perform a SWOT analysis together so we can set expectations and align solutions to overcome those obstacles and seize those opportunities together. If you’re curious about how to do a SWOT analysis with your team, download our free ebook. It includes a template to get you started, explanation of the benefits and instructions to get you going.

In conducting a SWOT analysis, there are three stages: Planning, Analyzing, Reviewing.

Planning for your SWOT During the planning phase, you’ll prepare your competitors list used in conducting your SWOT. You can also use a PEST analysis  to gather this information(Political, Economic, Social and Technical). Make a list of individual factors in those categories that will be reviewed during your SWOT analysis in the Opportunities and Threats section.

Analyzing with your SWOT When you get ready to conduct your SWOT, you’ll want to document the questions your team will be comparing.  Give people guidance of what topics or themes you’re looking to measure Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in and prepare to document those. For example: are you measuring your credit union’s ability to be found online, the ability for your credit union to stay present in a visitors mind etc.

Reviewing your SWOT Once you’ve completed your SWOT analysis you can either tally them up or list out your top Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in a matrix so you can see if there are any overlaps. The information gained from this exercise will inform your marketing planning and project work going forward. For example a lot of strengths in your credit union’s ability to drive traffic to your website will inform your team to defend that, while threats to your traffic will inform your team to be offensive and increase resources in planning.


3 Tools to Help Your Credit Union Clear Content Marketing Hurdles

Happy New Year, here’s to a stand out 2014.

One of my resolutions for the new year is to not get hung up on the same hurdles in 2014 that slowed me down in 2013. I hate hurdles. The only thing I like about them is that after I’ve cleared them, I learned something. It’s great to learn . . . ‘cuz Knowledge is power!

I’m still feeling a lot of the holiday spirit so I’m going to share with you some of the things I’ve learned over the past few years. 2014, in many ways could be called the year of content marketing, so these tips and tools will hopefully help you overcome some hurdles when it comes to content marketing.


Seriously though, repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different results, as Einstein says, is just insane.

Three of the biggest challenges for content marketing come from planning/coordinating, monitoring/curating and ideation. For the first two, I’ll share two of my favorite tools I use and for the last one I’ll share a resource or two that I’ve found helpful. Consider this a late stocking stuffer from me to you!

Plan and coordinate with style and flair, and a little help from co-schedule.

I found co-schedule late in 2013 and fell in love instantly. I used them on my personal blog and we also use them here on the corporate, result150 blog. CoSchedule provides an easy to use, drag and drop calendar system for WordPress that lets you schedule content, and social messages that link and post based on the content you’re publishing. You can work cross-functionally across multiple locations easily which makes collaboration on multiple pieces of content  a breeze.

Monitor trends and stock pile ideas for later with Instapaper.

Okay, so some time in 2013 a search party had to come find me, they found me lost in a mound of Google Alerts. I found that using them to monitor topics I wanted to read wasn’t working. Enter Instapaper. What does work however during the day, is to peruse a lot of headlines and make quick assessments  on whether something fits my interest areas or an area for content. If it does, I use Instapaper to snag the article for reading later so that I can digest it and possibly expand on it, curate it or build off it and cite it in a future piece of content. Works great on all of my devices too. I’ll usually have a few articles to read every night before bed.

When your stuck stuck and need a prompt to get over a blank page.

I remember my first time experiencing the symptoms of blank-page-itis. The cold sweat. The trembling of the fingers. It’s scary. Overcoming writers block should be an Olympic event. Just like content marketing hurdle jumping.

Heidi Cohen has a great list of ways to generate ideas for your content marketing needs. I’ve also found that some of the generators can be just enough of a push to get the juices flowing. Some of the generators I’ve found have been through here and here (you have to have an open mind with that one).

Ready? Set? Run!

I hope these tools help you and I’d love to hear of any tools you use, I’m always looking to add to my toolbelt.

Look at you, you hurdle jumper you! Happy New Year!

What about you? What tools have you found that help make content marketing flow a little smoother?

bank and credit union marketing swot analysis