Facebook’s $19 Billion Bet and Why Credit Unions Should Care

What can you buy with $19 billion? If you’re Mark Zuckerberg you buy the latest and greatest mobile messaging start up, WhatsAPP. WhatsApp has a user growth rate that exceeds that of Zuck’s own social network, Instagram, Skype and Gmail. The acquisition has drawn attention from all sorts of analysts and pundits from a variety of industries. But Credit Union marketers, technologist and executives should pay attention. Here’s why.


Fish where the fish are

WhatsApp has 450 million Monthly Active Users compared to Facebook’s 751 million, however it’s only taken WhatsApp 5 years to acquire that many Monthly Actives and they add about a million new users a day. Of those 451 million Monthly Active Users, about 70% come back every day compared to only 62% of Facebook users, the previous industry leader. With that many eyeballs exchanging content and data on a daily basis, there’s a lot of fish to be fished by marketers. Facebook is after all at the end of the day a content and ad platform driven by data.

Takeaway: The combination of two incredibly massive audiences creates even more opportunities for marketing and targeting over time.

Diffusion of innovation

As I mentioned in my article with the Credit Union Times on technology and generations, look to how innovations are adopted and the life cycle of technology trends. Those trends tell you where to take your strategy over time. The rapid adoption of mobile messaging and the flood of younger demographics from platforms like Facebook to mobile message apps like SnapChat and WhatsApp indicate a change in communication habits and preference that’s certainly worth at least paying attention to.

Takeaway: Pay attention to why companies like WhatsApp are successful, what about their technology is disrupting to day to day life and what about their offering is appealing to consumers and how it could be leveraged. Which leads us to our final point.

Mobile messaging, payments and emerging markets

Mobile communications and the mobile web is the gateway to reaching emerging markets. Markets that are not served well by the resource-intensive infrastructure that drives urban areas. Where broadband can’t reach, mobile technology brings the internet and with it  change to everything from how we communicate to how we bank. A concept of reverse innovation, where innovation is driven from developing areas to  developed areas becomes prevalent and this has already started to be seen in the adoption payment by mobile message. The rapid adoption and user growth of apps like WhatsApp could be explained because they’re satisfying a demand for mobile functions in undeveloped areas, what else will that disrupt and is your credit union ready for that, especially with a million people being added a day?

Adding it all up

Most importantly, the acquisition by Facebook should create questions and analysis. When that many users get together around a technology and when a company that has already disrupted so much of our world already takes note, it’s worth taking a look. Whether it’s how the purchase could impact your future marketing channels to what’s the possibility of accelerating the pace of mobile banking adoption and innovation.

bank and credit union marketing swot analysis

How to Create a Social Media Policy for Your Credit Union (free template)

In 2013 the FFIEC released guidance for credit unions leveraging social media in their marketing strategy. If your credit union hasn’t ventured into the social space or if it’s lacking a cohesive strategy you’re missing out on an enormous opportunity  to reach key demographics.


Whether you’re targeting the mass affluent, millennials or the underbanked, or anyone in between, social media is one of the ubiquitous channels for reaching all three markets.

A study by LinkedIn found that 87% of the mass affluent use social media and nearly half use social media to discover or consider a financial institution.

The PEW center puts social media adoption past 75% for U.S. adults making less than $30,000 a year and a key source of decision making and information for this segment of the population that is often underbanked.

And we all know the frequency of consumption by millenials.

So with all this opportunity, don’t let risk be your hurdle. We’ve assembled a template to get you started on developing your own social media policy and get your credit union into the conversations taking place where you can make an impact in the lives of consumers seeking information and seeking your products and services.

Download the template here.

Context: Glue for Your Credit Union’s Social Media Strategy

On my way to the office this morning I pulled up behind what looked like a corporate fleet vehicle. There were no markings on the back of the car that let me know what company I was following but there was a giant Facebook icon with a “like us” call to action on the bumper. On one hand I applaud Company “X’ for really going “all in” on adopting social. On the other hand, it brings up a valid point in our ongoing series about social media and doing it well. We’ve talked about authenticity and monitoring with tools from the platforms themselves and other solutions as well.


Today, we’re talking about context. Using social media in the right place, the right time and providing context to your members.

Right place, right time

Placing a call to action to rummage through my pocket for my phone and “like” something in a state where mobile phone usage while driving, even while stopped at a stoplight, is not right place, right time social media strategy.

Understand where your members are and where you want to reach them with each social platform and with what. To make sure you get the right place, right time piece of the strategy right I offer this tip.

Create a matrix with the platforms you’re considering across the top and the content you’ve contemplated for those platforms down the side. Place an X in the boxes to the right where you will publish the content.

Here’s an example:

Now you can see clearly what kind of content will go to which platform and see in what settings you should solicit new likes and follows from. For example adding a tag on direct promotions for accounts that says like us on Facebook or check in on Foursquare for the latest offers from MyCreditUnion or pushing Twitter heavy in your newsletter if you include original content and using YouTube on your website if videos introduce team members that prospects will meet when they come into the branch.

You can also now easily provide context in all channels.

Context: give it to me straight

The other thing about my bumper call-to-action that bothered me was that I had no idea who I was suppose to like or why. The other piece of context in your social media strategy is to let your members know what they’ll get when they like or follow a social platform. Now that you have the matrix, you can be very specific. You can give it to them straight. “Follow MyCreditUnion on twitter for the latest from our blog and other tips for money, life and local news” OR “follow us on instagram to see us around the community and share your MyCity photos with the hashtag #MyCreditUnionCares.”

Bring it together, they will follow

With context as your glue, members and prospect will follow and are more likely to engage. Think about it. Are you more or less likely to engage with a profile that’s telling you exactly what you’re going to get by engaging with them?

bank and credit union marketing swot analysis

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

Last week we talked about the importance of monitoring your credit union brand online and in social media. Despite the regulatory concerns of the financial services industry, regular brand monitoring is good practice for every industry and we laid out three key objectives in monitoring your brand online to protect your brand and prevent fraud.


Brand mentions

Here we’re referencing every time someone mentions your brand or a similarity (which we’ll address in objective three). The key here is keeping an eye on these to make sure that 1.) no one is portraying themselves as your brand or close to your brand and 2.) to ensure you’re listening and responding to people who want to be heard.


Sentiment refers to how negative, positive or neutral those mentions are and by monitoring this indicator you can triage your overall online activity and surface potential crisis issues buying your credit union time to address concerns.


Similarities and competitors refers to 1.) mentions that include accounts that are similar to your brand name and 2.) your competitors. Watching these accounts allow you to make sure no one is spreading false information and 2.) that no one is passing themselves off as a representative of your brand and 3.) that your members and prospective members aren’t getting confused online.

Tools to monitor your credit union online and in social media

In the last post we reviewed how the native search functions of Google, Google+, Twitter and Facebook allow your credit union to monitor your brand under those three objectives and here we’ll provide a list of non-native tools that can also augment the native functionality of these platforms.

Brand mentions

Hootsuite is the tool I use religiously and recommend to anyone who will listen. I’ve been a loyal Hootsuite user since 2009. The ability of hootsuite to organize your monitoring in my opinion is unparalleled. Organized by streams, you can bring all of your accounts( Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+) under one umbrella and create a command center.

Similar to Hootsuite, Tweetdeck offers robust monitoring and management tools.

Icerocket is a simple search tool across blogs, Twitter and Facebook from the folks at Meltwater buzz that gives you quick glance at mentions.


SocialMention monitors hundreds of sites and delivers a nice report on four indicators: strength, sentiment, passion and reach overall for your brand.

Trackur offers a free trial and a low monthly paid version with sentiment analysis that won’t break the bank.


Paperli offers a nice set of tools for creating a central command for bringing the information to you. You can create a “newspaper” of sorts, pick your sources and paperli will deliver it to you on the frequency you wish.

Native, non-native, just start monitoring

Whether you use the native monitoring tools from the platforms themselves or a tool developed to do something specific, the important thing is to start monitoring your credit union’s brand today to protect your brand authority and prevent fraud. Even if you don’t use social media or online tactics in your marketing strategy, monitor what’s being said. Members are talking, are you listening?

bank and credit union marketing swot analysis