Social Media: Does ROI Match Hype?

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MADISON, Wis.-Social media is getting a lot of attention from credit unions, but do tweeting, friending, and posting videos really help credit unions grow?

That question is at the heart of a new Filene Research Institute report released last week that offers insights into what makes for a "successful" social media program, although hard numbers continue to be hard to quantify.

The study, "The State of Social Media in Credit Unions: Opportunities and Challenges," is at the front end of what is to be a year-long longitudinal study, according to Filene, which is conducting the research in conjunction with Crescendo Consulting Group, LLC. The goal is to examine the extent of social media usage among credit unions, highlight characteristics of credit unions currently using social media, and describe practices that drive social media success. This report also provides information from the baseline survey, conducted in late 2010, including a summary of the findings and, "more importantly, their management implications," Filene said.

The study is based on data from 187 CUs of various asset sizes in the U.S. and Canada. Among some of the early findings:

• Credit unions that spend more than eight hours per week on social media and those with more than 10 employees in the marketing department are by far the most likely to report successful programs.

• Updating a logo or brand image corresponds with more successful social media campaigns, and launching five or more new products also corresponds with reported social media success.

• Credit unions that say their social media goals align with the credit union's strategic goals report the highest levels of success in their social media programs.

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