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					      Marketing




                                                   Tweet!
                                                   Tweet!
                                                   Social media tool has
                                                   credit unions all a-Twitter.
                                                   By Diane Franklin




                                                   C     an your credit union build
                                                         business relationships 140
                                                   characters at a time? That’s the
                                                   potential and promise of Twitter, the
                                                   micro-blogging site that is taking
                                                   the world by storm. As mentioned,
                                                   Twitter (www.twitter.com) has a
                                                   limit of just 140 characters per
                                                   message— the messages are popularly
                                                   known as “tweets”—and those
                                                   “tweets” taken collectively can
                                                   spread information faster (and
                                                   some would argue more effectively)
                                                   than practically any other media
                                                   outlet you are currently using.




42   CREDIT UNION MANAGEMENT   |   FEBRUARY 2010
  Since its founding in 2006, Twitter has           specialist for $750 million/85,400-member          topics such as debt. If people say
grown at a mind-boggling rate. In 2008,             A-Plus Federal Credit Union (www.aplusfcu.         something negative, that’s
there were 6 million adults using Twitter on        org), Austin, Texas.                               not necessarily a bad thing.
an ongoing basis, according to emarketer              Balcaitis was given the responsibility for       It gives you the oppor-
(www.emarketer.com). That figure grew to            social media by Marketing Director Muna            tunity to show why they
18 million by the end of 2009 and will reach        Whitlock. The time that Balcaitis spends           could be wrong. You can
26 million by the end of 2010. While some           on Twitter is broken up throughout the day.        take steps to rectify problems
have dismissed Twitter as purely a social           She spends a few minutes in the morning, a         or misconceptions.”
enterprise—a way for users to tell friends          few minutes at mid-day, and then checks it           As time goes on, Twitter is
what they had for lunch or what movie they          again right before she goes home.                  becoming a recognized outlet
are going to see—there is now a growing               “It’s a nice way to break up the day,” she       for communication. “Everyone
sentiment among marketers that Twitter              says. “I finish something I’m working on,          in our (marketing) department is
can be a valuable tool for making and main-         and before I go on to something else, I’ll go      starting to see just how valuable it’s
taining business connections. Credit unions         and check Twitter.”                                becoming,” Balcaitis says.
are among those discovering just how                  The credit union’s Twitter account can be
powerful a tool it can be.                          found at http://twitter.com/APlusFCU. As of
  “People are now seeing it more as a busi-         mid-December, the credit union had about           Personality on Display
ness tool,” says Mike Lawson, principal of          450 followers. “We have a good group of            Twitter allows credit unions to be informal,
the San Diego-based PR/marketing firm               followers that mostly consists of members          even personable, in their communication
DML Communications (www.dmlcommuni                  and credit union-related organizations,”           with members and other followers. For
cations.com and on Twitter at http://twitter.       Balcaitis reports. “It’s more about quality        instance, Allegiance Credit Union (www.
com/dmlcomm). “Businesses are using it for          than quantity.”                                    allegiancecu.org) uses its Earnie the Eagle
education and for information gathering.              Through Twitter, the credit union is able to     (the credit union’s mas
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Since its founding in 2006, Twitter has grown at a mind-boggling rate. In 2008, there were 6 million adults using Twitter on an ongoing basis, according to emarketer. While some have dismissed Twitter as purely a social enterprise -- a way for users to tell friends what they had for lunch or what movie they are going to see -- there is now a growing sentiment among marketers that Twitter can be a valuable tool for making and maintaining business connections. Credit unions are among those discovering just how powerful a tool it can be. Twitter allows credit unions to be informal, even personable, in their communication with members and other followers. Twitter also allows followers to gain an understanding of a credit union's connection to the community. The ultimate advantage of Twitter for credit unions is the immediacy of the message at very little cost.
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