May 3, 2012
Credit Union Management’s online-only “PR Insight” column runs the first Thursday of every month.
Recently, Facebook redesigned its format and customization techniques in a way that can revolutionize the presence of credit unions on the social media channel and provide further opportunities to connect with new and existing members via Facebook’s Timeline. While the new look and feel of Facebook is a rather drastic change in comparison to the original layout, the timeline’s newly added features are well worth the time and effort needed to effectively make use of them on your credit union’s profile.
Here are a few need-to-know tips and tricks you can quickly and easily put into action to increase your Facebook presence with the new Timeline platform.
Visually Express Yourself
The overarching theme of the new Facebook Timeline is all about making your profile visually pleasing to those who visit it. At this point, you might be thinking, “What in the world do I have to offer that would be visually pleasing to people visiting my profile?” The answer: plenty.
The new timeline format provides credit unions the opportunity for strategic self expression to not only re-emphasize the service offerings and underlying company beliefs they abide by, but also the ability to do so in a way that will create a lasting emotional bond with members. A few suggestions for credit unions to consider:
- Make use of the new cover photo feature to display an image that encompasses the full spectrum of your CU’s beliefs and principles in relation to your products and services, but especially your dedication to members.
- Post videos from credit union employees offering tips or suggestions for members, such as “How to Save for Your First Home” or “Ways to Budget Your Money During the Holiday Season.”
- Upload photos that show the credit union’s involvement with members in the branch or photos of outside activities employees (and members) are involved in within the community.
Highlight (or Pin) What You’re Proud Of
As a continuation of the timeline’s focus on being visually appealing to users, Facebook has introduced a new feature that allows users to choose specific posts to be showcased at the top of their page for up to one week.
The new “Pin to Top” function is a perfect way for credit unions to ensure the items they’re most proud of are prominently displayed where everyone will see them. Not only does this function drastically increase the visibility of specific posts, but it also broadens the potential for members visiting the page to interact and provide their own thoughts on the post.
For instance, a wall post from a member expressing his or her personal delight about a branch interaction or new service offering would be a perfect item to “Pin to Top” and see what kind of buzz generates from other members voicing their opinions on the given topic.
Another technique the timeline offers is the “Highlight” feature, which extends a post across both columns of the page to visually show its importance. Credit unions should employ this feature to detail company milestones, such as branch openings, new products and services, historical company dates, etc.
The addition of these significant company milestones somewhat humanizes the credit union and can generate major interaction from members as they recant their memories and thoughts in relation to each highlighted event.
Avoid Clutter and Strike up a Conversation
While the visual appeal of the timeline lends a significant amount of potential for credit unions to provide interesting content for members, the new two column layout for profile pages can quickly become cluttered and disorganized if not carefully monitored.
As members begin posting their own thoughts and suggestions on the credit union’s wall, back and forth conversations between the designated Facebook manager and the member can further clutter the page with an extensive thread of back and forth conversation. A new feature, previously unavailable to Facebook’s business profiles, can be employed to help credit unions avoid this clutter.
Credit unions can now send and receive private messages between members and the Facebook manager representing the credit union as a whole. Taking the conversation from the wall to a private outlet prevents any added content from clogging up the timeline and allows for deeper conversation and interaction with customers. Utilizing this technique can also be extremely helpful in allowing the credit union to directly address pressing member inquiries that may be best handled in a private, one-on-one environment.
The Bottom Line
While Facebook’s new timeline format has received some backlash from users for being too confusing and too much of a change from the previous design, the new techniques and features it provides are a major plus, especially for businesses. For credit unions (and businesses in general), the key to making best use of the timeline is to consistently keep up with the content being posted online on your behalf and from your members. Highlight and pin items you want members to see and monitor inquiries from members that need to be addressed privately. Do this and your Facebook will be sleek, organized and the best form of free advertisement you could ask for.
Stephen Sprayberry is an account coordinator at William Mills Agency, the nation’s largest independent financial services and technology public relations firm. Follow William Mills Agency on Twitter as well as check out our FinTech Marketing blog.