Is Social Media Really a Jackpot?

There are lots of examples out there of successful viral videos, which give the impression that social media is an easy way to build  brand awareness and generate new customers – but is social media really a jackpot machine that will pay off to all firms?


The following is a summary of the key findings of a 2013 report undertaken by The Financial Brand – their full article is available here.

They looked at a cross-sample of credit unions (which are forms of small mutual banks) in the USA. They were primarily interested in their Twitter usage for business and promotional purposes. Ideally, if a credit union could get their members (what they call their customers) to follow them on Twitter, then this could become an effective form of low-cost communication.

With that highly beneficial outcome in mind, this is the key findings of The Financial Brand’s report:

  • Almost 1 in 3 credit unions appear to have abandoned (that is, no Tweets for 30 days or more) their Twitter accounts,
  • Around 20% of their followers are “junk” – either spam-based or now inactive, and
  • The average credit union only has about 400 followers, which is less than 1% penetration of their membership (customer) base.


  1. Because credit unions are a financial institution, do you think that they will struggle to get their customers to “engage” with them via social media?
  2. Other than Twitter, are there other social media platforms that may be more appropriate for a credit union to use?
  3. Can you suggest any low-cost approaches that the credit unions could use to increase their Twitter following?
  4. Do you think that there is any “downside” with a credit union NOT utilizing social media platforms at all?