Socially-Distanced Marketing, Strategy, and The Force

Tag: news

When Photos Tell a Different Truth

Does your credit union ensure a consistent message through all channels?

If a member walks in to a branch, do they feel like they’re at the same credit union as your website?  I know our partners put great effort into ensuring this consistency.

Imagine if you shared information about your institution online, while using stock photos to represent, or even shots from another credit union altogether.  Once your members arrived at a branch, they’d be confused.  “Am I in the right place?”  Even worse, it could give them an alternative perception of your credit union, for better or worse.  And we know what happens when expectations aren’t met.

Sadly, I saw this today in the mass news media.  This morning, astronauts on the International Space Station made history by harvesting and eating the first produce grown in space.  They grew vegetables…in space!  Add a little oil and vinegar; we’ve got a salad!  (No, seriously, they had little eyedroppers of oil and vinegar for flavor)

It’s a minor historical moment where the date or event won’t be remembered, but the effects will.  So it’s important to get that first story right.  NPR did not.  On their story, “One Small Bite…”, they use a feature photo of a gorgeous test garden.  Wow!  Veggies line the walls!  Except that isn’t on the space station.  But now you have commenters exclaiming how wonderful the station’s garden is.

Will these people ever find out the photo is wrong?

Telling a different story from a photo is misleading journalism, and not including a simple screenshot from the live HD feed is just lazy.

In credit unions as in the world, truth matters.

CUbit out.

#WhatInTheWorldIsAHashtag

Originally published on CUInsight.com

My parents still don’t understand the concept of a hashtag. If you’re reading this article, it’s possible you don’t, either.

That’s ok, since I believe a lot of people are in the dark, yet feel if they asked, people would think them Luddites.

Hashtags, written like #this, have only loose historical comparison (if you think of one, please comment below!).

There are a few ways they are used, and forgive this elder Millennial if I miss some of them!

  • Evolution of language online
    • #ImPuttingWordsTogetherBecauseIRock
  • Community
    • Show support or organize
  • Events
    • Most friends have custom hashtags for their weddings now. #WhatsTheHashtagForStillSingle

Let’s look a bit deeper, because you still may not really understand what they are. I promise by the end you’ll have at least a moderate grasp!

Hashtags Bring People Together

Woman Holding Sign at Protest

On one side, they are catchphrases akin to what you’d see on protest signage or hear repeated at a rally. #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and similar are contemporary examples.

Upon hearing or reading those phrases, you know exactly the issues being discussed. Those using them become virtual participants in a local, regional, or global exchange.

Hashtags Are Links

Link Icon

The other side of hashtags is what technology brings. On numerous social media services, from Instagram or Twitter to Snapchat or Facebook, you can add a “tag” to any post.

In essence, that means you’re writing a phrase or word with the hash character attached (Ex. #myhashtagexample). It has no spaces, even if there are separate words. Here’s the cool part:

When used on compatible services, they become links automatically.

If you or anyone else clicks that link, they are brought to a page showing everyone else’s posts using that same hashtag phrase. Nowadays, these pages refresh real-time, meaning, new entries appear as they are written.

Saving Hashtags and “Trending”

These special pages with everyone’s “tagged” posts (or pictures, videos, links, etc.) can be bookmarked (it’s called a Saved Search) for later access or followed by others with a shared interest.

Ever notice the little hashtag at the bottom corner of TV shows or news segments? I remember for the show 24, the tag was #JackIsBack. Breaking news stories may have #election2020 or similar.

Network Earth

If enough people use the tag in a region or within a timeframe, it can be considered a “Trending Topic”. This means the social media sites will further spread it to others to show the “heartbeat” of society at that very moment.

Hashtags in Credit Unions

Credit Unions use them as well! In fact, I encourage them as part of your social media strategy.

One institution (Affinity FCU, no affiliation) has a hashtag campaign comparing big banks to “Fat Cats”. They write #FatCatFree on every tweet, image, or video shared. This literally unifies them into a single promotion.

I do a bit of hashtagging as well. (Is that a word? It is now.) For my blog, every post relating to a new entry or just something I feel would be of interest to readers is tagged with #cugeek.

If you follow that link or search #cugeek on Twitter, you’ll pull up each related post, past, present, and future, as they arrive. The systems also let you keep track of “topics” (what hashtags are called), so you can always return to a current feed.

Hashtags Are Powerful

Technology can sometimes be overwhelming. Hashtags came into mainstream use so quickly I worry many people didn’t have a chance to understand what they were seeing.

I hope this entry helps make sense of this new phenomenon. They’re a powerful tool you can use to build your brand, community, and the credit union movement as a whole.

Unfortunately, since anyone can use it, they can also be subverted for other purposes. Knowing this, I’m all about finding unique phrases that hold interest only for your group (unlike #OpenYourEyes).

Please comment below with your favorite use of hashtags in your credit union!

#hashtagthisyoungpeople

CUs & Tech…An Opportunity?

What you do while procrastinating is what you should be doing for work.

I read that somewhere while procrastinating, and it rings completely true. My time-substituting vice? I spend a lot of time on technology sites. From space science to consumer electronics, I take it in en masse. In fact, it’s almost embarrassing how informed I am about the field. Almost. Yet this can be an opportunity for us all.

No, I’m not going to tell you what new smartphone you must use, or how marketing simply has to reference a recent discovery. There’s plenty of highly competent people you can refer for those debates.

Instead, we can use this information to find ways to remain at the “bleeding edge” (no blood will be spilled) and help find unique ways to best serve CU members. Better engagement strategies, more profit opportunities, and organizational planning regimes can be found in the most unrelated of topics.

What the heck am I talking about?

Ok, take the recent discovery of a rocky exoplanet that’s 17 times the mass of our beloved Earth. That’s really big when it comes to spinning rocks. In fact, it’s so big that scientists didn’t think it could exist. Our current understanding says it should have become a gas giant, like Neptune. But it didn’t.

Within your credit union, it tells us that thinking “too big” on an initiative can surprise everyone. We only expand our understanding (and belief) when we encounter something that redefines it. So, go big, go unique, even if a traditionalist says it cannot be done.

Like this blog. It’s probably one of the only CU/technology discussions of its kind. Is that bad? Good? Absolutely crazy?

Who is this for?

You! And the CIO; they’ll enjoy a different outlook in their language. And the CEO; they like being told what to do (just kidding!). And your marketing team; the great ones I’ve met are always keeping their eyes peeled for an opportunity to go wild.

Future posts will grow out of the news I read while I’m, um, working. And where will it go? Let’s find out!

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