Be a Social Media Sniper

Yesterday I had lunch at Cafe Rio, a fast-food Mexican restaurant mainly located in the southwest. Before heading out for lunch I had an exchange with a couple of Twitter friends about eating burgers at Five Guys. My plan was to head to Five Guys, but Cafe Rio won out. When I returned home, I closed the loop on the conversation with my friends by letting them know that I ended up eating at Cafe Rio rather than Five Guys. 

Now, where is this story going? I was doing some last minute checking of email last night and found that a restaurant called Zaba’s Mexican Grill was following my @tglatt handle on Twitter. I had never heard of Zaba’s, and for a minute wondered why they would follow me…until I remembered my Twitter post regarding my visit to Cafe Rio. Zaba’s was trolling, and with a quick click of a “follow” button instilled an awareness in me of their existence, their menu, and their convenient locations (right down the street!). I’m going to try them out (but not before Five Guys).

In any case, this social media experience got me to thinking about social media strategy for credit unions. Maybe the Zaba’s approach is really what credit unions need to get more from their social media efforts. Based on research conducted by The Financial Brand and reported in an article posted to their website last month, it is obvious that what many are doing now isn’t working all that well. A new, targeted approach for building brand awareness may be just the right step for credit unions struggling with the challenge of using social media tools.

So, to the Zaba’s approach. I think it can be compared to the efforts of a sniper. A sniper sits quietly by and picks off targets of opportunity. That is exactly what Zaba’s did. Their social media expert sat back, waited for an easy target (someone who likes Mexican food) to come strolling by, and hit them (me!) with a free, direct message about their brand. Brilliant.

If you are a social media expert, this whole post will underwhelm, but if you are trying to find a useful role for social media at your credit union, or a strategy that works, this post outlines an easy way to get you going.

Consider this link:!/search/credit%20union%20checked%20in

Or this one:!/search/bank%20checked%20in

Where do these links go? To Twitter searches for people checking in to credit unions and banks across the country. Each one of them is a target of opportunity. You can click on their handle, find out where they live, follow them, and in the process establish a degree of awareness about your brand that might not have existed before. It only takes a second, and the reward may be a newly minted member of your credit union.


  1. Trolling is creepy. When someone — or some entity — follows me because of something I mention (product, restaurant, etc.), then yes, I become aware of them, but not in a positive light. Awareness is only one marketing goal. Positive affinity is another.

    1. I think the creepiness factor depends on how far you take it. If you see someone check in to or mention a bank competitor, follow them, and then ask what they are wearing then yes, that is creepy. What Zaba’s did, though…I don’t see that as creepy. If people are in the habit of broadcasting what they are doing and where, via public vs. private accounts, they are inviting people/institutions to follow them based on those broadcasts. Zaba’s didn’t hijack my browser or anything. They followed me, and I took the initiative after that to learn more about them. Any positive affinity I develop for them will depend on their food, service, etc. – should I choose to visit them. Their following me didn’t impact my affinity for them one way or the other since I have had no real interaction with them.

      Of course, after all this maybe they can drop off a free taco!

  2. Credit Unions will need to initiate the conversation with prospective members through interesting and relevant content. Note that I said interesting and relevant. Relevant to the services offered by the Credit Union and relevant to the likely needs of prospective member. Interesting to the prospective member so that the discussion triggers the beginning of a new relationship rather than an out of hand dismissal (As happens today with content related to branch hours, volunteer work, cutest cat contests, etc.).

    This of course requires several things, including
    1) understanding CU capabilities
    2) defining CU’s goals and objectives, especially relative to its member strategy
    3) defining member segments and identifying a short list of key factors / topics most relevant to them
    4) “meeting” prospective members based on their preference of where/when/how
    5) actively engaging including enabling the continuation of the digital communication throughout the account opening process, onboarding process and relationship management

    Are Credit Unions prepared to engage?

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