Posts Tagged ‘Verity CU’

To tweet or not to tweet: Is it even a question?

November 18, 2009

To tweet or not to tweet?

Is it still even a question?

Like everyone else, I only reluctantly joined the twitterverse initially. Nearly universally, people hearing about Twitter for the first time think it’s a dumb idea, one that has zero business use, and only marginal personal use. I think this reaction happens nearly for nearly everyone because you can’t see or understand Twitter until you get inside it.

Recently, the business case for twitter was poo-poo’ed by a real estate blogger, and it drew a strong reaction from realtors that successfully use twitter in their business. One of the commenters in favor of twitter stated that twitter users are in the top 2 percentile of intelligence. While clearly this is an overstatement, not based on facts, it IS possible to have a twitter experience of only very smart people. What sets social media apart from the broadcast model that preceded it is that EVERYONE gets to control who is or is not in their very own network. If you want to only follow brilliant people, then you are free to do so.

Because I’ve been in the twitterverse for so long (more than two years), it’s hard for me to remember that many people haven’t been exposed to it, nor have the time to develop a quality group of people to tweet with. Twitter advocate and consultant Laura Fitton (@Pistachio) continues to make arguments for twitter for businesses. I applaud that she is bridging the gap. But for many people, they will simply have to experience Twitter, or at least see it in action, to understand its usefulness.

I was recently witness to a new use of Twitter that leaves me chuckling and shaking my head…. and that is as extension of one’s own brain. Shari Storm, VP of Marketing at Verity CU in Seattle, and author of Motherhood is the New MBA, recently tweeted that she had written a note to herself, “Evaluate MOH”, and couldn’t remember what it meant. Lo and behold, several of her twitter followers chimed in with possible meanings of MOH. Many replies were funny, and the correct answer, Messages On Hold, was mentioned by several people.

Think about that for a second… Shari wrote a note to herself, designed for her eyes only, forgot what it meant, and then asked friends and strangers for help deciphering it. And they did! What better case for Twitter could be made than as extension of one’s own brain?

By the way, what got me hooked on Twitter, back in 2007, after the typical false start phase that everyone goes through, was a tweet sent by Brent Dixon relaying something that Shari said in a presentation that was occurring 1000 miles away from me at the time. Brent tweeted that Shari said “of new members joining Verity CU, three times more cite their blog as the reason than direct mail.” It was an important bit of information that I would have never known had it not been for Brent, Shari, and twitter. And I was hooked.

If you are interested in hearing Shari talk about her book, Motherhood is the New MBA, you can hear her interviewed, 30 minutes into this 60 minute TQ Radio show, recorded Monday Nov 16, 2009.

Congratulations Credit Unions, on a Century of Service

March 12, 2008

I have the great honor and pleasure of talking to credit union professionals all over the nation. The subject of the proud history of CUs, holds special meaning to me because I had worked with the movement for about ten years before I learned ANYTHING about its incredible history. I certainly had no idea that the movement started in my backyard, a hop skip and jump across the border, in Manchester, New Hampshire.

I gave a talk on social media and World 2.0 this morning to a group of about forty credit union marketing professionals from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire at the CU League’s headquarters in Marlborough, Mass. I asked about the movement’s founding, and it was wonderful to get a detailed answer. In our presence was a representative of that very first CU, Andrea Pruna of St. Mary’s Bank. Not only did she know the date by heart (November 24, 1908), but she let us know about a wonderful section of their web site devoted to this, the Centennial Year of Credit Union service. I encourage everyone to check out Celebrating 100 Years for a terrific look at the amazing road we’ve traveled so far.

This is one of the reasons I’m especially excited that BarCampBank NewEngland will be held in America’s Credit Union Museum on April 5. The museum is the actual house where St. Mary’s Bank first began operations 100 years ago, out of the home of Attorney Joseph Boivin, who served as the CU’s President. If you listen very carefully, you may hear the whispers of the generations that have preceeded you when you stand in the parlor of the building.

Shout-outs to so many of the fabulous credit union marketers who came today. Thanks to Jon Reske and Anne Pinkerton from UMassFive College FCU, Mark Vautour from Telephone Workers CU, Deena Bernier from NMTW Community CU, and Debra Perrin from Southern Mass CU. I’m not good with names, so I haven’t remembered those who I met for the first time, but thank you also. It was fun that we had four one-billion-dollar CUs represented as well, Greylock FCU in the Berkshires, HarborOne CU in the South Boston area, DCU of the Worcester area, and Navigant CU in RI. Thank you to Rob Kimmett for organizing a great event and inviting me, and it was wonderful to catch up with CU whirlwind Bonnie Doolin.

My presentation today included demonstrating and explaining Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and showed examples from Shari Storm and the Verity CU team, William Azaroff of Vancity CU and Change Everything, Ginny Brady, board member of UFirst FCU with the Boardcast, and Tim McAlpine of Currency Marketing with Larissa Walkiw, spokesperson for Young and Free Alberta, and her infamous Credit Union Difference video part one, currently at 16,228 views. On the topic of Facebook, I have started writing a paper on the Facebook as Marketing Engine and plan on publishing excerpts to this blog. For those interested in checking out twitter, here’s the one-page PDF of Twitter Tips.

I also touched on Peer-to-Peer Lending (P2P Lending), Prosper’s amazing growth rate, and how CUs can participate by getting in touch with Doug True, SVP of Lending, at Forum CU. Doug has been instrumental in having P2P Lending company Zopa partner with CUs to offer NCUA-insured loans and investments.

Ginny Brady, UFirst Boardcast

September 13, 2007

The highlight of the afternoon had to be Ginny Brady. Just as Shari Storm of Verity CU is the first CU employee to blog, I would wager that Ginny Brady is the first Board Member of a CU to blog. I had learned of Ginny’s blog via OpenSource CU, but I had never put two and two together to realize that Ginny was in upstate New York, about a four hour drive away from Western Mass. The real delight of the session was learning that not only is Ginny blogging her credit union’s annual meeting, and putting photos from it on Flickr, she’s explaining how to use Google maps to create personalized mashups. Wow. I complimented Ginny on being more advanced than her CU’s marketing agency. I think that blogging is a natural fit for the cooperative, democratic nature of CUs and their boards. CU Board members sincerely want to represent their members. How better to do that than to engage them via a blog? So if you are a credit union professional or board member, and aren’t currently blogging, the real question is why not? There is no better way to engage your membership in dialogue, at the same time letting the members know what you and your CU are up to.

Scott, William, Trey, Brent, and Shari in SpokaVegas

September 13, 2007

Thursday in Spokane started off with a bang… I bumped into Shari Storm, VP of Marketing for Verity CU, and author of the first blog in CU land. I first met Shari in Suquamish in May. Also in the morning, Scott Bedbury, author of a New Brand World, gave the morning’s opening talk, followed by a great skit orchestrated by Trey Reeme and Brent Dixon. I also got to talk more with William Azaroff, creator of Vancity CU’s Change Everything program. And I was glad that Chuck, Cynthia, Mark, and Gail of United Health Services CU in Spokane had the opportunity to hear Scott Bedbury reinforce the brand principles that we’ve been working with them on since March of this year.

In the afternoon, I was delighted to learn about all of the great things that William’s Change Everything blog is doing in the Vancouver region. Having Vancity Credit Union be naked to the world is not without its challenges, and it was fascinating to learn how he’s dealing with that.


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