Facebook celebrated its 11th birthday last February, and like the nephew you rarely see, it’s probably not the same youngster you remember. If your credit union is not on Facebook – or if you haven’t revisited your Facebook strategy in a few years – here are ten new reasons to pump up your game.

1. Facebook is fast becoming a business channel. More than 30 million businesses now have a Facebook fan page, and the recent addition of a ‘buy’ button will accelerate its goal of becoming a global super-mall. Last year, sales exceeded $1 billion. Its treasure trove of personal data makes marketers salivate and is one reason why Target and Shutterfly recently opened sites.

2. Teenagers are jumping off, but the older crowd is jumping in. Between 2011 and 2014, Facebook saw a 25% drop in teens ages 13-17, while usage from the 35-54 crowd rose by 41%. Those over 55 jumped even higher to 80%. For the first time, more than half of all online adults ages 65 and older (56%) use Facebook. This is not your kid’s Facebook.

3. Despite what you may have heard, Facebook continues to grow. Since its inception in December 2004, growth has only continued. Approximately 1.4 billion people click on the site daily. Competitors may snipe at the social media king, but nothing comes close to its global reach, and the fact daily users spend an average of four hours per day on the site.

4. For credit unions with small budgets, nothing matches Facebook’s cost-efficiency. Target an audience by education, zip code, age, gender – even propensity to buy a house – and you reach your ideal market. Plus, by paying only for prospects that click on your ad, there’s virtually no waste. That’s why 1.5 million businesses spend money on Facebook ads.

5. The demise of newspapers, a popular media option for financial institutions, has been replaced by Facebook for community news and opinions. If you could hear the daily posts from area residents commenting on community events, garage sales, restaurants and personal stories, your marketplace would be alive with chatter and your voice would be missing.

6. Facebook is the place where young people – and older people – go for news. About six in 10 millennials get their political news from Facebook in a given week – more than from any other source, according to the Pew Research Center – while 37% get their political news from TV. A surprising 39% of baby boomers receive their news from Facebook and 60% from TV. Facebook is the emerging news destination.

7. More than 60% of customers say mobile banking is an important or extremely important reason for switching institutions. A preference for mobile makes Facebook a great way to reach on-the-move members. More than half their ad revenue comes from mobile advertising. Half a billion users access the social network use only a mobile device, which means 38% of Facebook users never log in via desktop.

8. Owning your own Facebook page offers a measure of security. Without owning your Facebook page, hackers can put up a phony page as part of a larger scam to deceive your customers.

9. Looking for audiences just like your current members? Facebook launched Lookalike Audiences in 2013 to help you identify prospects. Upload a member list – or a list of web visitors if your compliance department objects – to Facebook, and they will match the profile data and send your ad to Facebook users with similar interests and demographics. You can also compile lists of members by product usage, and Facebook will find matching prospects.

10. Keep an eye on your new competitor. Last year, Facebook applied for an e-license from Ireland’s central bank to allow it to create, send and store digital currency throughout the ITS European network. After obtaining money services business licenses from 48 U.S. states, Facebook now allows U.S. customers to transfer money through its Messenger service. The lucrative international remittances market is next, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg says he won’t think about charging a fee until the service reaches one billion users.

Banks and credit unions lag behind retailers when it comes to making Facebook a part of their marketing strategies. Regulatory issues and an inability to control the message has kept many away. But as it becomes clear that the social media giant is interested in revenue far more than in conversation, it’s time for financial institutions to become a part of the action.

Share →