How banks should leverage trusted networks to forge stronger community ties

Trusted networks — groups of individuals or businesses connected by common goals and mutual credibility — are an opportunity for banks and CUs to deepen relationships.

How can banks and credit unions transform existing customers into local ambassadors — brand advocates who promote their business? Bonding with external trusted networks is certainly part of the answer. But how marketers approach and activate such networks — to strengthen their brand locally and gain organic recommendations — is changing.

“Trusted networks” are groups of individuals or businesses external to an institution that are connected by common goals and mutual credibility, and can significantly influence the perceptions, decisions and behaviors of their members. Trusted networks used to be considered to mean friends and family and perhaps local churches, but in recent years that has evolved to include a broader spectrum of organizations — ranging from formal (e.g., Chamber of Commerce chapters) to informal (e.g., book clubs and Facebook groups).

All these bear high potential for community banks and credit unions looking to promote the value of their products and convey their local market knowledge.

A few data points tell the story: A commanding 90% of people trust recommendations from friends and family (while 70% of people believe consumer reviews), according to HubSpot. At the same time, social media posts by customers reach a significantly larger audience and generate more clicks than posts by brands, according to GaggleAmp research — because 73% of people find posts from, you know, actual humans to be more persuasive than from a faceless company.


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