Your credit union is already on social media. And it rocks, right? No? So what’s missing?
To clarify, social media is not an end upon itself. It’s part of a larger strategy. For that, you need to be looking at your overall Inbound Marketing plan. So how does social media fit in? Now you’re asking the right questions!
This article will help you decide which channels make the most sense, why video is so important, and how much you have to put in for results to follow (less than you think!).
I’ll also assume you already have a buyer persona, as this helps you visualize who you’re actually looking to engage.
Why Use Social Media?
In your personal life, social media helps stay in touch with friends and family. Perhaps you get some of your news through it (you wouldn’t be alone; just make sure to fact-check anything you read). You may even follow brands you love for deals and updates.
Hey, wait a second…your credit union is a brand!
Whether personal or business, social media has the same goals:
- Sharing content your followers care about
- Inform them and inspire action
Admit it, you swipe past boring posts. Imagine how many miles your finger has swiped…
Ok, so what’s the point of social media? This is going to sound really silly:
- Sharing media to encourage a social connection
Let’s keep that objective in mind as we look to your credit union’s social presence. We’ll cover:
- Social media demographics
- Management tools
- Importance of video
The objective is to create strong Organic Social Media Marketing. Want to spend money on paid social media marketing? That’s great. It might make sense. We’re not covering it here.
What is Organic Social Media Marketing?
Great question. Organic Social Media Marketing is a way of connecting with customers and potential ones through direct content engagement. In other words, this includes your posts, memes, GIFs, tweets, videos, blogs, and more.
The “organic” part means it’s non-promotional, as in, you didn’t pay to “boost” or sponsor any of it (not to say you won’t or can’t). It can have promotional messaging, but you didn’t pay to get it on their screens.
Organic and paid social media marketing are two sides of the same effort. But unless you like handing your marketing budget over to Facebook with little to show for it, organic is where you want to start.
Who Uses Social Media, Anyway?
In a word, everyone.
73% of American adults use YouTube. 69% use Facebook. 74% of them sign in every day (myself included). 37% use Instagram. Other platforms include Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter, respectively by usage.
Sidenote: Just because people use a platform doesn’t mean it’s where you should be! Ok, I wanted to get that out before you ran for the nearest post button.
Social media is everywhere. At the coffee shop? Sip, scroll, sip, scroll the Facebook feed. Commuting to work? Check out that Instagram feed (and I sure hope they’re not driving). Out to a work lunch? You know at least one is checking LinkedIn for job offers.
These people are doing more than connecting with friends, celebrities, and job opportunities on social media. They’re also engaging with brands they buy from and admire (or are considering doing business).
Does Your Financial Institution “Do” Social Media?
What’s your social media presence? Do you have accounts on the big three? (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). If you’re not yet a part of that trifecta, you’re part of a shrinking minority: Nearly 9 out of 10 banks are somewhat or very active on social media.
Only a few years ago, engaging with customers and prospects on social media seemed like the new frontier. Today, it’s old hat. Yet not everyone does it well, so it can represent a unique opportunity when you have a plan.
Mastering the art of social media can help you:
- Raise brand awareness
- Build community
- Drive engagement
- Generate new leads
- Assist customers with issues promptly and personally
In order to meet expanding consumer expectations, brands on social media must ensure they’re abiding by best practices.
How can you do this in an age of literally “blink-and-it’s-gone” content and fleeting attention spans? By answering the right questions ahead of time. Then, when you do post, you engage people how you want to be seen.
Social Media Platforms
Where should your financial institution be? It’s a great question and the answer depends on a few things:
- Who is your target demographic?
- What devices do you want to target?
- What kind of content do you want to post?
- What is your primary brand message?
Aiming for the Gen Z audience? They’re not heavily represented on LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn is great for another field of membership…small businesses. LinkedIn has a high concentration of college-educated, upper management American workers and business owners.
Why care about them? Can anyone say, “small business services”?
Plus, since LinkedIn leans towards B2B, you open another opportunity: New partners for your CU SEG.
Overwhelmed? Ok. Start small with the 3 most popular platforms for financial institutions:
Feeling ambitious and shutter-happy? Add Instagram to the mix.
Here’s a breakdown of the demographics of each social media platform:
- Facebook: 69% of Americans use Facebook; a majority of virtually every demographic uses the platform, only excluding <18 and >65
- Twitter: Most popular for people in their 20s (40% of 18-29 year olds use Twitter)
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn’s user base is pretty evenly spread across ages 18-64 but is most popular with ages 30-49
- Instagram: Instagram leans toward a younger audience; there’s a dropoff in users once you hit age 30; mostly concentrated on ages 13-29 (Gen Z!)
When you choose platforms, you also need to make sure your content works on it. The way you write for Twitter is different than Facebook posts or articles on LinkedIn. And then there’s video. Which I strongly encourage you embrace. We’ll cover it at the end.
Social Media Management Tools
Automation that makes sense is where it’s at. You’re busy. Save time and get great insights into the activity, performance, and engagement across all your social channels.
Social media management platforms exist to make your life easier.
Using a social media management tool helps you save time, stay organized, optimize efficiency, keep a pulse on your audience, and respond to comments, complaints, or questions promptly.
Here are a few of the more popular options:
*I use or have used these platforms for social media management
If you’re working with limited resources (and who isn’t?), you can explore free or low-cost tools like Canva (I may receive compensation if you sign up using this link) for graphic design or Biteable and Vyond (formerly GoAnimate) for video creation tools.
None of these are as good as an in-house designer, but you get a lot for the investment.
Sidenote: My company’s eBooks are created using Canva.
Take One: Video
Video content is where it’s at. If you’re not recording, you’re missing out. In 2019, 81% of businesses used video as a marketing tool. Mobile video consumption doubles every year. Video posts get shared 1200% more often than text and images alone.
You don’t need a videographer, studio, and professional equipment. Sure, they help, but you can get far with a phone, tripod, and microphone (lavalier). Modern phone cameras are high-quality, and this also gives your content a homemade and authentic feel.
Since your credit union is about connecting real people, humanizing your video content delivers real value. Make videos which are entertaining, funny, or informative. Even if they’re not great, the only way you’ll learn and improve is to keep pressing record.
Video is only going to get more popular, and it’s rapidly becoming the preferred form of content consumption across all social media platforms.
Hiring The Pros?
So when does it make sense to invest in the professional? If you’re creating a brand video to tell your credit union story (please, please, please, don’t spend 75% of the video talking about how you’re a unique community institution), make it memorable.
Spend some money and get it recorded with the perfect lighting, background music, transitions, logo bumpers, and overall feel.
What’s your brand worth? Convey it to current and prospective customers at its clearest and finest.
Now that you understand the appeal for each service, you can better decide which make the most sense. Remember, your resources are limited and it’s 100% ok to not do them all at once. Start where you believe the best return will be.
Oh, and final note: Get everyone involved! Share content from your IT team, your CEO, loan officers, and satisfied members. If your culture is inclusive, show, don’t tell your growing followers!