Your Cohesive Social Engagement Strategy that will Drive Leads

When it comes to digital engagement tools, credit union marketers can use to help them be more effective and efficient, the choices sometimes seem overwhelming. It can be tempting to take an easy approach and work off a checklist as if you were going to the grocery store.

However, my recommendation is to select a set of tools that complement an overall digital marketing and sales system strategy with an end goal to generate leads for loans and new accounts. Otherwise, you will be left with a set of tools that will not be effectively used and ultimately forgotten. For example, you can go down to the hardware store to purchase a shovel, hammer, nails, wood and concrete to build a fence. However, if there is no construction plan in place, then all a person is left with is an unfinished job, while the tools and supplies collect dust.

A good idea for strategic tool selection is to follow a plan that aligns people, product and process around your credit union’s purpose.  Remember, at the end of the day, all consumer roads and paths lead to digital.

Let’s assume your end goal is to create deeper relationships with consumers within your credit union’s community, through digital channels to generate leads for loans and new accounts. You can start by selecting a powerful social management tool, such as HootSuite, that will allow you to effectively live by my three principles of social success in a digital world: listen, learn, engage. HooteSuite makes it easy for you to listen to many conversations in your community, even if you do not follow them on Twitter.

By setting multiple feeds of keywords built around your community, such as your city’s name, local attractions and events, you can then listen to the buzz and conversations of people just as you would at a cocktail party. This will allow you to learn more about individual consumers, what is relevant in their life, and build relationships by engaging with them over time. It will also help your credit union go beyond passively tweeting about the latest rates, promotions and closings and move into a realm of a trusted friend and ally. Another great listening tool is Google Alerts, which helps monitor keywords listed and provide email alerts when one of these keywords is mentioned.

To take this further, you can begin to compile a list of these conversations through a Customer Relationships Management (CRM) tool. The CRM will allow you to make notes about conversations you have on Twitter, for example, with specific consumers and see how relationships evolve over time turning into leads for loans and new accounts. The details do matter and is what makes a relationship human.  However, our research is finding around 48% – 52% of credit unions do not have a CRM in place. In addition, of those that do have a CRM, around 33% – 34% share the CRM is not being used effectively.

The lack of adoption and effective use is limiting the ability for credit unions to easily share member information across the credit union. Let’s take your employees on the front line and in your call center, for example. They can refer to the CRM to review notes of previous interactions (such as Twitter) and tailor the conversations with the consumer based upon the information in the CRM, bridging the gap between digital engagement and face-to-face interaction. And once the conversation is wrapped from their end, they can enter short notes about their conversations with the members, providing further insight into your consumers’ behaviors.

Overtime, as you gain Klout through earned trust with those in your community, on Twitter or other social channels, you can complement these efforts with a thorough content strategy aligning people, product and process around your credit union’s purpose. This helps your credit union go beyond being another financial commodity, but a trusted financial adviser and expert. This content strategy can be complemented through your listening efforts as you can generate content around real-time events within your community. Furthermore, your credit union’s content can be compiled, managed, shared and edited through Google Drive, giving you cloud-based editing capabilities with a shared calendar function.

An example of how all these tools can be used might be at an upcoming community fair or event that draws a large crowd of people. Using Hootsuite, you can schedule tweets that link people back to your credit union’s Blogspot titled, “Five Ways to Save at This Weekend’s Community Fair”.  Then, while out at the event, make sure you take and share pictures using Instagram. If configured correctly, these pictures can be shared via your Twitter and Facebook stream in addition to being compiled into a post-event blog post to be shared as well.

Within a month, take time to analyze your social engagement via the reports that Hootsuite offers to get a better understanding of your credit union’s social success. Review these social engagement reports and compare them to your website’s Google Analytics to ensure your social efforts are effectively driving traffic to your website, which can then be converted into leads for loans and new accounts.

Moving to your credit union’s website, integrating tools such as Eventbrite and GoToMeeting are other effective ways to generate leads for loans and new accounts. For example, as part of your credit union’s content strategy, hold weekly paid (yes, I said paid) webinars that use Eventbrite to handle the registration. Paid webinars build upon the credibility and positioning that you are working to build as a trusted financial expert. Free is overused (isn’t everything free, including many of the previously mentioned apps?) and commoditized, placing your credit union in the same bloodied waters of competition as all other financial commodities. By charging a small fee through GoToMeeting, you can create your own blue ocean, providing valuable, educational content with relevant takeaways, regardless of if they turn into an opportunity for a loan or new account. Furthermore, you can allow time for Q&A, tailoring the information to the specific needs of the viewers, demonstrating your expertise as a trusted financial advisor. And when the event is over, keep the webinar available for on-demand viewing, allowing you to reap the benefits of this material over the course of the next few months.

No matter what digital engagement tools you decide to use as a credit union marketer, to find success, we recommend you audit + analyze where you are to give yourself applicable insight on where you want to go. From there you can develop + execute a digital engagement strategy that can be reviewed and refined over time allowing you to align people, product and process to generate leads for loans and new accounts.

James Robert Lay

James Robert Lay

JAMES ROBERT LAY is one of the world’s leading digital marketing authors, speakers, and advisors for financial brands. As the founder and CEO of the Digital Growth Institute, he ... Web: Details