(Note: this this post focuses exclusively on credit unions-stay tuned for Part 2 on banks)
I’m certain we’ve all heard the logic, “everyone else is doing it, so shouldn’t you?” I’m equally certain that credit unions not involved in social media marketing have recently thought this. According to a 2013 poll by CUNA Mutual Group, 87% of credit unions are investing time and money in Facebook as part of their marketing strategy. Even amongst those using social media, though, it is likely that there is room for improvement.
So to credit unions using or looking to use social media, it’s time to go back to the basics. Remember, it’s not just about being a part of the social media sphere-it’s about what you do with it. And because I think many credit unions could do more, I’ve compiled a list of 7 tips on how credit unions should approach social media marketing in a way that compliments their overall objectives.
1. Set Objectives
Credit unions are member-focused and aim to have more personal relationships with members. One way you, a credit union, can achieve this outside the branch is by establishing a community through social media. When setting objectives, you should focus on utilizing social media to further your critical business objectives such as member acquisition, community engagement, and member service.
Put simply, you should align social media with your credit union’s strategic goals. Build member relationships through social media interaction, provide prompt attention for member issues, and engage readers in order to acquire new members. Campaigns with a purpose are the most successful.
2. Develop a Plan
Don’t just create a Facebook and a Twitter account and expect to see immediate results. In order to gain a following online, you need a plan of action. Think about which social media channels are best, and consider who your audience is. According to Pew Research Center, 67% of online adults use social networking sites, so a majority of your members are likely online. Who does your credit union cater to? What social media channels are your members on? Do your research, and you’ll be rewarded.
3. Engage with Content
Studies have shown better results come with conversational rather than promotional content, so aim to engage rather than sell. Make the content relevant, and post messages in varying media formats focusing on what youraudience wants to read about: credit union events, helpful financial information, alerts, and community events.
(Source: Filene Research Institute Report)
4. Test and Tweak
A big part of success in the social media sphere is trial and error. Keep your content varied and see what drives the most traffic. Frequency of posts is also something to experiment with, although research by the Filene Institute shows that 1-3 Facebook posts per day are optimal for credit unions. Don’t give up if your pages aren’t gaining traction too quickly ( especially Twitter) and just keep testing, tracking, and tweaking! You can also automate posting on multiple platforms with online tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or SocialOomph.
Social media isn’t just a megaphone through which you can deliver information-it’s also a great listening tool. Being able to communicate with people online is extremely valuable, so don’t hesitate to have conversationswith your Facebook and Twitter followers. Respond to comments, produce content that will generate conversation, and listen to what your followers are saying. And don’t shy away from negative comments. Rather, use social media as a means through which to deal with member issues (Andera is hosting a webinaron social media complaints next week!).
A good example of social media interaction by one of Andera’s clients, RBFCU
A Facebook page is far less impactful when left unconnected from your credit union’s other marketing methods. You can connect your social media channels to each other by drive traffic to your Facebook and Twitter pages from your website, and integrating your email communications or newsletters with your social media profiles.
It’s important to monitor and measure the success of your social media presence, and it can easily be done with online analytics tools. For instance, you could use any of the following: Radian6, Trackur, WhosTalkin, Google Alerts, Boardreader, or Twitter Search. Knowledge is power in digital marketing, and the more you know about where you’re doing well and where you could improve, the better your chances of success with social media.
You’ve likely already jumped on the social media bandwagon, so you know it can be a great marketing method. It’s a powerful tool if used properly, so take a moment and think about whether your social media presence is really supporting your credit union’s overall strategic goals. And to hear more about how to leverage social media complaints to improve customer experience, register for our webinar here!