PR Insight: Using Social Media to Connect with Members & Reach New Ones

person uses a notebook computer laptop for social media interactions with notification icons
By Rachel Smedley

3 minutes

What is your credit union’s social media strategy and how will you manage it?

With social media setting a new standard for engagement and communication, credit unions are in a unique position to exceed member expectations and continue providing superior member service by utilizing social media tools, targeting specific audiences and varying content across their platforms. 

Fostering member relationships shouldn’t end when members walk out the door or log off their mobile app. From checking Facebook updates to posting pictures on Instagram to perusing Tweets from their favorite celebrities, consumers are spending an average of two hours and 22 minutes on social networks every day, according to Digital Information World. This means that using social media to engage with your members can be key in continuing the conversation with them while also connecting with potential new members. 

In fact, out of all the people on social media, almost half are engaging with financial institutions. Meanwhile, financial institutions are seeing a huge increase in the number of people using social media as a tool for discovery and consideration, ultimately taking action from what they’ve learned.

Simplify the Social Media Game

First things first, you need to establish a social media strategy. Your credit union needs to create a roadmap that integrates your public relations messaging to provide members with consistent, professional and relevant content to optimize their social media strategy. 

Don’t forget to include plans for graphic design and video in your social strategy. Who will create graphics and videos? Will your CU have a style guide and/or templates for social posts and videos? Do you have the budget to produce high quality images and videos?

Social media tools (including HootSuite, Buffer, Sprout Social and several others) can streamline member communication, manage multiple accounts, deliver and analyze social media data, and display consistent messaging across all social media platforms. 

Your social media strategy should ensure members are receiving the best your credit union has to offer across the board – the same experience and member service – which helps enhance member relationships and provides an outlet to reach members and communicate with new ones. 

Targeting Specific Audiences and Engaging with Members

Most members interact through multiple channels. In fact, social media is growing to be one of the best ways to engage with existing and potential members. Going beyond the credit union’s branch and website, there are options available to build stronger relationships at a fraction of the cost, according to McKinsey and Company. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat are all avenues credit unions can use. Members and potential members are already on these sites, so why not use these platforms to your credit union’s advantage?

“With 68 percent of adult social media users on Facebook, it’s a pretty sure bet you’ll find an audience on that platform,” reports Sprout Social. In fact, this is a particularly good social networking cite to reach baby boomers and Gen X members. For millennials, Twitter should be considered, as well as Pinterest, which continues to grow and is currently used by 90.4 percent of millennials, according to Oberlo. Finally, to reach the newest banking generation, Sprout Social advises the use of Instagram and Snapchat

Regardless of the platform, however, your credit union needs to keep consistent PR messaging while catering specific content to each target audience. Offering reliable communication and social media content, such as financial advice, fun graphics and videos across all these channels can give your credit union new data sources, insights and ways to connect with your members. 

Finally, Put it All Into Practice

  1. Establish a social media plan and integrate the credit union’s PR messaging and goals into your content across all platforms.
  2. Utilize social media tools for easier management and heightened communication with members.
  3. Enhance member relations by targeting specific audiences on their preferred social media outlet. In doing so, credit unions can improve member attraction and retention to supercharge growth.

Rachel Smedley is an account coordinator at William Mills Agency, the nation’s largest independent public relations firm focusing exclusively on the financial services and technology industries. The agency can be followed on Twitter @wmagency, Facebook, LinkedIn or its blog.

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