6 Signs of a Strong Credit Union Social Media Strategy
Salesforce recently released its third State of Marketing report. Four thousand marketers from around the world, across diverse industries, participated in the research.
A key finding jumped out.
Eight-two percent of marketers believe social media marketing is core to their business. Seventy-five percent reported measuring ROI from the channel.
What a change in perception - not just over past years, but in the last year alone.
Last year, the report found 27% of marketers felt social media would eventually generate ROI with only 28% noting it already producing a result.
This rapid turn around boils down to three things:
- Better strategic planning by marketers;
- Better use of the platforms themselves; and
- More robust paid media capabilities.
Still, credit unions and financial institutions struggle to embrace, adopt and realize the value of social media. When well executed, social media goes beyond tweeting rates or wondering if anyone out there is even listening. Social media can be a powerful acquisition tool, a tremendous means of member engagement and a powerful force for community outreach.
Here are six signs of a strong social media strategy that will get your credit union firing on all social cylinders.
1. You have a plan
Nothing just happens. Social media magic is at the top of that list. Your credit union must plan its work and work its plan. If your credit union can’t answer the question, “Why are we on social media (or why do we want to be)?” then back up.
Doing social media because everyone else is or someone went to a session at a conference isn’t a plan.
Social media must align to a business goal and support that. If you’re just going to post some links and do it because it’s a necessary evil, don’t bother. Seriously. You won’t get any value out of it and it will consume precious time from a colleague’s already busy schedule.
But, if your credit union has goals of driving loan or member growth, or wants to enhance its brand or position in the community, then read on.
2. Your metrics are relevant
With a plan in place, you know what you’re trying to achieve. When you know what you’re trying to achieve, you know what you want to measure.
The result? A decrease in measuring vanity metrics and an increase in measuring ROI metrics as measured by your goal.
Vanity metrics do nothing other then stroke an ego. While it’s great to boast a high fan count, numbers can lie.
Get laser focused on measuring things that matter as relevant to your goal. Tie referral traffic from social to your website for acquisition objectives.
For awareness and member growth, look at interaction, specifically the viral lift of your content on social networks. How far is your message and brand reaching into the social networks of your immediate following? These are the people you want to reach first. They are lookalikes, people with similar demographics and psychographics to your existing members. I call these high value social followers.
3. Your engagement is high
If a mention happens and no one responds, did it happen?
If you’re venturing into social media, be prepared to engage, for better or worse. The premise behind social media is that there is a channel open between members, community and credit unions.
This conversation is rewarded by growth of the social community. If your engagement is lackluster, the health of the community will suffer and the other benefits of social media will be nonexistent.
Make sure you have the resources to engage or engage a resource to make it happen. If you start a snowball, and no one is around to pick it up and start building a snowman, it’s just going to roll down the hill, hit a tree and crush into pieces, right?
It's the same with social media. If you start the process of reaching out and people actually start to engage you, but you don’t engage back, it will all fall apart fast.
Bonus tip: Enlist the rest of your credit union. Tap some expert resources in house to join in as your efforts grow. With a strong social media policy, the right training and the right tools for approvals and controls, you’ll be churning out great engagement.
4. You’re platform frugal
Having 20 social media icons in the footer of your site is only forward thinking if you’re active on each one. Credit unions that are the most successful are frugal about picking the networks that matter to their plan, goals and members.
Just because a social network exists does not mean you have to be on it. Lesss is often more. Period.
5. You leverage paid
There are many reasons why leveraging paid media via social is a sign of a strong social media strategy.
Regardless of what your objectives are on social media, a small paid budget is one way to ensure that your content 1) reaches your following and 2) reaches lookalike audiences, those similar to followers who already engage with you.
If you have an email list, this is also a quick way to give your social media following a quality follower count boost leveraging custom audiences.
Custom audiences let you engage with your email list via social media ads and create another touch point for the super savvy, modern, always on credit union that you are.
For credit unions looking to leverage social media for member or loan growth, the opportunities are even larger. Remember my column last month about marketing data outside your core system? This is one big area where, cha ching, you can make an impact.
6. You appreciate platform nuances
The final sign of a strong social media strategy is when you understand each platform. Have you ever wondered why people have so many profiles? Because each platform is unique and creates an experience of its own. The best credit union social media strategies take their plans and execute tactics leveraging platform nuances: Facebook live videos, Twitter chats, Swarm check in tips, etc. Blanket messages across platforms will work for a while, but the major impact comes from unique experiences that leverage platform nuances.
The reality is that the most successful credit union social media strategies boil down from the six pillars above into three core elements: Planning, consistency and measurement.
- Plan your work and work your plan.
- Be consistent in your use and engagement.
- Measure and optimize your efforts.
The difference between lack luster social media performance and achieving your goals isn’t as far as you think.
Ryan Ruud is the founder and CEO of Credit Union Consulting Group and Lake One Digital. He can be reached at 612-799-0803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.