This article was originally published to Credit Union Times.
The power of being active on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms can’t be overstated. Companies such as Robinhood, a commission-free stock and ETF trading app, have built entire followings through their social media channels. In fact, Robinhood found the social aspect so beneficial that it even integrated an activity feed into its website that allows for further customer engagement. User input builds brands – just as community input can build your credit union.
A solid community connection is the lifeblood of a credit union, and social media is the perfect tool for building it — allowing organizations to engage users across the world or right down the street. When your credit union drives that engagement, it can mean big wins for both your brand and the community at large.
Employees Build Better Social Connections
Simply pushing branded content on company pages isn’t enough in this digital landscape. That’s where credit union employees come into play. The art of connecting an organization’s content with various networks through individual employee social channels is called social selling, and it’s one of the most effective trust-building tactics brands can use.
In fact, 62% of consumers say they trust a brand’s social media messaging more than they trust its paid advertisements. Consumers don’t want to feel targeted by ads pressuring them to buy — they want to relate and form a connection.
The best way a credit union can foster that connection is through its employees.
Wonder how it works? If you share a guide on saving money on the company’s Facebook page, for example, it’s likely to reach only the company’s followers. If an employee shares the post with his or her own extended network, however, it will have a greater reach. And because an individual, not a company, posted the content, the familiarity will create a deeper sense of connection and relatability. There’s more to a strategy than this initial connection, however. The best social strategy for a credit union must provide value and foster engagement within a community.
Outfit Your Credit Union With an Effective Social Strategy
Because a credit union is built to serve its members, the ability to listen socially helps it tailor products and offerings to meet the community’s challenges. When the credit union succeeds, all of its members succeed — and vice versa. However, building, implementing, and maintaining the right social selling strategy is vital. An incomplete strategy can erode the trust that makes a credit union successful.
Follow these best practices for connecting your credit union to the community:
1. Create valuable content that audiences need. Consumers today won’t fall for sales material disguised as useful content. They crave authenticity. In fact, 86% of consumers consider authenticity important when choosing whether to support a brand. To make an impact on readers, content needs to offer something new or explain something in a way audiences have never seen before. Educate audiences on topics they care about, then provide value with actionable steps that tell readers what they can do next with that information.
Your content must also be easy for readers to digest. When people are scrolling through social media, they likely aren’t looking for dense, lengthy content — save that for your whitepapers and e-books. To catch readers’ attention on social, ensure your headlines evoke curiosity and your content is valuable, even when it is skimmed.
2. Share content when most of your audience is online. In addition to posting relevant content on the right social platforms, you must ensure that content is shared at the right time. Even the most well-thought-out, useful social media posts can get lost if they aren’t well-timed. To get the most engagement out of every piece of content you share, schedule posts to go live when your audience is most likely to engage.
To find the best times, use your data to determine when your audience is the most active on each channel. The right social media management tool can easily schedule the posts to go live during these times on behalf of your employees.
3. Prioritize engagement over posting. Social listening is vital for credit unions to meet the ever changing needs of their communities. This means social media should never be a one-way communication channel. When employees share branded content with their networks, they must also engage in conversations.
Monitoring community engagement on social media is the best way for credit unions to ensure they’re meeting the needs of those around them. By engaging followers and driving likes, clicks, comments, and shares, each post can also gain greater reach and provide more value to more readers.
A credit union’s purpose is to serve its members, and social media is one of the best ways to do that. If your social strategy doesn’t utilize employees to build connections in the community, it’s time for a revamp. Think about the value your credit union has to offer, the best times to reach the community around you, and the need to engage that community in a two-way dialogue. Then, create a social strategy that will build up your brand and the world around it.