PSECU’s focus on corporate social responsibility resonates with Gen Z, says Becky Giannelli, director of integrated marketing, digital, and creative at the $7.9 billion asset credit union in Harrisburg, Pa. “We’re all about being part of the community and giving back. Once Gen Zers realize what a credit union does compared to a bank, they get excited about that.”
Finding the right platform to engage with Gen Z is another key consideration. At Community Credit Union of Florida in Rockledge, that platform is TikTok, says Laurie Cappelli, president/CEO at the $1 billion asset institution.
By posting to this fast-growing platform that primarily appeals to people under age 34, the credit union saw an ideal way to engage young adults in financial education. Its “321 Financial Liftoff” series allowed Community Credit Union of Florida to take an intentional approach to TikTok.
With this series, “we hit the ground running with a full-blown marketing campaign,” Cappelli says. “You've got to make a statement up front and know exactly what you're trying to accomplish and what questions you're trying to solve.”
The credit union partnered with social media influencers to form a panel that spoke at area high schools about their worst financial mistakes, what they’d do over again, and the better decisions they’ve made. Staff videotaped the sessions as part of the 321 Financial Liftoff sessions, which is where TikTok came into play.
Between February and mid-June 2022, Community Credit Union of Florida posted 65 TikTok videos that garnered more than 16,000 views.
To hit the right notes on TikTok, Cappelli suggests hiring an expert or training someone on staff to ensure the campaign’s success.
The credit union took that approach when finding influencers for the 321 Financial Liftoff series, seeking out local influencers who would catch high school students’ attention.
The series featured Alyssa Carson, a Florida Institute of Technology student and an aspiring astronaut; JT Hassell, an NFL player; Emily Zeck of Pineapple Girl Swimwear; Tinasha Dorsey of Bling by Tinasha; and Branden Sewell of Seal Pro Painting.
Before hiring the influencers, staff looked at how many followers they had, what they posted, and whether their image fit the credit union’s values.
Dan Kelley, chief experience officer at Community Credit Union of Florida, suggests finding influencers that are already members of the credit union, adding that four participants in the 321 Financial Liftoff series fit that description.
“They don’t need to have two million followers,” he says, “but maybe they have 30,000 followers in your local market.”
‘The age where we can rely on advertising alone to interrupt our way into people’s lives is gone.’
Credit unions must use content and influencers in a way that fits the particular platform, says Seth Spiro, chief marketing officer at $2 billion asset Tyndall Federal Credit Union in Panama City, Fla. His preferred medium is video.
“Video is critically important for any content marketer interested in engaging and helping members with financial education and wellness,” he says of how the credit union engages consumers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. “There's so much material to share. Video is a great opportunity to do small snippets and bite-size content where we can educate members.”
Cappelli and Kelley advise credit unions interested in TikTok to start as soon as possible, keep videos short, be creative, forget about “going viral,” and allocate enough time to gather engaging, creative, and authentic content.
While Tyndall Federal doesn’t currently use TikTok, the credit union wouldn’t use the platform solely to sell products. Spiro sees it as an engaging way to educate members and illustrate the credit union’s service philosophy.
“We're here to help. Part of that is understanding how members can build their long-term financial health,” Spiro says. “The age where we can rely on advertising alone to interrupt our way into people's lives is gone. Marketers have to come up with content people want to engage with.
“We have an incredible story to tell and a lot of useful information we have to get out to members,” he continues. “We should be thoughtful and intentional. There's a world of opportunity out there.”
Members of Generation Z, who are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation, use social media channels such as TikTok and Instagram as their primary source of financial information, according to Raddon.
Regarding financial services, they’re most interested in debit and credit cards, rewards programs, and stock market investments. Roughly one-third also want financial education and advice.
Look back: Read last week's “Under the Influence” article for more on how influencers impact younger generations.