Before you launch your social media program, be sure to set clear business goals for your efforts. It isn’t an “if you build it, they will come” phenomenon, say social media experts.
Setting clear goals is where businesses need the most help, says Steven Ramirez, CEO of management consulting firm Beyond The Arc. His firm helps clients better define their business objectives and how they plan to use social media, asking them if they want to use social media to:
► Promote products and services;
► Create awareness;
► Create new leads;
► Deepen existing relationships; or
► Up-sell or cross-sell.
“You really have to start with what you want to accomplish before using social media,” explains Ramirez.
Ask questions and conduct polls to find out what your members are looking for, he suggests. Then use this data to develop a plan that gives members what they want and helps you achieve your marketing goals.
Polls and blogs
Once you have the framework, remember that people want to be heard. And they appreciate it when you show you’ve heard them. Use social media platforms to speak and sell your message, but start a conversation, too.
TOOLS AND APPS
The list of third-party applications (app) keeps growing. Consider these tools to boost your credit union’s social media marketing efforts:
Booshaka.com: Creates a leader board for followers to measure their participation on your Facebook site.
Northsocial.com: Provides custom apps to create fan promotions and engage followers.
Wildfireapp.com: Helps grow, engage, and monetize your social media audience.
Shortstack.com: Customizes your Facebook page with contests, sweepstakes, videos, and custom forms.
Constantcontact.com: Incorporates social media marketing alongside email marketing.
Hootsuite.com: Allows you to manage multiple social profiles, schedule messages and tweets, track brand mentions, and analyze social media traffic.
Polls and blogs designed to promote conversation about what your followers want to see can be valuable. You might also learn what the competition isn’t doing that can give your credit union a competitive advantage.
Make sure you create content your audience is interested in, suggests Linda Douglas, vice president of marketing at $644 million asset Michigan First Credit Union, Lathrup Village. Social media, incorporated as part of your credit union’s marketing mix, promotes a dialogue about your members’ needs.
The credit union also works with businesses in the community to cross-post information—deepening relationships with businesses and members. High-quality, useful content comes first.
“Content is key,” she says, “so we make sure we aren’t promoting only Michigan First in our posts.”
Mike Powers, vice president of marketing and lending at $211 million asset Garden Savings Federal Credit Union, Parsippany, N.J., agrees. “It’s all about content. If your posts are content-driven, you’ll engage your followers. We focus on financially relevant content that people would find interesting.
“Be vigilant with your social media efforts,” he adds. “Make sure you monitor social media content, be active with it, and don’t let it get stale.”
Another way to engage your followers and get them talking about you is to implement credit union programs that generate excitement. That’s exactly what BuzzBanking is doing for credit union members, says Jay Valanju, CEO of the firm.
A CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, BuzzBanking offers a social media marketing and real-time rewards program with incentives for members when they use their credit unions’ products and services.
The rewards can be redeemed for gift cards to local and national merchants. This creates a win-win for the credit union, the members, and the merchants. The programs become more exciting to members when shared via social media, Valanju explains. Credit unions can offer extra points to members who allow postings in their names, which creates even more online engagement.
NEXT: Measure ROI