Community Credit Union of Florida President/CEO Laurie Cappelli, Community Credit Union Chief Experience Officer Dan Kelley, and Tyndall Federal Credit Union Chief Marketing Officer Seth Spiro discuss credit unions’ use of TikTok.

Engaging younger audiences through TikTok

Delivering financial education by meeting millennials and Gen Z where they’re at.

July 20, 2022

Community Credit Union of Florida‘s leaders are always looking to educate and attract younger members. While examining how to accomplish that, one social media platform stood out: TikTok.

By posting to a fast-growing platform that primarily appeals to people under age 34, the $968 million asset credit union saw an ideal way to engage millennials and Generation Z in financial education.

But the credit union didn’t just start posting halfhearted content on the video- and music-based platform. Developing the 321 Financial Liftoff series allowed Community Credit Union of Florida to take an intentional approach to TikTok.

“One thing we didn't do with Facebook and Instagram was to go out with a specific purpose,” says President/CEO Laurie Cappelli. “With the 321 Financial Liftoff series, we hit the ground running and it was a full-blown marketing campaign. 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.”

Every platform is different and should be approached differently from a marketing perspective. Therefore, Tyndall Federal Credit Union in Panama City, Fla., which uses Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, is taking a longer look at TikTok before jumping onto the platform.

Seth Spiro, chief marketing officer at the $2 billion asset credit union, says the first step toward any marketing decision is looking into who is using the platform, how they’re using it, and whether the credit union should enter the space.

Before using TikTok, Community Credit Union of Florida marketers needed material. Therefore, 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.

The credit union videotaped the 321 Financial Liftoff sessions, which is where TikTok came into play. Between February and mid-June, the credit union posted 65 TikTok videos that garnered more than 16,000 views.

The credit union’s posting cadence is typically set for Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It includes a series where marketing staff interview employees about topics such as establishing credit or buying a house.

It’s important to set a cadence and know the different social media audiences, says Chief Experience Officer Dan Kelley. “Tailor your content for the social media platform, then establish cadences so you're posting content at the same time and same frequency each week. That's how the algorithms really pick up. They're looking for a certain amount of content and frequency.”

‘Video is critically important for any content marketer interested in engaging and helping members with financial education and wellness.’
Seth Spiro

Find the right people

To hit the right notes on TikTok, Cappelli suggests hiring an expert or training an internal team member to make sure the campaign is successful.

Community Credit Union of Florida took that approach when finding influencers for the 321 Financial Liftoff series. Rather than existing employees discussing financial literacy, the credit union found local influencers who would catch the high school students’ attention.

The 321 Financial Liftoff 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, the credit union looked at how many followers they had, what they posted, and whether their image would be a good fit.

Kelley suggests finding influencers that are already members of the credit union, adding that four participants in the 321 Financial Liftoff series were members of Community Credit Union.

“That doesn't mean they have to have two million followers, but maybe they have 30,000 followers in your local market,” he says.

Find the right formula

Credit unions must use content and influencers must in a way that fits the particular platform. On TikTok, that means video. Spiro says the app has taught marketers to embrace humor and to be brief.

“Video is critically important for any content marketer interested in engaging and helping members with financial education and wellness,” he says. “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.

Also, approach TikTok with care and don’t treat it as a personal account.

If Tyndall Federal creates a TikTok account, it won’t use the platform to only sell credit union 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've got an incredible story to tell,” he continues. “We've got a lot of useful information we have to get out to members. We should be thoughtful and intentional, and there's a world of opportunity out there.”