How does a credit union get ROI out of Facebook?

Does your credit union struggle and do you have internal debates about whether or not to be on Facebook? Most credit unions aren’t, and it’s shocking to me, because if you’re a member-owned cooperative (which you are), Facebook is this incredible vehicle for creating constant engagement with your members – and your members will love it. It’s a great way for them to tell their friends how awesome you are, and for them to be influenced to make better-educated decisions about what products and services they need, and to get the financial education that the credit union wants to deliver.

Today we’re talking about how your credit union can judge that and see quick results to create the value proposition so you can get your board, management team, etc. on board and using Facebook in your day-to-day marketing.

It starts with how your members learn. We all go through a linear approach. It starts with Desire, then moves into the Learn stage, where you’re asking, “How am I going to figure this out?” We all want to be educated. Then the process continues with Know, where we’ve learned a lot of information and feel good about our decision. Then we move to Trust: “Can I trust that the company I’m buying this from will match what I’ve learned and known?” Then when I feel like I have that Trust, I want to Buy. So now the buy process has to match those same Desire, Learn, Know, and Trust components. Then finally, you start getting into Consuming. I’ve decided I want that checking account, now I want to use it. My service expectation and my marketing needs to match that component. The next two stages are Validate and Refer. The promised land of all of this is Refer. That’s why we track consumer loyalty and try to get at the likelihood of our members referring, but the truth is if you haven’t combined all those things together, you’re not going to accomplish that.

The Validate component of all this is where social media comes in. In every one of those stages, validation is key. First, in Desire, your members have a desire. They want a new car, a new house, to go to school, etc. That desire is probably shared by their friends and colleagues, and by the people they trust and love the most. And social media is a great place to find out about that and help them figure out if they want that.

Then in the Learn, Know, Trust, and Buy components, they’re trying to figure out what is the best solution to their problem. On social media, they’re going to ask friends, neighbors, and parents about this. Twenty years ago, you might only ask family members, but I’ll speak personally here: my parents are great, but my Mom’s a CPA, my dad’s an engineer, and they’re completely clueless about financial services. I’m going to go to people who are financial experts for that advice. Our financial experts are our friends, our family, etc., and we’re going to be most connected to those people on social media.

At the Consuming stage, I want to be able to tell people when I have a great, remarkable experience. People want to share that online. This happens less for financial institutions, but it’s going to happen more and more, and your credit union needs to be ready.

Let’s say you’ve decided you want to incorporate validation and social media into marketing channels. How do you do that?

1.Create your facebook page.

2. Pre-seed your page.

Get your employees and your board to like your page, engage on it, and give you some quick feedback. Does it have the right information? Does it send the right message to your members?

3. Educate.

You’re already creating your content or videos or educational seminars that your credit union’s already doing. Just talk about them on social media. Just post something like this: “We’re having a conference this Thursday at 4 o’clock to talk about how to get your first mortgage.” Just share that same content.

4. Do surveys.

Ask your members survey questions. It doesn’t matter what question. Remarkably, by doing surveys of your members and the people on your Facebook page, they’re going to get engaged.

5. Do some contests.

Offer a special deal. If they call in and mention that they saw this deal on social media, they get a half point of the next product, or they get a fee refunded, or they get a free doughnut at the branch. Again, it doesn’t matter what the contest is: it just gives your members added value for watching your Facebook page. It trains them to watch for that stuff.

6. Always ask questions.

When you post a piece of content – maybe you’re trying to educate them on the best type of car loan, or the best way to buy a house or refinance a house – when you post that content to your members, ask a question. That’s going to encourage comments and dialogue. Your content could be, “How to get your first mortgage,” then your question could be, “Has anybody had a great experience with our credit union getting your first mortgage?” Then your members will volunteer and answer that. Sure, they might complain, and we’ll cover in another post what you do if they do (because that can be a great opportunity for you to turn and create your custom shoppers for your credit union). But you can’t be worried about that at this point. This is a great time to try it, because you’re not going to have a lot of people paying attention to your Facebook page yet.

7. Always tag key influencers.

When you first create the page, if you’re a seg-based credit union, you want to go like and follow the people who are in your segs. That could be the CEOs of the segs, the marketing people of the segs, anybody who you know and have a relationship with and know they already love your credit union. That’s great because people like to reciprocate, and if you follow them, they’re going to follow you in that same fashion. Once they’re following you, that content’s going to get exposed to the people that follow that CEO of that seg. So if you’re following Bob, who’s CEO of XYZ seg, the people who follow Bob, who are probably his employees and the people in his community, are also going to see your content.

If you’re a community-based CU, you want to follow and like the mayor, fire chief, head librarian, teachers – anybody who’s a community figure, because being able to get that new source of information about the community becomes really key and is a great way to reciprocate that influence out to the community.

When you’re posting content, you want to tag those key influencers. If you tag them, it automatically shows up in their feed, which means they’re going to be talking about you. Plus, they’re probably going to like being tagged, because who doesn’t like it when they’re friends are like, “Hey, look what Kurt did last night!” I always like that. (Well, most of the time…)

When you tag these influencers, then you can follow that through and push that content out through their channels and get the power of those influencers back into your credit union.

8. Validate measures.

Facebook has great metrics for showing you which content does well, which posts do well, which people are engaged, etc. That becomes really vital information for helping to improve that digital experience for your members and being able to measure that.

To recap, every credit union needs a Facebook page. I don’t care if you get really into it or not, but it’s a good start. It needs to have your hours, address, and key location information. You need to post regular information; like your influencers and get them engaged; post events, surveys, and contests; and always talk about things going on in your community. If you do that, you’ll have a great Facebook launch. We can talk later about what you do at that point, but this will get you going and start getting you some immediate results with Facebook for your credit union.

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