Social media is based on people sharing ideas and information, creating online communities and conversations. We’ve already told you about a few of the social media management systems we’ve tested, and the importance of maintaining your presence on social media. But, to let you in on a little trade secret, you already have access to your best social media marketing tool…
Your people. The ones that work next to you and across the hall, in every department and branch of your credit union.
Real people. People who believe in your mission and purpose, who are your true advocates, emotionally invested in helping the CU grow.
Your best social media marketing tool is your staff.
If you are like most credit unions, only a few of your members like your Facebook page or follow you on Instagram. This is probably because they are focused on connecting with other people they know, not an organization they don’t know much about.
But if your members are on social media, so is your staff. Don’t forget they’re people too, and they probably have a lot of friends online. Getting them involved could help you make their friends, your friends.
As your CFO might suggest, let’s look at the numbers:
- 53% of people trust a regular employee as very/extremely credible, even more than a CEO (47%).
- LinkedIn found out that employees tend to have 10x more followers than the company they work for.
- And, according to Pew Research, the average number of friends per user is 338 just on Facebook (and that number is from 2014).
So if your credit union has 50 employees, that means almost 17,000 people are already socially connected to your staff. That’s a whole bunch of potential members – assuming you can get your staff to introduce you.
But how do you get them (and management) to buy into that idea?
Build the culture and walk the talk.
If you are asking staff to become ambassadors for the credit union, there has to be more to their jobs than a paycheck. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer:
- 78% of people believe that how a company treats its employees is one of the best indicators of its level of trustworthiness
- 67% of employees expect their employer to have “a greater purpose”
- 80% say they expect their employer to offer “interesting and fulfilling” work
- Employees who trust their employer are twice as likely to engage in employee advocacy
Your staff wants to believe in you, and in your greater purpose. Embrace the opportunity to expand on what you have been doing. Focus your efforts on a cause that resonates with your community. Develop a program that solves a problem, where everyone can be involved.
Make it easy.
A cause or program as described above becomes a no-brainer to post about. But to build an online community, you’ll need additional content and interaction. This is where your best social media marketing tool comes into play.
Since your staff is already on various social sites, ask them to connect to and interact with the CU’s accounts. The more likes, follows, pins, etc. will help to boost your visibility within each site’s algorithms. Even better, ask them to link to your CU when they post any pictures from CU-connected events and programs.
But you can’t just expect staff to come up with the ideas for posts on their own. If your goal is to connect with the community, talk to your staff about what interests them, what they are doing, what they are passionate about. Are they involved in local groups, events or causes? What causes does the CU support where they are also involved? Can you expand your support to help their group as well? Remember, whether it’s coaching Little League, selling Girl Scout cookies, or running in a 5K to benefit a local food bank, people want to know about people.
Just remember that since they will be representing your CU, you need to give them ideas of what is appropriate to share, and be clear about what isn’t. Hold a meeting for all staff and answer questions. Build a list of social media guidelines that you can post on your website or intranet, so that your staff (and compliance) feels comfortable.
Make it voluntary.
No one should be forced, but everyone should be encouraged to participate. Ask a few of the stronger personalities in the office to be beta testers. Find out what social media platforms they enjoy using, and help them with resources. Use their feedback to make it even easier for others to follow their example.
Too many introverts on your staff? Create teams at every branch or department in order to get more people involved. Look for ways they can help and contribute without having to be the center of attention. Ask them to share their concerns so you can work to avoid any problems.
Be sure to track and respond.
Pay attention to which individuals or teams are sharing the most. How many people are seeing the posts. How many people are simply liking the content, and how many are clicking through to see more photos on your website? Are viewers commenting? If so, be ready to respond.
One of the best ways to track this activity will be to create a special hashtag that everyone can use. Something like #ABCcuCares or #ThisIsWhyABCisMyCU not only gives you a way to follow along, but it can also help with your overall brand positioning.
Recognize and reward.
Not everyone will do this out of the goodness of their heart, so be sure to recognize those staff members that participate, and reward them. Re-share their posts, highlight your over-achievers in group meetings, or feature them as your “employee of the month.”
And don’t forget the power of those real-world motivators, such as gift cards, logo swag and apparel, etc.
Next, talk to your members.
Once you get staff on board, it will be a lot easier to expand your program to highlight individual members or SEGs. The same strategies, insights, and processes apply. With a slight shift, you should be able to continue to build a thriving online community that truly represents your credit union.
You just need to be the one to start the conversation.