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Social Media Advocacy

Social Media Advocacy
Posted: May 10, 2017
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How getting your employees involved can help to grow your CU's brand

Social Media has become a mainstay in the way we communicate today. Recent statistics on SocialMediaToday.com, states that there are 1.9 billion unique monthly users on Facebook; 1 billion on YouTube; 600 million on Instagram; 317 million on Twitter; 106 million on LinkedIn and millions of users joining many other channels monthly. With these numbers, there are very few people who would argue against the fact that social media has become an essential means of communicating. The magnitude of this is emphasized when we experience the impact of information “going viral”. In seconds, the world is watching.

There are still some people, however, who are not sure of the impact and role that social media plays in business. Many are sold on the fact that it is necessary to be involved in the space but they have not committed to investing the time and the energy that is required to make it work for their brands. This is due in part to them not knowing where to start and the fact that it all seems so costly and high maintenance.

The power of social media

With small marketing budgets and limited human resources, why should a credit union get involved in social media? Based on recent statistics from the Pew Research Center “seven-in-ten Americans use social media”. So, there is a big chance that your members, prospective members, partners, competitors and vendors are all there and that’s where you need to meet them. Many companies have used these channels to not only build awareness but gain insights from their engagement with existing and prospective customers that have allowed them to build brand loyalty and ultimately, brand equity. In a survey conducted recently (found on smartinsights.com) to find out how social media ranks in comparison to other channels for B2B companies; social media ranked as the most effective channel for strengthening thought leadership (88%); deepening customer relationships (79%); raising brand awareness (91%) and developing brand positioning (94%). If these are some of your business goals, it’s hard to build a case for not being a part of it.

In fact, if you are serious about business, you have no choice in the matter. People rarely do business with companies that they can’t find on Google. So, having a (positive) online presence is integral. This becomes even more important if you are targeting the younger generations. At the CSCU 2016 Annual Conference, Millennial & Gen Z Expert and Researcher, Jason Dorsey, commented that “The number one source that people use, particularly millennials, in determining your reputation is LinkedIn …”

Social media advocacy

So, how can credit unions take full advantage of social media to focus on the areas of business outlined above at a low cost? Through Social Media Advocacy, which is encouraging your employees to assist the company in spreading its message using the various social media channels. Happy employees become advocates and advocates help you to spread the word and tell your story. You first need to make it easy for them to share your information and reward them in the process. (Think an internal competition that offers up football tickets for the highest engagement on a shared post.)

Where do we start, you might ask?

The CU will:

  • Consistently share relevant and valuable content that offers solutions to existing and prospective clients, while telling the brand’s story.

  •  Incorporate content that is appropriate for each site. For example, you may choose to post content that shows a softer, more fun side of your credit union on Facebook and more serious business news on LinkedIn.

  • Include thought leadership articles and success stories that help to build your reputation as an expert. (Answer the question: What do I want to be known for?)

  • Monitor the channels, measure progress and note what works.

While, the Advocate will:

  • Focus on liking, sharing, commenting and retweeting posts. Connecting, following and having “friends” are great but what creates powerful social media presence, is engagement. An engaged audience that is 150 strong is more beneficial than 1500 that never responds to your posts.

  • Use thought leadership articles and success stories to show existing and prospective clients the expertise that is available within your organization.

  • Monitor the channels, measure progress and note what works.

Starting is easier than you think but ensure that you create a list outlining the rules of engagement and emphasizing the extra need for care when posting information, as employees will now be linked to the brand. The dos and don’ts of social media must be written in a special policy or incorporated into the computer or communication policy. Ultimately, your goal is to generate qualified leads from this activity but you must first engage and build/maintain a relationship with your online following.

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Shelly-Ann Wilson Henry

Shelly-Ann Wilson HenryShelly-Ann Wilson Henry

In her role as PR & Communications Manager, Shelly-Ann plays a critical role in the development, distribution and management of the content that supports Trellance’s thought leadership agenda.

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