In the long period of staying home, my 12-year-old daughter who is known for taking on life in full-force, decided she wanted to take online classes to learn some new things. One of those many activities included a cooking class to learn about baking. As I listened to her speak about the things she learned, it made me realize how much cooking can teach us about social media.
Recipes are meant to be followed. They are the perfect combination of many different ingredients and techniques to reach a delish dish. Along these lines, social media can be maximized when you follow a recipe. You shouldn’t have an account simply to exist in that space and you shouldn’t post just anything you feel like on a whim. You need to be intentional in your efforts for the best results – you need to follow a recipe so to speak.
This last year has been the year to embrace digital resources – social media being a big part of that. As you move cautiously into 2021 and plan to embrace this tool more effectively, let’s look at the best recipe to maximize its use.
Step 1: Choose the Right Platform. When life became less in-person and more digital, it became necessary for sales teams and loan officers alike to expand their digital reach as a way to connect with people. Social media wasn’t just part of the plan, it was the plan. However, with so many platforms available, how do you choose where to be?
Consider that your members will use various platforms based on the kind of information they are searching for online.
Facebook is a great tool to bring up a wide range of content and it continues to achieve high marks for popularity according to Sprout Social. Look at Facebook as your consumer tool to reach and teach.
Twitter is your breaking news tool. Use it to let people know what’s going on at the credit union. This is your megaphone for announcements.
LinkedIn is your business platform for sharing industry and company news. It’s a great place to focus on SEG groups, if you have a focused membership as you can target those employees.
Instagram is your photo platform. It too has grown in popularity and has become particularly popular to young generations with 75% of its users being 18-24-years-old. If you can offer followers interesting visual posts, this is where they go.
YouTube is your video platform, and along with Facebook, is the most widely used online platform among adults. It’s your video platform to host your videos and makes it easy to share videos across other platforms.
Many other social platforms exist. Pinterest, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Reddit, etc are also popular, but those others listed above are the most commonly used and therefore your best bet in sharing content.
For best results, blend social media platforms to ensure you are using the right tool for the right audience and message to reach all of the demographics on your membership list. This is the formula for a winning dish.
Step 2: What to Say. People seem to struggle with this part of the recipe. They get overwhelmed with what to post and how to mix together the different kinds of ingredients, or content, to be effective. Here’s a great combination to consider as your starting point.
- Informational content can be a great resource to members, but they need to know it’s available. Publish it on your social channels to lead members to your website for more information. It can be from your blog or your website. Be careful using outside sources. They can deliver members right to competitors if you aren’t careful and don’t know who the blog belongs to.
- “Did you know” factoids are fun ways to share information about your credit union. Use a graphic to do it and you’ve got a fun, eye-catching way to get member’s attention.
- Employee highlights and anniversaries are great ways to highlight staff and build awareness of your team. Members getting to know the team can help build trust and assurance. A focus on your loan officer would be a natural way to show who they can contact for home loan questions.
- Member testimonials or surveys should be offered consistently. They build confidence and awareness of products and offerings. Plus, if a member can share a photo, it’s an even bigger win for your members.
- Add video the mix too. This is a growing trend that really became a norm during the pandemic to connect to members. Use a video to explain a process or concept.
- Use hashtags to help people find your posts or content. They are used to help connect similar content. Search #firstimehomebuyer and watch the results populate.
- Connect with your realtors or other industry vendors and share their info. A realtor will be very appreciative that you are sharing their listing and helping them connect with possible buyers.
- Tips, tricks and trends are great sources of information to engage consumers. Not all your content should be focused on buying or selling a home. You want to share a few things with those you’ve already helped buy a home too. Consider other content about home maintenance, remodels, upgrades, trends, etc. These will maintain your followers and likes past the closing date.
Step 3: Advertise. Once you have consistent content, you’ll want to focus on building followers which is essentially what you want your posts to do. You can also use your posts as scheduled advertisements to members and non-members alike. With advertising, you can manage your audiences and engage with potential members to lead them to contact your credit union.
Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer advertising options and analytic reports that can be very helpful in understanding audiences and their social use. While mortgage advertising should never discriminate, it’s helpful to understand who your audiences are and what kinds of subjects interest them and when they see your content.
The advertising part of the recipe helps you connect your social media goals with your business goals as you continue to see content views and your audience grow, and hopefully your membership base as well.
My daughter learned the hard way, if you rush through a recipe, you can easily miss an important detail or skip something that is instrumental to reaching the perfect flavors. To her surprise, she also learned what ingredients worked best in recipes and what flavors she enjoyed most. While her recipe was a good foundation to create a great dish, she could add a few things she knew she loved to make it exactly what she wanted. You’ll find too, that over time, your members have their favorite content they respond to and their favorite social platform they are most comfortable interacting with. That’s where you focus and deliver to their needs just when they need it most.
As we move into 2021 with anticipation and hope that somehow COVID-19 will become a thing of the past, let’s refocus on our recipe for success and find the perfect blend of techniques and strategies to create strong habits for the future.
This article was originally published in ACUMA Pipeline Winter 2021.