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Gaining Gen Y’s Membership and Trust in a Digital World
Thursday, September 4, 2014 6:35 AM

Visit any U.S. college campus and count the number of students with mobile devices in hand. Sarah Timmins, social media manager for the World Council of Credit Unions, says you will quickly notice that we’ve shifted from a “walk and talk” generation to a “walk and tweet” generation.

“Sharing daily realities, check-ins and experiences through digital status updates has become the norm for young adults. Every 60 seconds on Facebook 510 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated and 136,000 photos are uploaded,” she notes. “Facebook has the highest penetration (60 percent) of all Internet users globally, while Twitter is the fastest growing social network in the world. Social media is part of most young adults’ daily routines. It’s how they stay social and connected. It’s how they reinforce value in the people, brands and organizations they interact with.”

In Africa, the world’s fastest growing mobile subscriber market has emerged and is estimated to reach one billion subscribers by 2015. Their young adults are tech-savvy consumers seeking digital, convenient financial services that bring value to their lives, just like Americans.

“Credit unions everywhere must address this significant shift in thinking when developing strategies to reach and attain young adult members,” adds Timmins. “We must lean in to this shift and face it head-on.”

Social media provides credit unions with a unique opportunity to assist with costly life decisions facing young adults worldwide: attending college; paying back student loans; purchasing a first car or home; starting a family. By positioning themselves on social media as online life supporters, Timmins believes credit unions build emotional capital and trust with their members in an effort to improve lives in their communities. Instilling trust at this age helps secure lifetime loyalty and opens the doors to other products and services that will be useful in the future.