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The 5 Keys to Social Media as a Brand Builder
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 6:35 AM

By Amanda Ray, Social Media Manager, CUNA Mutual Group

Social media is connecting brands to their customers, potential customers, and communities for many strong brands today. And its influence is only going to grow. Many credit unions are running successful, energetic, creative social media programs, and the best of these tend to follow five key principles: 

  1. Align Your Social Media and Marketing Strategies
    Like any other marketing or communications function, social media should align with your broad business goals. It should also have its own core objectives. A manager with strategic planning experience and social media know-how can bring this to life with buy-in from your board and management team.
     
  2. Budget for Success
    Invest not only in the talent you hire, but also the tools they’ll use for research, analysis, and posting content. Earmark budget for paid media, especially if you care about connecting with potential new members. Promoted Facebook posts, for example, can generate visibility among specific (geo-targeted) audiences you might not otherwise be able to engage.
     
  3. Understand Your Target Audiences
    Before spending paid media dollars or investing time in creating social content, your team needs to understand, on some level, what makes your social communities tick. What do they care about that’s relevant to who you are and what you do as a business and a brand?

    To find this, you can commission primary audience research or tap secondary research. General audience insights are a Google search away, and industry sources like the Filene Research Institute offer valuable research that can help.

    Your social team can leverage social insights to better understand these communities and ensure your posts are hitting the mark. For example, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, and LinkedIn share audience demographics and geographic details your team can use along with performance metrics on engagement and visibility. 

 

  1. Build Trust with Relevant, Engaging Information
    Strategy, research, and audience awareness are critical. So is understanding that your presence and actions in social channels are as a community member. This is where the art and science of social media blend.  

    To grow your social audience, engagement, and the positive outcomes you want as a business, it boils down to trust. That means blending your content mix with a focus on your community as much or more than your bottom line. It also means sharing others’ content more often than your own and keeping your self-promotional content in check. 

    The Content Marketing Institute recommends that you devote the largest share of your content mix to educating and informing people. With the next largest share of content, try starting a conversation about something important to your members and your community. Then use a smaller amount of content to inspire and entertain people.

 

  1. Inspire Loyalty
    Showing that you’re in tune with current and potential members’ interests and life challenges is one of the best ways to build community loyalty. Show you care about the challenges and realities they face and share information, tips, and opportunities that can make a difference. Once that’s established, you’ll find a more receptive audience to the products/services and programs you offer that prove you're doing what it takes to improve peoples’ financial futures.


Amanda Ray is the Social Media Manager for CUNA Mutual Group. You can reach her at Amanda.Ray@cunamutual.com.