Credit Unions on Social Media: Best Practices for People Helping People

Online or in the real world, success comes down to the strength of your community.

Credit unions and social media have a lot in common. Really? Yes, really!

Let’s take a step back. A credit union is more than a bank—it’s a not-for-profit organization built on the principle of people helping people. Sure, like a bank, a credit union offers checking and savings accounts, loans, and credit cards. But, thanks to that focus on people, credit unions are unique. With credit unions, members profit and together create a thriving community.

Did you know that the benefits of a credit union go beyond monetary savings for members? Credit unions are good for your community. Through practices and programs, credit unions often serve as advocates for small businesses and financial literacy. CU employees and leaders also typically give back to their local communities through philanthropy and volunteering.

It goes back to the people. Without members, there is no credit union. Together, they create and encourage community. Social media—on its best days—does the same.

Consider the reasons you are on social media. Through your favorite platform, you are able to connect with and follow friends, family, brands, and personalities. In this shared space, you celebrate life’s accomplishments, discover new products, take joy in shared interests, and support one another through tough times.

So, when you consider that both credit unions and social media are focused on community, it makes sense that they have a lot in common. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it easy for a credit union to be on social media. As a traditional institution, it can be hard to find the right voice and presence. That’s especially true when credit unions consider the rules and regulations, as well as ethical best practices, of being online.

Three Tips to Grow CU Social

A credit union’s social media presence is not a lost cause. In fact, credit unions can and should be on social media. Social media presents an excellent opportunity for credit unions to expand their services. Additionally, through social media, credit unions can do even more to lift up and inform their members.

To get started, let’s break social media best practices for credit unions into three tips:

  • Know Your CU and SM Terms. Social media management is an involved job. But it’s also exciting and often changing. Start by brushing up on social media terms and platforms. A savvy credit union can learn how to speak SM just as well as CU!
  • Recognize the Challenges. It’s fine to admit a credit union will have a different kind of social media profile. However, understanding the dos and don’ts can be a great guide. As a financial institution, there will be additional ethical guidelines and regulations to follow. But that shouldn’t scare credit unions away. Learn the limits and work within them.
  • Stay Present and Creative. Has it been mentioned that social media management is work? It’s worth mentioning again. Once a profile is set up, there needs to be a routine of posting. But remember social media can be fun. It’s also a place to experiment and attract new members.

Starting here, credit unions can establish their social media presence and build their online communities.

Tip One: Know Your CU and SM Terms

Credit union employees are rock stars. Not only do they provide stellar customer service, but they have the experience to back it up. They know the difference between APR and APY and can tell you about the ECOA or TILA.

Okay, so here’s another thing that social media and credit unions have in common: acronyms. If a credit union is venturing into the waters of social media for the first time, there might be some learning. That’s normal. Credit union employees didn’t learn all there is to know about finance overnight. So, if they don’t have a background in social media management and marketing, they might not immediately know about CMS, IG, CTAs, or DMs.

Fortunately, there are resources that make social media management a little easier for small businesses, from password managers to social media management software. Or, it might be in your credit union’s best interest to work with a marketing team. There are also online and workshop courses to take. With practice, your credit union will be as sharp with SM as they are with CU terms. Some of this learning takes place on the job. Credit unions shouldn’t be afraid to get started and ask questions.

The first step is simply for credit unions to show up and come with a willingness to learn more about social media. And—for better or worse—social media is often changing. It can be exciting, but will also take patience and perseverance! There’s always something new to learn.

Tip Two: Recognize the Challenges

As exciting as social media can be, it does come with a unique set of challenges for credit unions. There are a few dos and don’ts that credit unions on social media need to check.

For example, don’t forget to include disclaimers when posting certain content. “Equal Housing Lender” language should be linked to anything related to mortgages and home buying. And “Federally Insured by NCUA” should be linked to anything dealing with checking and savings accounts. That’s not an extensive list, so credit unions should check in with their marketing department or social media experts as they get started.

With so much to cover, credit unions might be tempted to stuff status updates with text. There’s a careful balance here. While it’s important to add the necessary details, too much text will discourage people from looking at posts. That will lead to fewer social media impressions and engagement. Do use images and video as much as possible on social platforms to help with the balance. Provide a variety of content. (If credit unions need to get visual, some great free video clips can be found online in places like Pixabay and Pexels.)

Yes, credit unions might have a few details that make it trickier to have an online presence. But credit unions shouldn’t let dos and don’ts hold them back. Remember, credit unions can be relevant on social media and build their communities. Most members might have a basic knowledge of finances. Through a social media presence, credit unions can help spread and share that knowledge—and do it in a fun way!

Tip Three: Stay Present and Creative

Through social media, credit unions become more accessible to their members. What a perk! But once a credit union has created a profile, the social media work doesn’t stop. It’s time to get creative about delivering content to your members. And do it regularly.

Instead of thinking of social media as a box to check off, think of it as a relationship. Once established, a credit union needs to stay present. This could be as simple as creating a content calendar to schedule regular posts and check ins. However, there are also opportunities to experiment.

business cellphone open to social media apps

Since credit union employees are a wealth of information, put them in front of their audiences. People want to put a face to their banking institution. Go live! Credit unions are a local business, so members get to know each employee. Imagine a loan officer hosting weekly video Q&As on Facebook or uploading quick tips around first-time home buying, paying for college, or establishing savings. A credit union can build brand confidence and a rapport with members by showing up in social media feeds.

Additionally, many credit unions are looking for ways to reach younger demographics and establish the next generation of members. This is where platform research comes into play. Teens prefer platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok. Meanwhile, their parents are likely active on Facebook. After credit unions find their existing community, they should consider venturing onto other platforms. Perhaps the next youth financial literacy programming could include a series of TikTok videos.

Start with these tips and watch credit union communities grow, both online and in person.

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