Credit Union Social Media Strategy Series: The Underbanked

All this week we’re diving into the strategy behind reaching specific audiences through your credit union’s social media efforts. Yesterday we discussed reaching millenials and today we’re looking at the underbanked: who they are and what their audience profile can tell us about the strategy for our content and social media marketing efforts.


Who are the underbanked?

Nearly a quarter of American households conduct some or all of their financial transactions outside the mainstream system. This population makes up our final segment: the underbanked.

Defining this group based on the audience profile we outlined at the beginning of this series is a challenge because the profile is diverse.  This audience crosses multiple demographic profiles. What is perhaps more helpful here is understanding the reason for this segment in the first place and how they consume technology.

Underbanked: Audience Profile

The underbanked are generally lower income, but  the underbanked are a highly networked segment with more than ¾ of the audience using social media.

The proliferation of social media use has come at the decrease in price for mobile devices and at the same time so has the possibility for financial institutions to reach this previously underserved market with solutions to their financial needs in medium that fits their lifestyle.

Media, P2P and Mobile are all forms of financial solutions that are actively making progress in this segment.

However, still many of the underbanked feel financial solutions don’t apply to them whether it’s because they don’t have enough money to make it worth their while, access is too difficult or they can’t afford the offering.

What’s important to keep in mind with the underbanked, not all of them have always been underbanked, and that not all of them are stuck in a cycle where they feel they don’t need financial products.  Life happens and access are often the biggest triggers of becoming underbanked.


Social media strategy: reaching the underbanked


Due to the highly social nature of the segment, being present and active is key. This may be the only way to consistently touch this segment with your message and move them down the funnel towards membership.


Messages should reinforce their potential. Nothing is out of reach and that everyone starts somewhere. Because they feel they don’t have enough to even get started, focus on how small things grow to big things and help educate along the way.

 Cross functional strategy:

Because they may not be likely to come into a branch immediately, work with other community groups to teach the importance of personal finance such as community education, church groups etc.  Get them connected to the story of “every little bit” starts building.

This is the start of strategy for the underbanked based on an understanding of who they are, what their needs are and how they interact with online and social media as it relates to financial institutions. You can build on this and adapt it to your local community and credit union needs.

This completes our series starting with developing the questions we ask in building an audience profile, then using an audience profile to build a strategy for specific audience groups: Mass affluent, millennials and today underbanked.

Hope you found the series helpful. What online marketing challenges is your credit union facing?  Tell us in the comments section.

Credit Union Social Media Strategy Series: The Millenials

All this week we’re diving into the strategy behind reaching specific audience through your credit union’s social media efforts. Yesterday we discussed the Mass Affluent and today we’re looking at the Millenials: who they are and what their audience profile can tell us about the strategy for our content and social media marketing efforts.

Credit Unions & Millennials


Who are the millenials?

Millenials, also called Gen Y or the Net Generation, are quickly becoming the largest generation since the baby boomers, and depending on who you ask, surpassing the boomer population by up to 7%.

Defined as those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, there is plenty written about this highly sought after demographic.

Whether you think they are a lost causeon the rise or somewhere in between the fact remains they are influencers and they are not to be ignored.  But what makes them tick and what can we learn about who they are, their habits online and offline and what keeps them up at night that will inform our strategy?

Millenials: Audience Profile

The biggest challenge that faces marketers trying to reach millenials, is the generation span.

While every generation deals with span, targeting millenials today means you may be trying to reach those who are barely teens to those who are approaching 30 something. With such an emotional and financial maturity gamut, any attempt to paint the generation with a broad stroke will fail and your strategy will suffer.

In many ways, approaching this generation requires breaking it into 2 sub-segments. Those born early ‘80s – mid ‘90s and those born mid ‘90s to early ‘00s, no you have targets of those age 20 something to 30 something and early teen to 20 something. Still not perfect but a lot easier when you think of the state of mind of those who are 28 versus those who are 18.

Millenials: technology, responsibility and interests

Across the both age groups: Social media adoption of course is high in the generation that invented Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube etc. As a result of this always on, connected mentality high touch is something that resonates with the Net Generation. A direct interaction from a brand can quickly turn members of this brand into advocates.

Socially aware and thrifty, members of Gen Y are deal seekers but older Gen Yers, of all generations are the most willing to spend more to support companies who put good back into society.

For older Gen Yers, their top 4 priorities as they age are:  Being a good parent, Having a successful marriage, Helping others, and Owning a home.

When it comes to brand receptiveness, Gen Yers respond to brands who play into their creative spirit. 81% ( ¼  older and more than half younger ) of Gen Yer’s will try a brand because they sponsor an event for an artist they like.

Millenials & Money

And the most important thing? They have assets. While the Generation has been hit hard by the recession, Nielsen research points out that Gen Y makes up a larger percentage of those with $2 million + in assets than Gen X. Median income is $49,297. Narly 10% own their own business, about the same as their older counterparts we talked about yesterday. Millenials are in fact, a segment of the mass affluent.

Wealth (IPA) by Generation (Source: Nielsen 2013)
Wealth (IPA) by Generation (Source: Nielsen 2013)

Here’s where it gets interesting. The DIY nature of millenials extends to their finances. They bank, invest and buy insurance by themselves, online. They would prefer to never see an investment advisor by comparison to their older counterparts. This of course could change as they approach retirement, but today, they prefer to get their questions answered online and to do what they need to do themselves.  They are the heaviest internet banking demographic.


So what does this profile of who they are and what their goals are tell us and how can it inform our strategy?

 Social media strategy: reaching millenials


Due to the highly social nature of the generation, being nimble and responsive to changing technologies is key. This is the generation that is considered early adopters and will influence what could be the next Facebook. Keep an eye out to what’s happening and test emerging platforms with this group.


Messages should leverage their interests heavily. Showcase your credit unions social responsibility, answer the questions they have about finance so they can take care of their finances the way they want and create an inclusive culture that puts a spotlight on members and team.

Crossfunctional strategy:

Because they reward social minded organizations, reach out to your community relations team and craft a strategy to highlight you activities via your social media channels.

Also, appealing to their creative side could be helpful. Reach out to your events and PR teams to find out if there is a possibility of sponsoring local artists or music events and make sure you’re live tweeting , instagraming or showing your credit union’s participation in the experience and encouraging engagement.

This is the start of strategy for the millenials based on an understanding of who they are, what their needs are and how they interact with online and social media as it related to financial institutions. You can build on this and adapt it to your local community and credit union needs. Tomorrow we’ll talk about using audience profiling to develop a strategy to reach the underbanked.


Credit Union Social Media Strategy Series: The Mass Affluent

All this week we’re diving into the strategy behind reaching specific audience through your credit union’s social media efforts. Yesterday we talked about the importance of audience profiling to social media strategy and explored some of the questions you look to answer when building a profile.

Credit Unions & Mass Affluent

Today we’re looking at the Mass Affluent: who they are and what their audience profile can tell us about the strategy for our content and social media marketing efforts.

Who are the mass affluent?

The mass affluent is a relatively new marketing segment defined by households with assets between $250,000 and $1 million not counting real estate holdings. Just over 10% of the U.S. population fit this classification and this population is highly liquid in their investment capability.

Mass Affluent: Audience Profile

As a segment, this audience skews to be an older demographic with more than 60% over the age of 55 and most don’t have kids or are empty nesters. From a career perspective they often work in finance, or management and many own their own business.

They embrace technology and nearly all are frequent users of social media. When it comes to their use of social media nearly half engage with financial institutions through social networking and more than 40% use social media to discover or consider financial institutions according to research from Linked. Of those that use social media to engage, discover and consider financial institutions,  more than 60% take action as a result of their engagements.

When it comes to engaging financial institutions online, the mass affluent are 51% more likely than the average to do so according to Nielsen research.

For hobbies and preferences: they are civic minded, and well informed leaning towards more journalistic or editorial style content.

Their major financial product interests are investment and retirement based being far more likely to show interest in: Money Market Savings, CDs, 401K, Stocks and Brokerage accts than the mass market.

mass affluents

Online, they tend to hang out on professional networking sites like LinkedIn and gain a lot of their information from news sources online.

H1 Social media strategy: reaching the mass affluent

Now that we have compiled a bit of a profile based on who they are, what they’re interested in for products and pleasure and where they hang out we can start to craft the foundation of a strategy.


Since we know that LinkedIn is their platform of choice for social media we can put that at the top of our list for reaching this audience.


The messages should be informative. Lean on their interest in long form, educational material and provide answers to the questions they may have. Create the opportunity for Q&As and feedback. Capture their story as part of your story in the process and you’ll engage an emotional element that plays into their goal achievement orientation.

Crossfunctional strategy:

Because they are civic minded and hang out in other places online, engage your paid media teams and your PR or community relations team to find out if you can push your content into other places online that they may be reading by buying media placements. From a community perspective, find out what civic functions your credit union participates in and make sure you tell those stories through the social channels you’re using to reach the Mass Affluent.

This is the start of strategy for the mass affluent based on an understanding of who they are, what their needs are and how they interact with online and social media as it related to financial institutions. You can build on this and adapt it to your local community and credit union needs.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about using audience profiling to develop a strategy to reach millennials.

Credit Union Social Media Strategy Series: Know Your Audience

This week we’re going to look at breaking down your social media efforts by who you’re reaching. If you’ve downloaded our Ultimate Guide To Social Media Marketing, the audiences we’ll be talking about later this week will sound familiar to you: The Mass Affluent, Millenials and the Underbanked.

Credit Union Social Media Strategy

Each day we’ll drill a bit deeper into who they are, how they use social media and how to reach them with what kind of message/content strategy.  In order to arrive at the message/content strategy we need to understand audience profiling. Today, we’ll start with an audience profile guide. We’ll use pieces of this profile guide across the different segments to arrive at content/message strategy conclusions for each segment. 

 Why your social media needs an audience profile

Without an audience profile, social media has a way of getting away from you. I’m guilty of this too. Suddenly all you see is blank space that needs to be filled with no direction and you freeze. So you start posting whatever you can. Maybe it’s a link to your latest loan rates. I’ll be real with you, that doesn’t make for the greatest social media fodder.

Putting together an audience profile gives you the profile of a person you’re actually speaking to. Most who work in media do this: journalists and broadcasters create an audience so that they can actually speak to them about what they want to hear about so that it doesn’t feel like, as an audience member, we’re being spoken at. Think about it, the best broadcasters and journalists have a way of talking directly to you, even though they can’t see you or directly interact with you. With social media, you get the benefit of feedback from your audience which makes the communication all the more rich.

The social media audience profile

When attempting to strategize about content and messaging think through some of the following questions for each segment. Not all questions always apply, and their may be more in each main segment. But it’s most important to understand the details of who you’re trying to reach, why they need your products/services (what keeps them up at night), and the emotional appeal your brand can leverage. as you can see there are several sub questions in each section that drills deeper into these top level concepts.

1. Who are you trying to reach? 

  • How old are they?
  • What is their education?
  • Where do they live?
  • Where do they work?
  • What do they do for fun?
  • What is their lifestyle?
  • Where do they hangout when not at work?
  • Where do they hangout when online?
  • What types of conversation are they having?
  • How much money do they make?

All of these give you topics in your local community to talk about to reach members or prospects where they already are.

Are they hanging out at local music events and your CU is a sponsor? Integrate your social media to your offline promotions and make sure you’re live tweeting the event.

Are they highly educated and affluent? Maybe you find  they are online researching financial solutions to grow wealth. Create content that informs and partner with your paid media teams to reach them in the right spaces online and give your social efforts the boost they need to reach this segment. We’ll explore more of these possibilities in future posts as we look at each segment: Mass Affluent, Millenials, Underbanked.

2. What keeps them up at night?

  • What happened in their life that they need:
    • A new car
    • A home loan
    • A savings acct
    • A money market acct
    • A student loan
    • A personal loan

The point here is that your product is not the beginning and end of your social media marketing. In planning start with your product and work backwards for content creation. In conversations you start where the need is and work through the product sale and continue the conversation past the conversion to turn followers in marketers for you, cross sell etc.

If a prospect or member is getting a new car, did they get a new job? Are they having a baby? Did they move? All of those create opportunities to connect with them and talk about other things before going right into “HERE”S OUR RATES!”

  • If they don’t use your credit union, what are the alternatives?
    • The premise here is identifying opportunities to create content to persuade them and inform them of the landscape or use those newly converted evangelists who you kept engaging post sale to help do the marketing for you.

3.) How does your credit union inspire and help?

  • Does it give hope?
  • Does it help have a better day?
  • Does it make family more at peace?

Work with the broader brand teams here to identify the overall brand emotion your credit union tries to evoke in everything it does: offline, online and in-branch.

This will help you identify possible campaigns to celebrate your members who are feeling these emotions and thus reach new members by sharing those stories.

The questions above are not all inclusive and can be modified to fit your needs, for example the product list is certainly not exhaustive. The point here is to thing wholistically about your audience and your credit union and how the conversation can begin.

In our next post we’ll analyze the segment: Mass Affluent.