The Credit Union National Association recently released the 2017-2018 Environmental Scan. The E-Scan offers insights in 10 primary areas affecting credit unions, including lending, economics, technology and of course marketing. The E-Scan is a must-read for any credit union executive and is also an outstanding planning tool to use.

The marketing section is entitled “The Big Deal Behind Social Media.” It also mentions many of the other top marketing trends for credit unions, including disruptors, regulations, Generation Z, the evolution of marketing, highly personalized marketing, consumer preferences and the humanization of digital. But the bulk of the section centers around social media and engagement.

According to the E-Scan, there are five factors that come into play when brining engagement into your social media efforts:

(1)    Bring value first

As the E-Scan notes, “social media isn’t always about direct response…..once you’re identified as a serial promoter, people will shut you off and tune you out.” Look for ways to engage—not sell—on your social media platforms.

(2)    It’s pay to play

“Organic reach is a thing of the past,” the authors say. “Without putting money behind a post, very few people will see it.” The E-Scan suggests credit unions’ posts focus on how your products and services benefit your members, how they are educational and how their brands are making a difference. One of the stats quoted in the E-Scan is that mobile will account for 72% of digital advertising spending by 2019.

(3)    It’s a marathon

Social media is not a one-time promotion or once a quarter tactic. Rather, it is strategic in nature. That means a long-term approach is necessary. It will take several years and use multiple mediums.

(4)    Assist people

What do you do about negative comments or posts when it comes to your social media efforts? The E-Scan actually goes into great detail in answering that important question by categorizing comments into “positive, neutral, negative, troll and abusive.” Each type of comment requires a different type of response. But when it comes to social, a response is needed.

(5)    This is a full-time job

“Put someone on your credit union staff in charge of social media and develop policies for after-hours support,” the E-Scan writes. As we’ve noted multiple times on this blog, there are two S’s of social media: strategy and staff. You can’t have one without the other.

One of the best parts of this year’s E-Scan is the “big questions” it asks after every single section. These questions are strategic in nature and serve as a great starting point for your planning discussions.

These were just a few snippets about social media—there is obviously much more detail about this marketing issue and other relevant areas in the E-Scan itself. To get the full context of the marketing section and to read the other insights, be sure to purchase your copy of the E-Scan. In addition to the report itself, you can also order the full E-Scan package, which includes the E-Scan report, the E-Scan Newsletter, the E-Scan DVD, the Strategic Planning Guide and the E-Scan Research & Advice Portal. When it comes to strategic planning, there is no better resource or tool your credit union can use than CUNA’s Environmental Scan.