Credit unions are owned and operated by their members and solely exist to serve those members. While it is easy to promote a credit union's awesomeness if you are being paid to do so, how can you get the members on the other side of the counter to advocate for your brand? Below you will find out why every member SHOULD be your credit union Brand Ambassador and how to make that happen.
So, what is a Brand Ambassador and why are they so important?
A Brand Ambassador is someone who has tried your product or service and loves it enough to spread the word. Who better to get the word out about your credit union than the members themselves? Whether or not you want to admit to the fact that members who lack the expertise of your market are your biggest advocates, they are still going to share their personal experience with others. With the growing popularity and accessibility of social media and other digital platforms, their outreach has grown tenfold from previous years. The chances your members' reviews are being seen by hundreds, thousands or even millions of people are greater now than they have ever been.
How does this affect you?
Your members hold more credibility than you do.
Bold statement? Not when it's the truth.
Sure, you may know the ins and outs of the place you work for and would seem to be the most qualified in promoting it. That just isn't the case anymore. Let's say you or another employee post on social media about how low your current rates are for auto loans this month. This post is effective to an extent, but to outsiders, it's nothing more than a sales pitch. Every business does it so, what's new? People are going to lend more trust to the raw views of a real consumer over you because they are not paid employees of your credit union. Moral of the story, stop talking about yourself and empower your members to do the talking for you. More than likely they are already talking about you, so you better be putting your best foot foward with each interaction.
What is the difference between a Brand Ambassador and a spokesperson?
The new promotional trend has been to approach individuals with a product or service and give them some sort of incentive to engage in positive social discussions to promote the brand. This could be anyone from a social media influencer to a celebrity spokesperson. That is why you see so many posts of celebrities casually drinking tea and raving about how skinny it has made them. They are most likely not using this product in their everyday lives and are being paid thousands of dollars to post about it which negates the genuine promotion behind it. Since genuine interactions are what credit unions thrive on, a paid spokesperson wouldn't necessarily help you relate to your ideal member.
A Brand Ambassador is a real user of a product or service with no expertise in your market and best of all, you don't need to pay them. They are influenced by things such as great customer service, a great financial product, or a great experience and feel compelled, on their own free will, to spread the word. It is the good experience/product that your members receive that will result in positive promotion for your institution.
How do we get one of these Brand Ambassadors?
Great question! You are lucky enough to have a credit union full of potential Brand Ambassadors so all that is left to do is pave the way. Here are a few steps to take to nudge your members into Brand Ambassador status:
- First and foremost, strive to provide nothing but amazing service when interacting with your members and they will in turn positively advocate for your credit union. In a community-centric institution, word of mouth is your best friend or your worst enemy.
- Make sure your members know you are on social media. Advertise internally so that your members are repeatedly prompted to go on social media and find you. This can be through in-branch posters, statement-stuffers, links on your site, or email marketing.
- Make efforts to engage your members on your social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) If you don't have a presence on any of these, you should. Social media is a mostly free outlet for promotion and has the ability to measure your visitor interactions. It is a no-brainer in the world of measurable marketing efforts.
While we don't suggest using these outlets solely for free advertising but rather for customer engagement, getting your name out there is never a bad thing. Posting engaging and informational content to draw visitors in increases the chances of converting them to leads and members. Potential members want to be informed and inspired, not told what to do.
Now that you understand why all members are an important part of your marketing team as Brand Ambassadors, you can go forth and continue providing that credit union standard of service.