There is no doubting how powerful a tool social media is for businesses of all shapes and sizes. In recent years the shift from more traditional methods of marketing and advertising towards digital alternatives has been seismic.

Certain industries have been quiet slow to adapt to this changing environment, with one of these industries being the financial services sector.

Banks and credit unions by their nature are often inflexible businesses that do not like a lot of change. People like to depend on their banks or credit unions, so these financial institutions tend to continue to put forth the same drab advertisements that they have been using for years.

For anyone that is on the fence with regards to the effectiveness of social media for generating revenue for banks and credit unions, you only need to look at the results that have been generated from Verve Credit Union’s efforts to date. They have generated an additional $2.5 million since they ramped up their social media efforts.

Who is Verve Credit Union?

First and foremost, you may be wondering who exactly Verve Credit Union is.

They are based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and at the time this case study was completed in 2015, they had 56,000 members and around $766 million worth of assets.

They noticed the growing importance of social media and how much an effect it could have on their business, so they made a push to focus on this medium to increase revenue and awareness.

According to Filene, approximately 70% of searches from people looking for a new financial institution begin online and through social media.

It was through a social media application called Yak! Tracker that they tailored their strategy around. They had the goal of getting potential new borrowers and members into their funnel and converting them.

What does the Yak! Tracker application do?

This application was used as a lead generation tool through the process of helping credit unions and banks to run different types of contests and competitions through their social media platforms.

After customized questionnaires have been filled out with the entrants, they will then be met with tailored offers for certain products and services offered by the institution depending on the answers they have given.

All of this information is tracked which allows you to identify which channels are the most effective.

What sort of results did Verve Credit Union generate?

In the year 2015, Verve attributed 175 new loans and an additional $2.5 million of growth in their loan portfolio to directly coming from social media. They also saw increases in non-interest income through 52 GAP policies as well as 68 debt cancellation policies that were generated through social media.

How did they achieve these results?

As briefly mentioned, the Yak! Tracker app was a key part of their campaign to use social media as a lead generation tool for their range of products and services.

Instead of going with a scatter approach whereby the content they were putting on social media was not tailored to a specific audience, they were able to use this app to directly target certain offers to potential customers who would be interested in the deal.

This was achieved through the questionnaire that the Yak! App ran when a contestant was entering into a competition. Their answers were analyzed in real time and the subsequent offer of deal they were shown would correspond to the types of answers they provided.

It is always important to go narrow with your audience and tailor your content as much as possible when selling a product or service.

Certain questions that would be asked in this questionnaire include what their credit score is, how much money they would be looking to borrow and for how long etc. As they have entered their contact details, a member of the Verve team could get in contact with them right away to try and close them as a customer.

Through their efforts on social media, they are now punching well above their weight when it comes to their presence on different platforms. Recently they held the number 54 position on the Financial Brand’s 100 most influential credit unions for social media.

They are dwarfed by a lot of the other companies on this list in terms of revenue; with the number 61 position GECU having assets worth $2.4 billion.

They are quick to emphasize that a lot of thought and oversight goes into all of the content they produce and release, rather than just firing out posts without much consideration.

Especially for financial institutions, it is vital that all posts need to comply with regulations, something that can often be easily forgotten. This is why you will rarely ever find institutions publicly advertising mortgage rates, as they change on an almost daily basis.

This is why Verve Credit Union put a risk management program in place for their social media and other content. This allows them to quickly identify any risks and deal with them promptly if they arise.

There is a plan in place to deal with any negative comments or complaints so that reputation risk can be minimized and the issue dealt with as soon as possible.

Verve’s efforts are clearly paying off and they are playing the social game the right way.