CU QUICK FACTS
Elevations Credit Union
Data as of 03.31.17
HQ: Boulder, CO
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 12.5%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 13.6%
When Elevations Credit Union ($1.9B, Boulder, CO) began entering into new market areas, the leadership team quickly realized the credit union needed to build market and brand awareness.
So, the credit union launched its first-ever TV commercials starting in 2016. It also developed a new series for social media, “Adventures in Localism.”
The “Hey Neighbor” and “Community Egg Lending” videos that were part of that series got the community talking and engaged employees in new ways, says Susan Green, senior vice president of marketing at Elevations.
What made the video series so successful? And what lessons can other credit unions learn from Elevations’ success?
Green offers several reasons for the series popularity as well as DIY tips and a bit about the credit union’s future plans.
Tip No. 1: Know The Members And Stay True To The Brand
“Sometimes I think people are nervous about showing the lighter side of things,” Green says. “But as long as you are true to your brand, you can have a lot of fun on social media.”
In Elevations’ case, previous YouTube videos showcasing the credit union’s lighter side had already been well-received by members. And when the branch stayed open for business during filming for the new series, members responded positively.
“They got a kick out of it,” Green says.
Tip No. 2: Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Staff Engagement
In addition to using on-site shooting, Elevations cast the series’ active roles with credit union staff. And employees liked that.
“The amount of staff engagement has been bigger than we anticipated,” Green says. “For the first video, we had to talk people into participating. But now they are excited to be involved.”
Despite initial nerves, the infectious feeling that it is fun to work at Elevations plus the quality of the first videos has encouraged staffers to join in.
“We just shot the third video in the series,” Green says. “So many people volunteered, we couldn’t accommodate everyone.”
Tip No. 3: Leverage Outside Expertise
“Hey Neighbor” and “Community Egg Lending” were the most complex productions that Elevations had ever undertaken, so it sought outside expertise. In addition to agency partners, who helped with the concept and ensured a high-quality finished product, Elevations hired a professional director.
“We had a wonderful director who pulled great performances out of each person,” Green says.
The crew and a cast of 45 people shot videos at the Elevations flagship branch over a two-day period. The fact that the faces in the videos are also front-line employees means members recognize the “actors” and feel a deeper sense of engagement. And these newfound stars embraced their role.
“We went from introverted, shy staff members to a lot of budding stars that did an awesome job,” Green says.
Tip No. 4: Set High Goals And Define Success
Elevations has layers of metrics to analyze its social media efforts, but it’s overarching goal is to stay in the Top 25 of the Financial Brand’s Power 100 credit unions using social media.
This is a lofty goal, especially when considering this quarterly standard aggregates activity and engagement for all credit unions in North America — as well as several from Europe and Australia — that use social media channels.
“We’ve always been in the top 25, even though we are probably the 150th credit union based on asset size within the United States,” says Green.
For “Adventures in Localism,” the credit union primarily wanted to create awareness. Previous YouTube videos for Elevations had garnered between 15,000 and 20,000 views, and the credit union wanted to push things to the next level. So, it set a goal to reach 100,000 views on Facebook and YouTube. To help get there, Elevations sponsored a contest that donated money to local nonprofits and included a cash prize for the winner. This strategy underpinned its highest-ever level of social media engagement.
The credit union recently wrapped its third video in the series and plans to continue developing new social media video campaigns over the coming year.