YouTube is a Tough Channel to Master
If you think Twitter and Facebook audiences are tough to socialize with, you likely haven’t tried marketing with YouTube.
The predominate online video site has millions of users, but holding their attention is much harder than sending tweets and encouraging customers to “like” your credit union, according to American Banker.
“[Financial institutions] need to be just as social as the people they expect to be social with them… They need to engage their audience,” says Alan Maginn, a senior analyst with the New York-based research firm Corporate Insight.
Most financial institutions with a YouTube account, however, devote little attention to it—adding only repurposed television ads and limiting social interaction by prohibiting users from leaving comments.
Speaking the right language
Credit unions that want to try their hand on YouTube must rethink their approach.
One community bank profiled in American Banker holds customers’ attention by choosing not to behave like stereotypical bankers when the camera switches on.
“We try to put [our videos] in language that everybody will understand and present it in a way that’s simple… sometimes bankers speak their own language, and when you start doing that, you lose people,” says the bank’s a senior vice president and director of marketing.
The bank also uses an outside marketing firm that isn’t entirely focused on financial services marketing, which helps provide a fresh perspective.
Targeting an audience
Another approach, being used by a number of credit unions in the U.S. and Canada, is that pioneered by Currency Marketing. Young people, more familiar will the social media platform, are recruited for online “spokester” roles.
These young adults – an audience that credit unions desperately need to engage—are selected in a contest that measures their social media talents rather than any experience in financial services. These paid spokesters then help build awareness of credit unions in the under-25 crowd, using their social media prowess.
Other financial institutions use YouTube to reach a different audience.
Some banks, for example, include videos for investors featuring top executives discussing highlights from recent financial reports. Others divide their videos into playlists that target specific audiences.
Listening as well as speaking
Many financial institutions that do engage on YouTube and other social media sites maintain a guarded presence, restricting comment features and maintaining institutional control over the conversation.
But if the idea of social media is to be social, that should include listening as well as talking, some experts say.
One bank takes the bold move of allowing users to leave comments on the videos they watch on YouTube. The comments are sometimes negative, but officials say it’s important to make it a two-way channel.The bank’s policy is to respond to all comments, including negative ones, though typically this involves moving the conversation to a call center. “It certainly is safer not to allow somebody to comment.… but I don’t know then what the value is” of having an active YouTube channel, says Corporate Insight’s Maginn.
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