Over 1,000 credit union employees take up Stop Loan Sharks’ new toolkit on becoming social media savvy

Stop Loan Sharks has released a new toolkit of guidance, advice and tips to help UK credit unions become experts in using social media to aid their professional development and promote their services.

The digital revolution has dramatically transformed the banking industry. Changing behaviours and consumer expectations, and technological developments are forcing credit unions to rethink how they operate, communicate and interact with customers. Social media is becoming completely incorporated in consumers’ lives, which is why it is crucial for credit unions to understand what it means for them.

So, what is holding some credit unions back from advanced social media activities? The simple answer is that it’s challenging, and without a proven go-to social media strategy, some credit unions choose to put social platforms aside rather than try to innovate with an unproven plan.

With this in mind, the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) has launched a new toolkit to help credit unions develop their social media skills. The toolkit was developed with the help of digital marketing agency, Rewind Creative, who are already experts in social media marketing and were able to create and design the full suite of resources, guides and content for the toolkit.

The guide is suitable for those who are brand new to social media, as well as those who have already had some experience. It covers all grounds in order to give users a clear direction on where to access the information they are looking for as well as interest them in learning about new elements of social media that they may have not considered before.

Amongst these elements, users can find:

  • Features of the different social media platforms
  • Advice and tips for using social media in a professional capacity
  • Guides for how to engage with other accounts
  • What tone of voice is best suited
  • Ready to use design templates

Community success in social media for credit unions requires honest, genuine discussion about issues. Consumers are more likely to see financial services with useful content as a credible and trustworthy source and recommend to friends and family.

The aim of the toolkit is to highlight how social media, if used properly, can be worthwhile for credit unions, helping their members to find information easily and develop their practice as well as network and promote the non-profit banking profession in general.

Every day, consumers sign up for tools such as electronic transfers, mobile deposits and ATM locators, and other digital applications they find convenient and valuable. There is also a clear opportunity to attract younger members to credit unions as the average age of Credit Union members in the UK is around mid-to-late 40s (Source: WOCCU), by attracting them over digital channels, such as social media. Credit unions need to make the most of technological innovations to provide products and services that younger customers look for from their banking provider.

The increase in the use of digital devices has dramatically boosted the number of interactions customers have with their banking facilities.  Accenture’s Banking Consumer Study found that 50% of consumers now interact with their bank through mobile apps or websites at least once a week, compared to 32% two years ago.

With the use of this social media toolkit, credit unions can work towards being consumers’ best banking partner by communicating with their members and the public about all that credit unions have to offer. Social media offers ways to make genuine connections with them in an effective and cost-efficient way, all while strengthening individual relationships and customer trust.

Following the release of the toolkit, the IMLT and Rewind Creative held a webinar in collaboration with ABCUL – the Association of British Credit Unions Limited. The webinar gathered over 60 attendees from UK credit unions and covered everything that can improve the understanding of credit unions’ members about social media, from terminology, to style of communication or community management.

Commenting on the success of the toolkit, IMLT Head Tony Quigley said: “This is a fantastic resource that helps credit unions excel on social media with building a strong online presence and marketing products and services to new and existing customers.

“We’re delighted with the very positive feedback received so far and encourage more credit unions to get on board with social media and download the free toolkit that has been developed by the digital marketing experts, Rewind.

“Credit unions play an important role in providing affordable credit to people typically excluded by mainstream lenders, who might then turn to unscrupulous loan sharks. We are proud to work with over 100 credit unions across England and provide regular training and resources to support the sector and communities.”

To date, there have been 284 toolkits downloaded and 1,840 users across UK credit unions. Any credit union who would like to expand their professional social media skills will find the toolkit useful.

The toolkit has been funded by proceeds of crime money which has been confiscated from convicted loan sharks.

Credit unions and their employees can access the Social Media Toolkit in the partnership working area of the Stop Loan Sharks.

If you or someone you know has been affected by illegal money lending, support is available. Call the Stop Loan Sharks 24-hour helpline on 0300 555 2222 or contact us via our live chat service, available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.