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Inside Marketing: The Credit Union Selfie Take 2

March 2014 – Vol: 37 No. 3
by Mike Lawson

How credit unions can take advantage of this fun trend

March 20, 2014

Man takes a self portrait photo with his phoneCredit Union Management’s online-only “Inside Marketing” column runs the third Thursday of the month.

A couple months ago I wrote a column called “The CU “Selfie,” a piece focused on providing credit unions with a self examination checklist for 2014. It was a hodgepodge of suggestions to ensure you guys were heading into the New Year with your ducks in a row and included things like:

  • Are you offering mobile/online services (and do they work well)?
  • What’s up with your website? Have you gone responsive yet or are you still working on updating it once every six months?
  • Your CU’s image toward the Gen Y crowd—are you connecting?
  • Your CU advocacy efforts – if any?
  • Your tellers’ knowledge about your products and services? Hopefully, they know.

And there were a bunch more.

In this new version of the “selfie” story, I’m providing suggestions credit unions can use as actual selfie pics – you know the ones your teenagers are posting on Instagram every 10 seconds. In this case, your credit union can really take advantage of this trend – as long as you don’t go overboard with it.

I got this idea originally from Convince & Convert’s Jay Baer. One of his website’s writers, Jessica Gioglio, wrote a story called “5 Creative Examples of Selfies as Social Media Content.”

The five selfie campaigns included:

1.  Dove’s #BeautyIs campaign – mothers and daughters compare their perceived flaws to the attributes others compliment them on. This short selfie film ran at the recent Sundance Film Festival to much fanfare.

Credit union use: perfect channel for member testimonials, showing how their credit union helped them achieve a debt-free life, buy a home, plan for retirement, save for college, etc.

2. #MuseumSelfieDay – a global initiative to encourage people to visit their local museums, which generated myriad artistic and unique images – or selfies.

Credit union use: not sure about the legalities of taking selfies inside an FI branch (hopefully, there isn’t or this one’s a bust), but this one would be perfect for members to take a quick shot of themselves after making a deposit, signing loan papers, showing off their new car or house, or just hanging out with their MSR. Again, another buzz-building effort that easily gets the word out about your CU simply because people like taking pics of themselves in different places.

3. Star Wars launches Instagram account with an unexpected selfie – that would be Darth Vader in a comical self-portrait proclaiming “Another day at the office.”

Credit union use: perhaps your staffers could take a few selfies throughout their workday to get a “behind-the-scenes” look at your CU. Brings that whole humanization thing into - reality. It allows your members to get to know your staff, which is always a good thing. It’s all about relationships, right?

4. New York Library’s photo booth selfies – the library installed a photo booth in its 42nd and Manhattan locations for library visitors to take a quick pic of themselves. Their photos could then be shared on various social media networks, while helping promote the New York Library.

Credit union use: a little odd to have a photo booth in your branch for members to snap a few pics and share on Instagram, but it seems like an easy, cost-effective, and fun idea to create a little viral buzz about your CU. Talk about word-of-mouth advertising when your member leaves the branch: “Guess what was in the credit union branch today – a photo booth!”

5. Dunkin’ Donuts’ celebrates passionate fans by shining a spotlight on their selfies – this is a no brainer showing all the ardent customers’ selfies with Dunkin’ Donuts drinks, donuts, etc., to promote the eatery. The company featured a different fan’s selfie on its Facebook page each week to give that person a little pub, as well. The photos were also shown on the company’s digital billboard in Times Square.

Credit union use: this one mimics #MuseumSelfieDay a bit. Passionate members can take pics of themselves signing loan docs (please blur out any sensitive info), showing off that new car in front of the branch, getting the keys to the new house, or anything that has to do with your CU. Then you can feature that member on your homepage or Facebook page to promote the great things your CU is doing for members. It’s infectious.

As annoying as selfies can be at times, they’re not going anywhere because we like ourselves too much. So why not take advantage of people’s narcissistic nature and promote your credit union through their self expression – and reward them for it.

What ideas do you have for a “selfie” promotion at your credit union? We would love to see them. Share your stories and selfies in the comments, below. Or tweet them at @TheRealCUES and @CUbroadcast.  

Mike Lawson, principal and founder of the PR/marketing firm DML Communications and the online CUbroadcast show, has two decades of journalism, public relations and marketing experience. His unique and robust knowledge allows him to meet the varied needs of editors, end-users and clients. Lawson's expertise enables him to enhance his clients' market exposure through media relations, social media tools, advertising efforts, target marketing strategies and more. He also speaks on PR, marketing and media issues to audiences nationwide.

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