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Credit Union Social Media Strategy Series: The Underbanked

Posted by ryanruud on Mar 6, 2014 8:45:00 AM

All this week we’re diving into the strategy behind reaching specific audiences through your credit union’s social media efforts. Yesterday we discussed reaching millenials and today we’re looking at the underbanked: who they are and what their audience profile can tell us about the strategy for our content and social media marketing efforts.


Who are the underbanked?

Nearly a quarter of American households conduct some or all of their financial transactions outside the mainstream system. This population makes up our final segment: the underbanked.

Defining this group based on the audience profile we outlined at the beginning of this series is a challenge because the profile is diverse.  This audience crosses multiple demographic profiles. What is perhaps more helpful here is understanding the reason for this segment in the first place and how they consume technology.

Underbanked: Audience Profile

The underbanked are generally lower income, but  the underbanked are a highly networked segment with more than ¾ of the audience using social media.

The proliferation of social media use has come at the decrease in price for mobile devices and at the same time so has the possibility for financial institutions to reach this previously underserved market with solutions to their financial needs in medium that fits their lifestyle.

Media, P2P and Mobile are all forms of financial solutions that are actively making progress in this segment.

However, still many of the underbanked feel financial solutions don’t apply to them whether it’s because they don’t have enough money to make it worth their while, access is too difficult or they can’t afford the offering.

What’s important to keep in mind with the underbanked, not all of them have always been underbanked, and that not all of them are stuck in a cycle where they feel they don’t need financial products.  Life happens and access are often the biggest triggers of becoming underbanked.


Social media strategy: reaching the underbanked


Due to the highly social nature of the segment, being present and active is key. This may be the only way to consistently touch this segment with your message and move them down the funnel towards membership.


Messages should reinforce their potential. Nothing is out of reach and that everyone starts somewhere. Because they feel they don’t have enough to even get started, focus on how small things grow to big things and help educate along the way.

 Cross functional strategy:

Because they may not be likely to come into a branch immediately, work with other community groups to teach the importance of personal finance such as community education, church groups etc.  Get them connected to the story of “every little bit” starts building.

This is the start of strategy for the underbanked based on an understanding of who they are, what their needs are and how they interact with online and social media as it relates to financial institutions. You can build on this and adapt it to your local community and credit union needs.

bank and credit union marketing swot analysis

This completes our series starting with developing the questions we ask in building an audience profile, then using an audience profile to build a strategy for specific audience groups: Mass affluent, millennials and today underbanked.

Hope you found the series helpful. What online marketing challenges is your credit union facing?  Tell us in the comments section.


Topics: Social Media, Strategy & Planning

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