From left: Mia Perez, Stephanie Potter, Katie Rammer, and Ondar Tarlow

Lessons in influencer marketing

Credit unions embrace the growing practice as a way to attract younger members.

March 19, 2024

Influencer marketing will be a $24 billion industry at the end of 2024, Influencer Marketing Hub reports. Credit unions are taking notice.

A panel of credit union marketing leaders shared their insights into influencer marketing Monday at America’s Credit Unions’ 2024 Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in Las Vegas.

Moderated by Mia Perez, chief administrative officer at $5 billion asset Coastal Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C., the panel featured:

Kinecta Federal views influencer marketing as a way to attract younger members, Tarlow says, focusing on influencers who have financial expertise. The average age of the credit union’s members is 53.

“We know we need to fill that funnel and decrease the average age of our members,” Tarlow says.

Influencer marketing is a good way to humanize the brand, says Potter. “It’s a strategic partnership with a brand that promotes us through their social networks. They’ve humanized our brand so people know we’re not a bank that doesn’t care about people.”

Rammer stresses the importance of educating senior leadership about what influencer marketers are and aren’t. “Make sure they know it’s the joining of two brands, not a brand ambassador. They won’t always be talking about your brand, and you need to communicate that.”

Other insights from the panel:

  • Consider your audience and consider working with a public relations agency to act as a buffer. Carefully review and vet the agency before signing on.
  • Prepare for sticker shock. Influencer marketers, even those who aren’t celebrities, aren’t cheap.
  • Tie influencer marketing to strategy. This provides a platform to work toward success.
  • Work closely with the risk and compliance teams to address reputation risk. Make sure everyone is comfortable with your program, all the way up to the chief risk officer.
  • Define what success will look like and establish metrics to gauge success.
  • Implement a strategy of test and learn.
  • Gain buy-in from the top before proceeding. Doing so will ensure success across the board.
  • Be aware that influencers won’t want to be scripted. Instead, provide guidance to ensure they don’t contradict your brand.
  • Tap employees to promote the credit union. Doing so can be a good way to dip your toes into the influencer marketing water.

“You have to understand how to measure success and build a plan,” Tarlow says. “Otherwise, you’re just dabbling.”