Social media has proven to be a useful marketing tool for all types of businesses. Everyone from local mom ‘n pop shops to big-name national corporations can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of a number of other popular social sites to get noticed, increase brand loyalty, and attract customers. Making social media work for banks and credit unions involves some strategizing and work. To ensure you’re on the right track, here are some best practices for getting started.
Although there are about five core social media platforms that are the most popular, there are hundreds world-wide. Some, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, appeal to a wide audience, while others center around specific interests such as myspace which is music-focused, or LinkedIn which caters to professionals. With so many options, you’ll easily get overwhelmed if you to try to cultivate a presence on all of them. The good news is that it’s best to just pick one site to begin with, and get that going before taking on any more.
Facebook is pretty much the godfather of all social media sites, so it’s a good place to dip your toe into the social media stream. However, with Instagram, Twitter, and Google My Business hot on its heels, don’t overlook those as worthwhile possibilities. For instance, because Instagram is so visual, it offers a unique opportunity for financial institutions to cultivate a friendly, down-to-earth image.
When completing the profile, keep copies of all the info in an electronic file. Then, when you start branching out to other social sites, you’ll have that material at the ready without having to search for it or recreate it on the fly. That will save time and keep your financial institution’s profile consistent across all its social media accounts which will help strengthen brand recognition.
Engage With Followers
Part of your social media plan has to include interacting with your followers. Doing so puts a personal face on your financial institution and makes people feel like their bank or credit union is listening to them and cares. It’s a good idea to assign one or two people to “own” your organization’s social media so that it doesn’t get forgotten and fall through the cracks. Make sure they know their duties include not only creating or procuring content and posting it, but also reading through comments, replying to them, and keeping the conversation going.
Sometimes, engaging can mean responding to a complaint or negative remark. Those difficult issues are opportunities to put your best foot forward. Remain professional and positive. Try to resolve complaints as smoothly and quickly as possible. Use the situation to show how your financial institution values customers and providing a positive experience for them.
Competitors and Friends
The business world is highly competitive but, in the world of social media, competitors are useful and can even be friends. In addition to businesses popular with your customers, friend and follow other banks and credit unions. That will give you a chance to see what’s working for others on social sites, and it can also provide you with an endless pool of potential customers. By following some of a competitor’s followers on Instagram, for example, you’ll get your financial institution’s name in front of people you may not have been able to reach under other circumstances. You might even want to share competitors’ posts occasionally and doing so builds a rapport that can result in more exposure for your or credit union.
Add Social Media to Your Marketing Budget
There was a brief time when social media was a cheap (read: free) way to market, but that’s no longer the case. These days, as crowded as social sites are, any post you create would have to be pretty spectacular to go viral and get a significant amount of attention.
Buying ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google or whatever platform you have a presence on will increase awareness of your brand. Absolutely continue to post on your preferred social media channels but also set aside some of your marketing budget for buying ads there, too.
What Should You Post?
Banks and credit unions get more out of social media when there’s a plan in place. Instead of random posts, decide from the start what type of info will spotlight your financial institution in a way that supports and/or builds your brand. Do you want to be a thought leader? The king of customer service? Do you want to get word out about products and services you offer? Social media is an opportunity to convey those messages to existing and potential customers.
It helps to be inventive and a bit imaginative, too. Across all platforms, social media is visual, so make your content eye-catching. Find or create images to go with engaging content. Bank of America, for example, has mastered creatively using eye-catching images on Instagram to remind users about services they offer, but they also share simple and fun budget advice, like giving homemade gifts (alongside a picture of delicious holiday cookies) or automating a savings plan (accompanied by a video of a dozing cat, because cats purr-fur the easy way). The content is valuable while also being appealing and entertaining.
Other ideas for posts include:
- sharing personal stories
- creating challenges and contests
- posting relevant quizzes
- ask questions
Also, your social media posts can—and should!—be used to drive traffic to your financial institution’s website, so always include a link to relevant pages on your site with each post.
Pinpointing Ideas on What Works
Knowing what type of social media content will engage your target audience means doing some research, and Avannis can help with that. Our innovative tools, customizable surveys, and unequaled expertise provide a clear picture of what consumers want, the experiences they’re looking for, and what it takes to turn them into loyal, satisfied customers. Plus, we’re always adding resources to make the entire process easier, like a new tool available soon that keeps your customer feedback all in one place–including social media reviews and proactive survey results.
Contact us today for more information on what Avannis has to offer and learn how we can help make your social media marketing a success. And, while you’re on social media, be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up to date on the cutting-edge solutions Avannis offers.