Tips and strategies for leveraging your social media channels with engaging content that performs.
Nearly 90% of banks are active on social media, according to a 2019 American Bankers Association survey1. But as a financial marketer, you already know that your customers and your competitors are on social media — and your bank needs to have a strong presence on social channels, too. Yet, merely posting on Facebook or Instagram because everyone else is doing it is not going to move the dial — and could be a waste of your time and resources.
So how do you develop a social media strategy for financial services — and specifically for your financial institution — that can ensure your messages stand out where they should and with the right audience? Start with our tips and tactics.
Develop a Social Media Strategy for Financial Services
Having a presence on social media can be a cost-effective way for your brand to reach a massive audience. Social media statistics from 2019 show that there are 3.5 billion social media users and that number is growing.2 But for your communications to be successful, you have to have a plan — and that starts with a well thought out social media strategy. To get the most out of your efforts, be sure to include the six elements below.
Develop a written social media plan that aligns with your financial institution’s overall marketing strategy and business goals. Include a social media content calendar with a posting schedule, including a plan for how frequently to post and time of day to post.
Align your social content with relevant social media channels and target audiences. Focus on having an active presence where your customers are, keeping in mind that you don’t have to be everywhere.
Rather than focus on quantity, aim for quality content that generates engagement and interaction.
Maintain an authentic, consistent voice across social media channels to help build brand recognition and earn trust.
Determine what you want your social media content to accomplish. Whether it’s increased visibility, more traffic to your bank’s website, app downloads or something else, define a goal so you can monitor and measure your content’s performance.
Ensure that you’re following best practices for social media compliance in financial services. Enlist strategic plan input from your company’s legal, IT, information security, human resources and marketing teams to help maintain a consistent brand identity and help guide posting and approval permissions and processes.
How to Create Financial Services Social Media Content That Drives Results
Once you have a solid social media strategy in place, you can begin to focus on the tactical steps of creating more relevant content. The tips and best practices below can help ensure that your social media content provides value to current and prospective customers — while building engagement, loyalty and sales.
Use financial social media content to position your brand as a helpful resource.
Provide educational, personal finance social media content, such as budgeting and saving tips. While it’s best to use original branded content versus generic syndicated or “canned” content, that doesn’t mean that you have to reinvent the wheel with every post. For example, offer a quick tip that links to a related blog post on your website. Or, repurpose existing personal finance content from your website or online resource center by putting it in a different format, such as an infographic, checklist or video. If you have blogs on your website geared to different audience segments, promote them to those specific groups on the social platforms that make the most sense.
Use lots of visual content.
Include images and videos in your posts to increase exposure and engagement. According to HubSpot, visual content is 40% more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content — and posts with video attract three times more inbound links than plain text posts.3 Video can also extend the length of time users stay on the platform. Consider how-to videos for services like mobile banking or explaining how a CD works.
Provide content that encourages interaction and feedback.
Use surveys and polls to gauge customer interest in particular products, services — even trends. Connect with followers and increase engagement by posting interactive content, such as quizzes, trivia games, contests or even a local scavenger hunt with fun giveaways as prizes.
Keep in mind that it’s also important to monitor user feedback on your social channels to gain insights into what others are saying about your brand and your industry. Then, use these learnings to make any necessary updates to your financial services social media content strategy.
Humanize your brand to build trust.
Sharing personal interest stories and highlighting local events via social media can help make your brand more approachable and authentic, and help foster trust. For example, share photos or video from bank-sponsored community events like a charity 5K or a chili cookoff. Highlight a customer’s personal story; spotlight local students for their activities, college scholarships or other accomplishments. You could even promote a free educational event your bank is hosting or sponsoring, such as an informational seminar for first-time homebuyers.
Tailor your financial social media content to fit the channels and audiences you’re trying to reach.
To increase engagement with your social media content, align your messages with channels that most effectively reach your target audience segments. For instance, Gen Zers are likely to use different social media channels, and respond differently to messages, than baby boomers. Young checking account customers might engage more with quick saving tips or fun facts, while wealth management clients might appreciate an industry news tidbit followed by a link to an economic outlook report. Likewise, for example, a LinkedIn post about the importance of budgeting should look different from an Instagram post on the same topic.
Regardless of what segment you’re trying to engage and on which channels, be sure to keep your messages simple and straightforward in a scannable format with clear, easy-to-read text. And remember to focus on being customer-centric by sharing how your products and services address specific challenges, needs and life stages.
Position your brand as a thought leader.
Leverage the market knowledge of your employees and subject matter experts for your financial services social media content. For instance, enlist a bank loan officer to share home buying tips in a short video; or have a wealth advisor on your staff offer a series of social media-friendly tips on retirement. To demonstrate thought leadership and build trust, keep the content of the messaging solution-oriented versus a product push.
Leverage content to differentiate your brand.
Your financial institution and your competitors may have similar products, but your bank has its own unique voice, values and mission. Share these qualities to help connect with consumers who share your vision. A distinct brand voice will reinforce your brand identity and help your financial social media content stand out.
Track Your Financial Social Media Content Goals
Creating and posting social media content is an investment of time and resources. To ensure that your efforts are paying off, it’s essential to measure social media performance and metrics. While the most important metrics for your financial institution will depend on your specific goals, it’s always a good idea to focus on these three: engagement, reach and action taken.
Which posts generate the highest engagement, and which ones barely move the dial? Use your social media performance metrics to tweak your content strategy as needed.
Compelling Financial Social Media Content Yields Stronger Customer Relationships
Social media users are already bombarded with content. So it’s only likely that they’ll tune out anything that isn’t relevant to them. To create relevant social content that nurtures existing relationships and builds new ones, it’s crucial to understand your customer segments, including their preferred social channels. That way, you can tailor the right social content to the right channels, helping to engage customers today and drive loyalty to your financial institution for years to come.
Creating relevant, engaging content is one of the most important ways financial institutions can stay one step ahead of the competition. CCG can help. Our financial services marketing approach is centered around the customer experience and includes analytics, customer surveys, digital content and design, coding and deployment, and more.
1 “The 2019 State of Social Media in Banking,” American Bankers Association, posted Aug. 8, 2019, https://bankingjournal.aba.com/2019/08/the-2019-state-of-social-media-in-banking/, accessed Jan. 15, 2020
2 “10 Social Media Statistics You Need to Know in 2020,” Maryam Mohsin, Oberlo, posted Nov. 7, 2019, https://www.oberlo.com/blog/social-media-marketing-statistics, accessed Jan. 31, 2020
3 “19 Reasons You Should Use Visual Content in Your Marketing,” Amanda Sibley, HubSpot, updated Feb. 3, 2017, https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33423/19-Reasons-You-Should-Include-Visual-Content-in-Your-Marketing-Data.aspx, accessed Jan. 31, 2020