Energizing Social Media At Your Financial Institution8 min read

Hands Connecting Puzzle Pieces Black and White
(Last Updated On: March 17, 2020)

You already have a social media presence at your bank or credit union. Great! How would you rate its effectiveness? More importantly, would you follow your own social media accounts?

In previous articles, we introduced and discussed Inbound Marketing. To reiterate, increasing organic search traffic is your #1 goal. Turns out, social media can play a major role in the effort.

This article will help you decide which channels make the most sense, why video is so important, and how much you have to put in for results to follow (less than you think!).

The next article will help you create a social media plan. Spoiler: It includes that buyer persona you already built!

Keep reading to get all you need about the range of social media channels customers and prospects will use.

Why Use Social Media?

People Interconnected

For your personal accounts, social media helps stay in touch with friends and family. Perhaps you get some of your news through it (you wouldn’t be alone; just make sure to fact-check anything you read). You may even follow brands you love for deals and updates. That’s the part we’re focusing on today.

Personal and business social media has the same goals. For both, you’re sharing content your followers care about, with a goal to inform and potentially inspire action (gotta get the likes…and more importantly, the real engagement!).

Do you care when a friend shares something uninteresting? Does your cousin like that restaurant check-in you shared without any food shots? What’s more likely to get your friends to try the place out this weekend?

Social media is about, well, and this is going to sound really silly…sharing media to encourage a social connection.

Today, we look at building your financial institutions’ social connections. You’ll learn:

  • Social media demographics
  • Management tools
  • Importance of video

All of this helps you create strong Organic Social Media Marketing. Curious about how to embrace Paid Social Media Marketing? We’ve got another article just for you.

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What is Organic Social Media Marketing?

Megaphone Social Media

Great question. Organic Social Media Marketing is a way of connecting with customers and potential ones through direct content engagement. In other words, this includes your posts, memes, GIFs, tweets, videos, blogs, and more.

The “organic” part refers to the non-promotional nature. That means, you didn’t pay to “boost” or sponsor any of it (not to say you won’t or can’t). Organic and paid social media marketing are two sides of the same effort. But organic is where you want to start.

Who Uses Social Media, Anyway?

In a word, everyone.

73% of American adults use YouTube. 69% use Facebook. 74% of them sign in every day (me included). 37% use Instagram. Other platforms to keep in mind include Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter, respectively by usage.

Girl on Phone at Coffee Shop
Now that’s a venti! (In washable glass, too!)

Social media is everywhere. At the coffee shop? Look around, the other patrons are browsing Facebook. Commuting to work? Someone’s scrolling their Instagram feed (and I sure hope they’re not driving). Out to a work lunch? You know at least one is checking LinkedIn for job offers.

These people are doing more than connecting with friends, celebrities, and job opportunities on social media. They’re also engaging with brands they admire, buy from, and those which paid to earn additional screen time.

Does Your Financial Institution “Do” Social Media?

What’s your social media presence? Do you have accounts on the big three? (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). If you’re not yet a part of that trifecta, you’re part of a shrinking minority: nearly 9 out of 10 banks are somewhat or very active on social media.

Only a few years ago, engaging with customers and prospects on social media seemed like the new frontier. Today, it’s old hat. Yet not everyone does it well, so it can represent a unique opportunity when it’s approached with a plan.

Magnifying Glass on Group of People

Mastering the art of social media can help you:

  • Raise brand awareness
  • Build community
  • Drive engagement
  • Generate new leads
  • Assist customers with issues promptly and personally

In order to meet expanding consumer expectations, brands on social media must ensure they’re abiding by best practices.

So how can you drive results from social media in an age of “blink-and-it’s-gone” content and fleeting attention spans? That’s what we’re going to help you set up right here. Ready?

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Social Media Platforms

Where should your financial institution be? It’s a great question and the answer depends on a few things:

  • Who is your target demographic?
  • What devices do you want to target?
  • What kind of content do you want to post?
  • Which platform best fits your brand?

Demographics

If you’re looking to connect with and engage Gen Xers and Boomers, skip Snapchat or Tik Tok. Trust me, they’ve never heard of the latter. But their kids or grandkids are on it right now.

Aiming for the “under 35” audience? They’re not heavily represented on LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn is great for another field of membership…small businesses. LinkedIn has a high concentration of college-educated, upper management American workers and business owners.

Business owners: The group to connect with your business services. And you want more of those, right?

Yes, LinkedIn is primarily a B2B platform. So how is that a deterrent? You just opened a new marketing channel for growing your business platform or even attracting new partners for your credit union SEG.

If you want to start small, choose the most popular social media platforms for financial institutions: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Feeling ambitious and shutter-happy? Add Instagram to the mix.

Here’s a breakdown of the demographics of each social media platform:

Social Networking Sites Keyboard Keys
“But where’s Instagram?” Guess we couldn’t get a picture of it. Get it? I’ll see myself out.
  • Facebook: 69% of Americans use Facebook; a majority of virtually every demographic uses the platform, only excluding <18 and >65
  • Twitter: Most popular for people in their 20s (40% of 18-29 year olds use Twitter)
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn’s user base is pretty evenly spread across ages 18-64 but is most popular with ages 30-49
  • Instagram: Instagram leans toward a younger audience; there’s a dropoff in users once you hit age 30; mostly concentrated on ages 13-29

Embracing a platform means ensuring your content works best on that platform. The way you write for Twitter is different than posts or articles on LinkedIn.

Scripted (or unscripted) video content on YouTube is logically quite different from text posts. We cover this in more depth when we discuss content strategy.

Social Media Management Tools

Wrenches on Wall

Would you rather handle posts manually or with an automated platform? You’re busy, and work is complex. So automation that makes sense is a great time-saver. It also gives you an easy window into the activity, performance, and engagement across all your social channels.

Social media management platforms exist to make your life easier.

Using a social media management tool helps you save time, stay organized, optimize efficiency, and keep a pulse on your audience across multiple channels. 

Here are a few of the more popular options:

*I use or have used these platforms for social media management

If you’re working with limited resources (and who isn’t?), you can explore free or low-cost tools like Canva (we may receive compensation if you sign up using this link) for graphic design or Biteable and Vyond (formerly GoAnimate) for video creation tools. These services pale in comparison to an in-house designer, but they give you a lot of capabilities at a low cost.

Sidenote: Our eBooks are created using Canva.

Take One: Video

Clapper

Video content is where it’s at. If you’re not recording, you’re missing out. In 2019, 81% of businesses used video as a marketing tool. Mobile video consumption doubles every year. Video posts get shared 1200% more often than text and images alone.

See a bunch more mind-blowing video stats.

You don’t need a videographer, studio, and professional equipment. Sure, they help, but you can get far with a phone, tripod, and microphone (lavalier). Modern phone cameras are high-quality, and this also gives your content a homemade and authentic feel.

Since your institution is about connecting real people, humanizing your video content delivers real value. Make videos which are entertaining, funny, or informative. Or do your best. Not all will be Oscar-worthy, and they only way you’ll learn and improve is to keep recording.

Video is only going to get more popular, and it’s rapidly becoming the preferred form of content consumption across social media.

Hiring The Pros?

So when does it make sense to invest in the professional? If you’re creating a brand video to tell your financial institution story, make it great. Spend some money and get it recorded with the perfect lighting, background music, transitions, logo bumpers, and overall feel.

Video Camera Set

What’s your brand worth? Convey it to current and prospective customers at its finest.

Start Sharing!

Now that you understand the appeal for each service, you can better decide which make the most sense. Remember, your resources are limited and it’s 100% ok to not do them all at once. Start where you believe the best return will be.

The next article will help you create a content plan and build a community across a range of channels.

Before continuing, be sure you’re familiar with the concepts of Inbound Marketing. It’s the big picture to the social media specifics.

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