The name of the game, when you’re a financial institution looking to grow deposits, customers, and revenue, is to build relationships. This can be challenging, however, in the digital age. While you still have customers who bank in more traditional ways, there’s a new breed of customer out there. And building a relationship with this customer is not easy… but it’s also critical. These are digitally-savvy individuals with high expectations and low attention spans, individuals who are much more apt to open an app than a magazine. The way to reach these future customers, who you really need now not tomorrow, is through the media with which they’re most comfortable. Social.
Is social a big deal? You can bet your bottom dollar it is.
According to the latest Global Digital suite of reports from Hootsuite, the number of people around the world who are active social media users reached 4 billion in 2018. Today, well over half of the world’s population is online. Needless to say, social is here to stay.
How are financial institutions responding? According to a recent study by the ABA, nine out of ten banks surveyed are either “somewhat active” or “very active” on social media. It’s no surprise that FIs are working hard to build strategies that can make social media marketing an integral part of their overall marketing. After all, social platforms can help you connect with your customers, build relationships, increase brand awareness about your brand, and generate sales leads. All good things, right? If you’re not convinced, consider the following.
The quick answer? It’s both efficient and effective. Social media marketing can be implemented for a fraction of what more traditional media such as television, and outdoor boards can cost. Second, social media marketing is measurable, which means you can refine and re-align your messaging as you go. A benefit that traditional marketing tactics such as print and direct mail, simply can’t offer. Third, this type of marketing facilitates interaction that others don’t; interaction equals engagement, engagement equals relationship which eventually – hopefully – leads to loyalty and increased revenue.
So, what’s next?
Right now you’re probably experiencing that “pre-social media euphoria,” a feeling that social media marketing is quick, cheap, and easy. Unfortunately, making the most of social platforms isn’t quite that simple. A successful social media marketing campaign, like any successful endeavor, must start with a plan… a SMART approach.
Social media marketing. It starts with a SMART plan
The secret to successful marketing is, of course, planning. Before you spend a dollar, you want to have a comprehensive picture of your market. Who are your potential customers? Where will you find them? What should you say to them? What are your competitors saying? When is the best time to reach them? And, how can you get your message to them in the most cost-effective manner?
As a critical component of your overall marketing plan, social messaging deserves the same consideration as any marketing initiative. So, before you even consider posting to Instagram or opening a Facebook account, here is what you need to do first:
Set SMART goals
Step one of any planning process is always goal setting. What are you looking to accomplish? Perhaps your goal is to build brand awareness. To generate qualified leads and drive sales. To cross sell new products or services to existing customers. Or, to improve customer retention. This is where a SMART goal-setting framework can be of tremendous help. Establishing such a framework will help you create meaningful, measurable, and achievable social media goals that will support your business in the long run. What does SMART mean?
- Specific: Specific goals are more readily measured, making it easier for you to track your success.
- Measurable: Make it measurable. “Reducing costs” is a worthwhile goal, but it’s vague. “Reduce payment and deposit processing costs by 20%” is a goal that, by contrast, is not.
- Attainable: Sometimes, you won’t be able to really determine the achievability of your goal until you’ve begun your efforts to accomplish it. If you set a goal to reduce your processing costs by 20% and reduce them by 10% in the first month, you need to re-think that goal!
- Realistic: Is your goal a realistic one? A 20% reduction in cost seemed, initially, like a realistic, attainable goal. Adjust as needed. Keep your goals attainable, but give yourself something to aim for.
- Time bound: Every goal needs a start and a finish. Without a completion date, you can’t measure success.
Now that you have an idea of how to set goals, next we’re going to talk about social media channels and what they have to offer in terms of helping you grow your business.
On your mark, get set, get social!
You know that you need a social media marketing plan; you just don’t know where to begin, right? Which platforms make the most sense? Well, here are the ones that should be at the top of your list! As you’ll see, each one is unique, offering its own unique opportunities:
The oldest and by far the most far-reaching of all social channels, Facebook boasts over 2 billion users around the world. This platform has gained popularity among businesses not just for its affluent user base, but also for the variety of options it offers, including professional pages, paid post promotion, and native advertising. For financial institutions, Facebook is an ideal channel for reaching an older (55+), affluent market with products such as second home mortgages and retirement vehicles. To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/business
For a long time, Twitter was known as the platform for Millennials. All that has changed. For businesses, including banks like yours, Twitter is 1) a way for customers to share compliments and complaints (yes, unfortunately!) and 2) an opportunity for you to learn more about your customers and to quickly address their needs in terms of products, services, and social responsibility, for example. Twitter now offers a series of features geared toward customer service and support, which will “enable businesses to focus on personalized, customer-focused responses in order to provide winning social customer service.” To learn more, visit Twitter Business .
Instagram has a following of approximately one billion users. As of August 2019, 36% percent of users were between 25 and 34 years old while 23% of users were between 18 and 24. Instagram users, then, are largely Millennials, a desirable market for financial institutions, particularly as they move to a digital banking experience that is “in hand” versus “in branch”. In addition to building social relationships, Instagram also offers paid advertising options. To get started, visit Business.Instagram.
YouTube is the second largest social network and second largest search engine in the world. Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. YouTube is an ideal platform for complex products or services – for financial institution, services such as home mortgages, for instance – one, if you’re looking to reach a relatively young audience (perhaps first-time home buyers) and two, where long-format informational videos can go in-depth on the benefits your products/services offer. YouTube also reaches individuals age 45-64, making it a good vehicle for retirement products. To learn more, visit youtube.com.
All in all, social media channels can be truly effective in helping you introduce new products, cross sell, gain valuable insights into customer preferences, improve customer service, and more. Ready to get started? Get out there, then, and get social!
For more information on how BankMarketingCenter.com can help your bank with Social Media, contact Neal Reynolds @ 678-528-6688 or firstname.lastname@example.org