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Smart social marketing 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 are they thinking? What should you say? 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.  While at face value, social seems easy; why, it’s nothing more than posting to Facebook, right? Well, unfortunately, it isn’t. 

So, where to begin.  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: A SMART goal must be specific. Goals that are specific are more readily measured, making it easier for you to track your success. 
  • Measurable: A SMART goal must be measurable. Reducing costs is a worthwhile goal, but it’s too vague.  “Reduce payment and deposit processing costs by 20%” is a goal that, by contrast, can be measured.
  • Attainable: A SMART goal should be 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 out with a goal to reduce your processing costs by 20% and find that you’re reduced those costs by 10% in the first month, you need to re-adjust your goal… aim higher!
  • Realistic: Is your goal a realistic one?  This is tied to “Attainable.”  20% reduction in cost seemed, initially, like a realistic and attainable goal.  Again, perhaps we should have aimed higher and still can. You can always change your goal if you discover early in the process that it isn’t as realistic as you thought.  
  • Time bound: Every goal needs both a start and a finish date. Without a completion date, there’s no way to measure success.

The idea is that goals must meet these criteria in order to be effective. Let’s look at an example. Your financial institution is currently spending time and money on paper statements and would like to convert your paper statement customers to e-statement customers. Doing so benefits your business not only through reduced hard costs, but through back-office processing costs, as well. 

You begin with a value statement that defines your goal for your customers: “We are an institution committed to 1) making banking with us as easy as possible and 2) sustainable practices and the preservation of our planet.”  This will drive your social media messaging.

Now, what exactly are you looking to achieve? Let’s say that in one year you want to achieve the following goal:  Convert 25% of paper statement customers to e-statement customers.

Here’s how your goal aligns with the S.M.A.R.T. framework:

  • Specific: You have set a specific conversion goal; 25%.
  • Measurable: Your progress toward this goal is easily measured.
  • Attainable: Is a bar set at 25% too low?  Too high?  The beauty of this framework is that your goals are measurable.  You will know, if you are tracking results – which you definitely must – if you’ve set too low a bar.  Converted 5% in the first 6 weeks? That’s a pretty good indication that you need to re-adjust your goal.
  • Relevant: Your goal has a direct impact on the world we live in. It’s topical.
  • Time bound: The goals have a set deadline: One year.

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.

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the development of effective marketing communication, that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. And with them, your brand. Like the below ads, for instance, recently added to our library of content.To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

 

 

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Social Media Marketing. Is It Really That Simple?

It never ceases to amaze me; when, where, and how often I see people on their phones. Especially when behind the wheel of a speeding car, but don’t get me started on that.

Now, I can’t be exactly sure about what they’re doing on their phones, since I don’t make a habit of looking over a stranger’s shoulder to find out, but I’m fairly certain that they’re engaged in some form of social media. I suppose checking work email or playing Candy Crush Saga® are also possibilities, but when Statista tells me that “as of 2022, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 147 minutes per day, up from 145 minutes in the previous year,” I’m pretty sure that checking work emails isn’t it. 

Is social a big deal?  You can bank on it.

Are social platforms a big deal?  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, with the latest data showing that the number of new online users is currently increasing at 11 new users every second!

How are financial institutions responding? The ABA’s report, State of Social Media in Banking states that of the banking executives surveyed, “three out of four (76%) agree or strongly agree that social media is important to their banks.” And why not? After all, social platforms can do a great deal; help you connect with your customers, build relationships and trust, increase awareness about your brand, and boost your leads and sales. That’s the good news. Which means, at this point you’re probably thinking “heck, this sounds easy enough!  Let’s get on some social platforms and start posting stuff!”  Well, hold on. Take a step back. You’re experiencing that “social media posting euphoria,” a feeling that social media marketing is quick, cheap, and easy. The truth is, it’s none of those… at least not unless executed properly.

Why it’s important

Of course, as a financial institution, your goal is to grow deposits, customers, and revenue. And in order to meet these objectives, you need to build trust and relationships. This, as you know, is no small challenge. While you still have customers who bank in more traditional ways, i.e., visiting your branches to make transactions and paying their bills by mailing checks, there’s a new breed of customer out there. In today’s marketplace, your future is literally in the hands of individuals who are making the shift from in-branch to “in-hand” banking… individuals with high expectations and short attention spans. These are individuals who are far more apt to open an app than to page through a printed piece. How do you reach them? Social. After all, they’re giving you a 147-minute window to do so.

Social benefits

For one thing, you know your potential customers are spending time on social media, so you know you can reach them there. For another, social media marketing can be extremely cost effective. Done efficiently, a social media marketing campaign affords you the opportunity to reach your audience for a fraction of the cost of traditional media such as television, outdoor boards, and even email. Of course, marketing messaging is about much more than “reach.” It’s about engagement… active engagement. What’s the difference between active engagement and passive? 

Passive engagement is basically the least amount of effort a prospect can put into engaging with your content. For example, the simple “like” of your Facebook post, or clicking on the title of your blog post to read it. Conversely, active engagement takes things to the next level, leading to more than just a simple click or a like. Examples would be adding a comment to your blog post or sharing your social post while adding some thoughts to it. Social media gives you the opportunity, with compelling posts, blogs, and web presence, to weave a fabric of engagements that can move the individual who experiences them from through the three stages of the buyer journey; from awareness to consideration to purchase. But, how do you create the content that actively engages?  Where and when should that content get posted?  If you are fortunate enough to truly engage a prospect, how do you lead them to a purchase? 

So, what’s next?

Building relationships through social content, then, is far more complex that clicking the “What’s on your Mind?” field on your Facebook page. A successful social media marketing campaign, like any successful endeavor, must start with a plan. Stay tuned. We’re going to talk about that soon.

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the development of effective marketing communication, that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. And with them, your brand. Like this campaign of ads, for instance, recently added to our library of content.