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Can and should we do more about student debt? You bet.


It all started with American Banker’s July 22 article, Alleviating the Student Loan Crisis through Digital Banking. It really got me thinking. About student debt, yes, but lots of other things, too; our system of higher education and its value, financial literacy, borrowing, parenting, and my own personal experience with financial matters.

For starters, I’m guessing that many of you reading this also have some personal experience with student loans. Perhaps you took one (or more) in your college days. Perhaps you have a child or children who are borrowing for college. I think it’s reasonable to make this assumption because, as the article points out, there are approximately 45 million borrowers in the U.S. — with an average debt of about $38,000 — bringing our total student debt as a nation to $1.7 trillion. Want just a tiny bit of perspective on this dollar figure? According to Statista, in 2020 the US manufacturing industry added $2.2 trillion to the US GDP.

The article goes on to state some of the “primary causes of the student loan crisis," citing a lack of state funding for higher education, tax cuts, higher tuition, and among others, loans that are awarded without adequately screening the borrower. Another reason? Borrowers are often unprepared to take on the debt because they do not have an adequate understanding of financial matters. And, believe me, borrowing for college demands more than just an understanding of money management basics, like sound investing strategies and managing one’s credit. If you’ve any doubt that borrowing for college isn’t a complex process that really requires advanced degrees in both accounting and law, try to make sense of the “guidance” provided here on studentaid.gov. Imagine trying to navigate this process as an 18-year-old high school senior.

“As future business owners, leaders, and members of society, banks and credit unions need to support these individuals with the right tools to alleviate their financial burden. Without guidance and true financial education, people with student debt will not be able to secure a successful financial future for themselves and their families,” says the article. And I couldn’t agree more. I’ll add a few thoughts to this: 1) With “support,” these young, indebted individuals are more likely to become more valuable banking customers earlier in their lives and, 2) that “support” needs to start way before they owe, on average, $38,000.  It needs to start before they even think about borrowing for college.

Now, I am a huge proponent of higher education. I am also a huge proponent of financial education. We all know that far too many Americans are, to put it bluntly, truly unable to properly manage their personal finances. “Most individuals lack a foundation for financial success,” says the article. “In fact, less than 17% of high school students are required to take at least one semester of personal finance in high school and only 34% of Americans can answer four of five basic financial literacy questions."

Clearly, more financial education is needed and individuals with student debt are certainly hamstrung when it comes to securing a financial future for themselves and their families. But where will they get that guidance and financial education?

Can young people learn financial literacy from their parents? Perhaps, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. It didn’t happen in my home. While my father certainly taught me the importance of working hard and paying my own way, with a little bit of “save your money” on occasion, that was the extent of the financial guidance I got from dad. I’m guessing that many young men share that same experience. And for young women and their parents, I doubt that there’s much conversation at all about financial matters.

When this is so important, why isn’t this learning taking place at home? I learned a little bit about why from reading cnbc’s “Who should teach kids about money? Americans say parents, but many don’t talk to their own children about it.” You can pretty much guess “why” from the title of the article. “While most Americans believe it is the job of parents to teach their kids about money,” it says, “many don’t actually talk to their children about finances.” Certified financial planner Tom Henske, managing partner at the Affluent Insurance Advisor, tells us that parents don’t talk to their children about money because “it seems like a herculean task, an endeavor to take on to teach your kids about money when you don’t really feel comfortable about the topic of money yourself.”   

I guess I never really thought of a discussion about money with my son or daughter as herculean or uncomfortable… at least compared to some of the other discussions we’ve had to have with our children about topics that I’m, well, too uncomfortable to mention here. So, as in many cases where children aren’t learning what they should from their parents, we turn to the schools. And there’s good news on that front, according to cnbc:

“The trend towards in-school personal finance classes is slowly building. Recently, Florida became the largest state to mandate a personal finance course for high school graduation. Twenty-five states now require high-school students to take personal finance coursework, either in a standalone class or integrated into another course. ‘Research shows that students who are able to participate in financial economic education class in high school make better decisions about their college financing,’ said Nan Morrison, president and CEO of the Council for Economic Education. 'They have better credit scores and lower loan default rates.’”

Back to American Banker, which quotes “student loan expert, Mark Kantrowitz” as advising us that the best way for students to overcome student debt is to avoid overborrowing in the first place. To accomplish this, “students should limit their total debt to less than their starting salary in the first year of their job out of college, allowing them to pay off their loans in less than ten years.” Now, that seems like sound advice. However, I’m not sure it’s all that practical. I don’t know when and where Mr. Knatowitz went to college, or if he borrowed to do so, but I do know that in today’s world, it is pretty impossible for a student to limit their total debt to less than their first job’s starting salary. That’s tough to do when the average cost of college – tuition and fees — runs around $20,000 per year. According to the May 5 USA Today article “College students expect to make $103,880 after graduation – almost twice the reality,” while college students expect to make about $103,880 in their first post-graduation job, the average starting salary is actually about half that at $55,260. I was able to borrow less than my first year’s salary, but my cost of attendance at the time was less than $9,000/year. The COA at this same university today is $52,000/year.

So, if you’re reading this as a parent, hopefully you’ll have these “herculean” and “uncomfortable” dinner table conversations about money management with your children. And, if you’re reading this as a community banking professional, hopefully you’ll encourage everyone within shouting distance to take a financial management course and to share what they learn with their children. Perhaps then, both students and parents will make more informed decisions when it comes to borrowing and truly reap the benefits — and the value — of a college education.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

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 financial education 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 

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Marketing Dollars are Back. Are you Prepared?

I recently saw some news, pretty good news I believe, concerning financial industry marketing budgets. Now, I can't help but reminisce a bit at the mention of the word “budget.”

Back in my ad agency days, never a day passed without some conversation about budgets. Your survival, of course, depended on it; the client’s budget, that is.  Every one of us in the creative department was either working or worrying; working to grow the brand and the business, or worrying that the client might find a reason to cut their budget. A cut could come for any number of reasons, but more often than not it was a downturn in the economy.

Maybe I’m imagining it, but it seemed easier back then to know when those cuts would come. And maybe that’s because when the economy was good, you knew it was good. Conversely when it was bad you knew it was bad. Not today. There seem to be some very different opinions about the state of things these days… 

I’ll start with the bringers of bad news. According to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects Report: “Amid the war in Ukraine, surging inflation, and rising interest rates, global economic growth is expected to slump and several years of above-average inflation and below-average growth are now likely. It’s a phenomenon—stagflation—that the world has not seen since the 1970s.”  Doesn’t exactly make your day, does it? 

But then I read this; a July 1 American Banker article entitled “PNC Financial CEO ‘confused’ about market’s recession worries, impact on banks” where PNC Chairman, President and CEO William Demchak stated: “I am personally confused about all the concern that sits out there on banking reserves and the coming recession and the impacts on profitability of banks.” According to the article, many in the financial industry agree with Mr. Demchak. "Little of the data I see tells me the U.S. is on the cusp of a recession," said Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser. "Consumer spending remains well above pre-COVID levels with household savings providing a cushion for future stress and, as any employer will tell you, the job market remains very tight." Robert Bolton, president of the bank investor Iron Bay Capital, shared Fraser’s optimism: “A lot of the bankers I’ve met with are still pretty confident, and that’s based on what they’re seeing with credit quality and hearing from their commercial clients in terms of positive sentiment. Businesses are growing, hiring.” Peter Sefzik, Comerica’s Executive Director of Commercial Banking, agrees: “Overall, we feel like the sentiment of our customers is still pretty good at this time. Our pipeline is strong. Our activity levels are good, so it's hard to see any sort of immediate concerns.”  

Since I would much rather believe good news than bad, I’m going to go with the optimists on this one!

I also read, just recently, that banks are going back to spending on marketing; moving those dollars that were being spent on Mar-Tech over the last year or so back to spending on building  their brand and selling products. comcouncil.org says that “average marketing spending across industries has increased to 9.5% of overall company revenue this year. Financial services firms lead the way with the highest marketing budget at 10.4% of company revenue, up from 7.4% in 2021.”

While this is good news in terms of a bank’s ability to market itself, it can create challenges for community banks with limited resources. With more marketing dollars to spend, but no new hires planned for the immediate future, a community bank’s in-house marketing team can quickly find itself overwhelmed. When the objective is to grow the customer base and share of wallet through digital channels and better digital engagement — in other words, to do more with less — where can bank marketers turn for the marketing communication content they need?

About Bank Marketing Center

This is where bankmarketingcenter.com and our library of professionally designed digital assets can be just what a bank’s in-house marketing team needs. Take, for example, these digital ads we’ve created around fee-free checking.  These layouts can be quickly and easily customized;  select the logo, colors, fonts, and images you need, then simply drag and drop. No design software or skill needed.



Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. In short, build your brand. To view our campaigns, both print and digital, visit BankMarketingCenter.com. Or, you can contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.


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Are you getting the most out of your social media messaging?

Well, over our last few blogs we’ve talked a bit about social media marketing. We’ve talked about the importance of social media marketing in your marketing mix.  We’ve talked about the necessity of having a SMART plan before doing anything. We’ve talked about the various platforms and their unique benefits. Now it’s time to talk about what to post and how to know whether or not your posts are effective.

I do want to start off with the first paragraph in a HootSuite article entitled, 16 Crucial Social Media Metrics to Track in 2022, which I absolutely love: 

“The great thing about social media is that you can track almost every single detail through social media metrics. The tough thing about social media is that… you can track almost every single detail through social media metrics.”

Chances are very good that you already have some presence on social media; most likely pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. But a presence on a few platforms is not enough… in fact, it’s barely even the start of a social media marketing effort. To get the most bang out of your social media buck, you need to have a SMART plan, which we’ve talked about in a previous blog. Once you’ve put a plan in place and developed a strategy to reach your planned objectives, you can begin developing you social content and posting it. What’s next?

Keep a social calendar

No, not the one with the indecipherable notes scribbled in Sharpie® that helps you keep track of birthdays; the one that will help you create (and stick to) a posting plan. To make building your calendar a bit easier, Hootsuite will even provide you with a calendar template!  And while, like everything in life, it’s nice to prepare weeks in advance for something you know is going to happen, well, we know it just doesn’t work that way. If you can plan your posts a couple of months in advance, you’re doing pretty well. With the exception, of course, of unexpected events such as an emergency closing due to inclement weather, most posting is pretty predictable.

Right about now you’re probably wondering how often you should be posting on your social platforms. Again, from Hootsuite: “It’s the question that launched a thousand sleepless nights: “How often should I post to social media?”  Hootsuite answers the question thusly:

“We dug into the research and grilled our own social media team for insights to discover the ideal number of times a day (or week) to post for each platform. Here’s a quick summary of what we found, but read on for more in-depth details:

  • On Instagram, post between 3-7 times per week
  • On Facebook, post between 1 and 2 times a day
  • On Twitter, post between 1 and 5 Tweets a day
  • On LinkedIn, post between 1 and 5 times a day”

Posting to a number of platforms several times each day may seem a bit daunting. How exactly does a bank marketing professional come up with enough content to maintain this regular posting schedule? And as we’ve discussed, the secret (no secret, really) to developing marketing messaging is keeping it fresh, relevant, topical, engaging, and personal. Social media messaging is no different. Developing social content takes some effort.

So, where is this engaging, topical information going to come from?  Some will come straight from the old Roman calendar in the way of holidays and from your organization in the form of news; new hires, job postings, employee anniversaries and profiles, new branch openings, branch closings, products and services that you offer... the opportunities are limited only by your imagination. Then there are those external events you’ll want to post about, such as attendance at/sponsorship of community events, announcing significant local activities such as festivals, holiday observances, your charitable giving endeavors, involvement in local educational organizations or programs, etc., etc., etc. A Lucky Strike extra with calendar planning; it can force you to think of ways to fill it.

Now, how will you measure the effectiveness of your efforts?

An important step in your social marketing planning is determining how you’ll measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Without KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), you have no way of tracking the response to your posts. Without KPIs, you cannot look at the data gathered, learn from it, and refine your messaging — when and where needed —in order to deliver more desirable outcomes.

On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, there are a few commonly tracked metrics for social media campaigns, including: reach, impressions, likes, comments, and engagements. Setting benchmarks and monitoring response for these KPIs is crucial to understanding the overall effectiveness of your social media. Every social media platform has its own native analytics for you to dive into. For Facebook, you’ll find them in the Insights tab. In Twitter, you navigate to Twitter Analytics. In Instagram and Pinterest, you’ll need business accounts before you’ll be able to see your data.


The engagement metric tells you how actively involved your audience is with your content. Engaged viewers interact with messaging through “likes,” comments, and social sharing and every platform offers some sort of engagement metric. And engagement can be measured by more than one yardstick. On Facebook, for instance, engagement is split between 1) Post Clicks and 2) Reactions, Comments and Shares. While a post click number may be high, that does not necessarily mean that the campaign is successful.  A more telling indicator is the number of reactions, comments, and shares. This number is a reflection of true, active engagement, as opposed to someone simply viewing your post. Sound a bit complex?  That’s because social media metrics certainly can be. Facebook does offer useful, detailed information on their Meta Business Help Center page.

Impressions and Reach

Frequently used but often confused, impressions and reach are each an important metric to track.  Your Reach metric tells you how many unique individuals your post reached, while Impressions tells you how many individuals saw your post times the number of instances each individual viewed your post. Why are reach and impressions important metrics to watch? When impressions are higher than reach, it means your audience is viewing your content multiple times. That is good. Social content that earns high impression numbers can help you better understand what type of content is performing well and what type is not. With Twitter, for example, the platform’s analytics dashboard does not track Reach, but you can track Impressions. Again… a bit complicated?  Twitter can help you out with their Activity Dashboard Help Center.

Page Likes

It’s nice to be liked, isn’t it? Well, you want your posts to enjoy that same feeling.  Put simply, the more your content is liked, the better. When it comes to Facebook, for example, “likes” are fairly simple. When someone likes a page, they're showing support for the page and its content. [Note: Not the same as “following,” which is even better. When someone follows a page, it means they are open to receiving updates about that page in their news feed.] Facebook lets you track page likes easily through their Audience Insights Platform. With Twitter, you can simply click on any Tweet to get a detailed view of the number of retweets, replies, likes, follows, and clicks it receives. Twitter also offers an analytics tool, which you can access simply by logging into your account. Click on “Audiences” and you can view a complete report of your following over the last 28 days.  Instagram, on the other hand, does not make social metrics easy. A third-party tool like Squarelovin can help.

Website visits

Using social to drive traffic to your website.  Well, of course,  you 'll want to know what platform is driving traffic and what messaging is doing it most effectively. A great way to effectively track website visits from your social campaigns across all channels is to develop custom UTMs which can then be tracked using Google Analytics. UTMs, or Urchin Tracking Modules, are a tracking device that can yield specific valuable information regarding site traffic visit sources. Simply put, UTM tracking involves adding unique codes to the URLs to which your posts link with a click through. If you aren’t familiar with UTM codes or aren’t sure how to set them up, you can find detailed guidance on Google’s Analytics Help page.

Ready to get started?

Managing your bank’s social media marketing is not exactly a DIY project and this blog is by no means intended to serve as a comprehensive guide to social marketing analytics. Hopefully, it will get you excited about the possibilities that social media marketing analytics provide, and inspires you to give analytics a try.  If you decide that this is something you’d rather not take on yourself, don’t despair.  There are a number of companies you can engage, such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social, that offer highly sophisticated analytics reporting tools.

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 these Fee-free Checking Account ads 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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Almost 8 reasons why your bank needs a blog


No social media marketing strategy is complete without a blogging component. Having a blog not only provides a strong foundation for your marketing, it’s also fun and inspiring—and a great way to personalize your brand, share ideas, generate new ones, and build a community of like-minded and engaged individuals.  Here are just a few of the reasons why blogging is well worth your time and investment.

1. Be both a SME and a friend

Think of your blog as a conversation. It’s an opportunity to speak in detail about your products and services, share content that is relevant at that particular time, and if you’re so inclined, to comment on relevant industry news and trends.  But remember, no matter what tack you decide to take, that a blog is a conversation. While it should educate — you do want to be viewed as that SME (Subject Matter Expert) — it should never read like a product brief or a white paper.  There are lots of opportunities for your target audience to access those types of marketing materials (and if there isn’t, there certainly should be) so use your blog as a means to engage in a way that can personally connect with your reader.

2. Build some traffic while you’re at it

Blogs provide the perfect platform to strengthen your SEO strategy. Start by thinking about the size of your website. How many pages are there? Probably not that many, right? And think about how often you refresh/update the content on those pages. Probably not that often. This is where your blog comes in. Every time you create and publish a blog post, search engines consider that yet another indexed page on your website.  This means that with each blog, you’re creating one more opportunity for your site, through that blog post, to show up on the search engine results page (SERP) and drive traffic to your website in a prospect’s organic search. Simple math:  The more often you blog, the more opportunities you have to elevate your site’s placement on an SERP.

3. Put a likable face on your digital presence

The digital experience is inherently impersonal. While machine learning and AI have certainly contributed to our ability to identify customers and their needs and in so doing, helped us personalize our interactions, the digital experience is still far from an in-branch one. For instance, a website isn’t exactly the most personalized consumer touch point, is it? And we all know how important a personalized experience is to our customers. We hear about it all the time. “Personalize your customer experience!,” the experts are constantly shouting.  Your  blog helps. It  puts a human face on your bank which — while it can’t take the place of a face-to-face in-branch encounter — helps make your bank feel more personal, friendly, trustworthy, and accessible.

 4. Get your readers to comment and share

A solid bank site can be relied upon to answer questions that customers, or potential customers, might have about products and services. This is a different type of interaction than that which a blog provides.  If you end your blog with “I’d love to know your thoughts on the subject,” believe me, you will get thoughts.  This is, of course, just what you’re after.  This is why a blog is so powerful. It can create a two-way conversation with customers, leads, and industry peers. With a more relatable tone and an interactive platform, you can encourage feedback and discussion.

 5. Add to your email database

Email marketing is an important tactic and should certainly be a component of your overall marketing mix. The challenge, of course, with email marketing is building your database. It’s not easy to get people to “opt in,” so you need to take every opportunity (preferably in the least intrusive ways possible) to encourage sign-up.  The way to do this, of course, is to provide value in exchange for the individual’s contact info. Again, not easy. But, this is where a blog can help. Blogs help contribute to your bank staying top of mind and help reinforce your audience’s need to keep updated. If people find your blog content informative, relevant, and engaging, chances are they’ll trust that your email newsletters are as well. Inserting links in your blog that will encourage readers to sign up for additional touchpoints, like emails, is a great way to build that email database.

 6. Re-purpose your blog 

 Obviously, your social media marketing consists of, well, social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Every time you create and post a blog, you’re creating content that 1) you can share across your social platforms and 2) people who see it can share with each other. The content you create can also live, in various part and pieces, across your social media channels, giving you more social bang for you blogging buck. With blogging, you’re not only strengthening your social reach with the blog itself.  You’re also creating a web of engagement points that connect with each other and ultimately lead everyone you’ve engaged right to your website.

7. Drive long-term social marketing results

Hubspot says: “Imagine you sit down for an hour on Sunday to write and publish a blog post. Let’s say that blog post gets 100 views and ten leads on Monday. You get another 50 views and five leads on Tuesday as a few more people find it through social media. But after a couple of days, most of the fanfare from that post dies down, and you've netted 150 views and 15 leads. It's not over.” Since that post is now ranking, it means that for days, weeks, months, and years to come, you can continue to get traffic from that blog post. That’s because a blog post can bring traffic to your site long after it's first posted. In fact, according to Hubspot, “about 90% of the leads we generate every month come from blog posts published in previous months. Sometimes years ago.”

There’s much more to it.

Is this a comprehensive treatise on blog posting? No. There are a number of additional benefits to blogging that we haven’t discussed here. And, there are a number of companies out there that can advise you on how to get the most of your blogging, from software and templates to guidance on creating a blogging editorial calendar. My hope here is that you’ve learned just enough about blogging to be inspired enough to give it a try. It’s a terrific tool for engaging customers and generating leads. 

 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 recruitment 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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5 Ways to Attract Customers Using Social Media

Facebook. Instagram. YouTube. TikTok. Twitter. You've decided that you're going to add social media to your marketing mix. Now, which platform to choose? While you may feel you need to choose one or two, why not take advantage of them all? As you’ll see, each one is unique, offering its own unique opportunities. If you have any preconceived notions about social media, like "it's just for kids," put those notions aside and read on. 

Why social is ideal for community banks 

Why?  Because social media IS community, which is why it aligns perfectly with community banking. Unlike the large, national banks, community banks are in the business of participating in their communities and, importantly, helping people through relationships. It’s about connecting with customers on a personal level.  And that’s what social media is all about.

The most viewed, followed, and shared content on social platforms is the content that is perceived as authentic, the content that shares thoughts and experiences, not information.  Here's a brief overview of the social media channels that you, as a financial institution, really need to incorporate into your marketing plan:


It’s been predicted that by the end of this year, TikTok will boast 1.8 billion active users worldwide. While the largest demographic of TikTok users skews younger, at ages 18-29, it’s not just a fad for Millennials and Gen Zers. The 30-39 demo constitutes nearly 20% of the platform’s user base. Check out this success story from earlier this year: “FNB Community Bank is conquering TikTok.” It chronicles the success that a Midwest, OK-based community bank has had with a platform that just a few years ago, wasn’t even on most marketer’s radars.

“These days,” the article says, “Julie (Julie Waddle, Assistant Vice President, Marketing Manager) creates videos about financial advice, the community bank’s high-quality customer service and even its ugly Christmas sweater contest.” Her recordings can sometimes receive up to several thousand views. “A few of FNB Community Bank’s videos, however,” the article goes on to say, “have garnered tens of thousands of views, reaching far beyond the community bank’s footprint.”  To learn more about the benefits that TikTok can help you market your bank, visit TikTok for Business.


The oldest and by far the most far-reaching of all social channels, Facebook boasts over 2 billion users around the world.  Over the past few years, Facebook has evolved from a GenX channel to a Boomer channel. 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 about the benefits that Facebook can offer your business, visit Facebook for business.


For a long time, Twitter had been known as the platform for Millennials. This is, however, no longer the case. Today, world leaders and Fortune 100 CEOs are tweeting away.  For the customers of small businesses, including banks like yours, Twitter is a way to share compliments and complaints (yes, unfortunately!) and for those businesses, an opportunity to quickly respond to customer questions and concerns.  Twitter, then, is a great vehicle for:

  • solving customer issues
  • building relationships that can lead to greater revenue
  • learning about what your market thinks of your products and services, and
  • promoting new products with the “breaking news” urgency that is unique to this channel.

To make it even easier for businesses, Twitter now offers a series of features geared toward customer service and support, which as Twitter describes them, will enable businesses to “focus on personalized, customer-focused responses in order to provide winning social customer service.”  To learn more, visit Twitter Business or follow @TwitterBusiness .   


Second only to Facebook, Instagram has a relatively large following; approximately one billion users. As illustrated in the chart below, courtesy of Statista, as of April 2022, 17.1 percent of global active Instagram users were men between the ages of 25 and 34 years. More than half of the global Instagram population worldwide is aged 34 years or younger.

Instagram users are largely Millennials, a desirable market for financial institutions, particularly as they are just now taking interest in financial services. This platform relies heavily on images, both still and video. So what can you do with Instagram?

Think fun, informal, entertaining content. Videos and photos generated by customers and employees, for instance: Birthdays, holidays, work anniversaries, community events... these help position your staff as the caring and trusted advisors they are while building your brand as a community institution at the same time. You can even post short (slightly humorous, perhaps) demo videos on how to download your mobile app or pay bills online.  The more imperfect these videos are, the better. The goal here is more about being authentic and engaging and less about being informative. To get started with Instagram, visit Business.Instagram.


The second largest social network, and second largest search engine in the world, more than 300 videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute.  Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day by over 2 billion users. YouTube is an ideal platform for complex products or services such as home mortgages for first-time home buyers, for instance, where you’re perhaps looking to reach a relatively young audience with informational videos that can go in-depth on the benefits of your mortgage products.  YouTube also reaches individuals ages 45-64, making it a good vehicle for retirement products.  To learn more about what YouTube can do for your bank’s marketing, visit YouTube.com. 

All in all, social media channels can be truly effective in growing your financial institution’s revenue. Through these platforms you introduce new products, cross sell, gain valuable insights into customer preferences and market trends, improve your customer service support… the list goes on.  Ready to get started?  Coming soon; a few tips on how to get the most out of these social media channels as you develop your digital marketing campaign.

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 recruitment 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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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 article, 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.