Does your bank belong on Snapchat? What should your credit union tweet about? Will Facebook’s algorithm ever be on your side again?
There’s a perfect storm swirling in the social-sphere that is creating a lot of questions for social media professionals in the financial services space.
As banks and credit unions increasingly try to engage consumers on social media, they’re often left defeated amidst waning attention spans, changing platforms and unfriendly algorithms. It’s the harsh reality of social media today, but it’s not all bad news.
The Financial Brand recently broke down new findings surrounding social media trends among financial institutions in North America. The research, initially released by Unmetric, found that top banks and credit unions are increasingly adopting clever, tactical social media initiatives.
Let’s examine these social media tactics to uncover where your focus should lie as we enter the new year.
How Financial Institutions Can Thrive on Social Media
Quality Over Quantity
In the past three years, financial institutions have reduced social media publishing by 44 percent. Facebook took the biggest hit, with banks and credit unions publishing 70 percent less content than before.
The fallout stems from competitive platform algorithms that increasingly displace organic content. Although it may appear that banks and credit unions are shying away from social media altogether, that’s far from the case.
Financial institutions are opting for quality over quantity when it comes to content. It’s important to meticulously craft content that has lasting value for you and your audience. Publish sparingly and work to cross-promote content, leveraging influencers and relevant hashtags.
Unmetric also found that timely, high-quality posts focused on holidays and current events sparked the most engagement. While these are easy topics to speak to, it’s critical you put your own spin on popular content topics and include a strong call-to-action. Finally, pair these posts with interactive campaigns, account holder education or community initiatives to put value behind your voice.
Content best practices:
• Leverage holidays and current events
• Focus on financial education
• Prohibit clickbait or articles without proper attribution
Make the Investment in Video
Speaking of quality content, video is now the poster child of consumer-valued content. The Financial Brand reports that video on social media has increased 631 percent in 2017. It’s quickly becoming the preferred method of engagement by both users and platforms.
(Facebook even changed their algorithm to favor video clips over static copy.)
Video content should follow the same quality standards as any other social media post. Consider investing in professional video production or working with partners to create custom content. Also, remember to consider the longevity of content. Videos can be repurposed elsewhere, perhaps on in-branch multimedia screens or on your website.
Video best practices:
• Follow brand guidelines for visuals
• Use subtitles to accommodate muted auto-play
• Keep it short – but still compelling
Focus on Customer Service
One of the biggest social media trends among financial institutions is the move away from marketing. Social media is no longer a soapbox to acquire new account holders. Today, it’s more about enhancing existing relationships. That means getting your customer service team involved in your social media activities.
Customer service on social media is similar to what already exists in your branch or call center. Product questions, general inquires and customer feedback top the list of incoming queries. However, unlike traditional avenues of customer service, these requests are public — very public.
Therefore, ensure all responses are polite, timely, and follow brand and compliance guidelines. Consider developing pre-written responses to frequently asked questions such as your customer service number, business hours, etc. This will help you respond quickly to customer feedback and improve the overall customer experience.
Customer service best practices:
• Regularly perform social listening tactics
• Quickly respond to consumer inquiries
• Don’t ignore negative feedback – fix it!
Be Open to Adopting New Ideas
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to adopting new trends, platforms or audiences. The effectiveness of each relies heavily on your unique brand. It’s important to test new opportunities (think Snapchat or gamification), then evaluate effectiveness accordingly.
These emerging tactics can prove incredibly profitable, especially considering they’re often less-competitive and provide larger reach for organic content.
Adoption doesn’t have to be radical. In fact, many have found refreshing results by simply adopting new audiences and platforms. The wave of business account holder focused social media campaigns on LinkedIn offers a nearly textbook example of this success. The movement stems from LinkedIn’s content-hungry algorithm that’s poised for remarketing. It’s anticipated that LinkedIn, and other niche platforms, will remain a profitable focal point among financial institutions.
While these prospects are exciting, be sure to develop a backlog of high-quality content before launching a new initiative — don’t just have a few experimental posts on standby. After all, if you do find the right niche, you’ll want to keep the momentum going.
Adoption best practices:
• Research the potential audience
• Test, test, test! (And then test some more…)
• Keep compliance concerns top-of-mind
Best Practices in Action: EZShield Identity Protection
At EZShield, we pride ourselves on our award-winning social media efforts. Using industry best practices, like the ones outlined above, we regularly relay engaging, educational content that makes a lasting impact on the lives of our followers.
For more information on EZShield Identity Protection, schedule a demo of our industry-leading identity protection solutions today.