Have you seen Wendy's cheeky tweets? What about cruelty-free fashion brand Wholesome Culture's meme-filled Instagram? These days, companies throw everything they've got at social media because attention means eyeballs — and eyeballs mean money. For every $2.50 spent on social media, businesses can reach 1,000 people, and 9 out of every 10 consumers say they'd recommend a brand after a positive interaction on social platforms.
Unfortunately, quirky consumer-facing social media marketing tactics don't really work in the financial space. Case in point: Back in 2013, JPMorgan Chase tried to use the hashtag #AskJPM to promote a fun, casual Twitter Q&A with its vice chairman. Unfortunately, the strategy backfired when critics started sending in angry, snarky tweets. The company quickly pulled the plug on the idea, tweeting: "Bad idea. Back to the drawing board."
Consumers might want to buy hamburgers or T-shirts from zany brands. They probably don't want to turn over their life savings to those organizations. That's not to say you should be robotic. After all, when it comes to big financial decisions — like buying a home or planning for retirement — consumers still want to buy from real people, not faceless entities. And social media is the perfect medium through which your bank can let that persona shine through.
Finding Your Voice
A standardized "banking social media persona" doesn't really exist — and trying to adhere to what you think that looks like won't get you any closer to achieving your goals. Rather, you must have your finger on the pulse of customers' communities and build marketing messages that reflect them. Even for banks with several branches, it's critical to curate content for individual markets.
However, no individual branch should deploy messaging that contradicts the bank's values — or violates compliance laws. Policy isn't as fun as quirky memes, but it's vital. Workflows and team management — along with archiving — are the name of the game. Here are three steps you can take to distribute social media content in a way that'll establish your persona and safeguard you from compliance violations:
- Make it personal. Your employees are your bank's most valuable asset. They humanize the brand, so bank employees should adopt the personality of a trusted advisor: someone who knows what's happening in the market and can apply those happenings to an individual's financial journey. Encourage your employees to practice social selling, using their personal social media accounts to distribute branded content. However, if you're going to democratize the messages coming from the employee or branch level, having a platform in place that governs what users can say is paramount.
- Provide preapproved content. While you absolutely want your employees posting on behalf of your bank, you don't want them posting content that — unintentionally or not— subjects your bank to fines and other sanctions. With something like a content library, employees can pull preapproved images, gifs, and messaging to use on social media. That way, they can focus more on forging key connections with prospective and current customers and less on ensuring posts are compliance-friendly.
- Ensure consistency. Social media is fun. But when it's part of a job, it can quickly become just another task. At the same time, inconsistency in your social media distribution won't do you any favors when trying to build a following. So set up a schedule to keep the posts coming, and use a social media management tool to stay on track and ensure results. First Bank Financial Centre, for example, uses the Gremlin Social platform to schedule and distribute content well in advance. As a result, it's been able to increase referral traffic from social media by nearly 60 percent. Download the full case study here!
It's rare that humans can forge personal connections with insentient organizations. That's why the most successful social media accounts exude humanity. If you wish to capitalize on the enormous potential of social media, it's time to prioritize crafting and distributing content that's relatable and engaging and reflects your bank's unique voice.