The State of Financial Services: Digital Marketing Trends in Social Media

Posted by Doug Wilber on March 29, 2018

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Forget paid social — banks and financial institutions can outsmart Facebook algorithms by leveraging the resources they already have to create a social media strategy centered on quality and consistency.

Research from the American Banking Association (ABA) confirms that 54% of banks plan to invest more in social media, recognizing its growing influence on financial decisions, especially among young people. Recent shifts in the world of social media have begun a trend towards organic social marketing in finance and banking — find out why, and how your organization can begin to capitalize on them.

Cost of Paid Social Continues to Rise

Investment in paid social advertising continues to increase across the board, which is driving up the cost of effective paid campaigns. Recent analysis from tech researcher 4C Insights found a 65% year-over-year increase in overall paid media spend.

Other platforms are seeing similar trends, with Instagram experiencing an ad spend increase of 138% year-over-year growth in 2016. Snapchat’s parent company reported that ad spend on its platforms more than tripled from 2015 to 2017. Naturally, as demand for paid advertising increases, so does the cost. In the first half of 2017 alone, Facebook CPMs increased 171%, a troubling development when you consider that impression rates have remained relatively stable.

Faced with higher costs and stagnant returns, brands must find ways to leverage their social media presence without paying for promoted content. To do so, companies should invest in two tactics proven to be effective in generating organic traffic: quality content and consistent output.

As social media expert and CEO of VaynerMedia Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, “no amount of paid media is going to turn bad creative into good content.” Banks and financial institutions looking to stand out from their competitors without hemorrhaging budget should be looking to create meaningful content that offers real value to your target audiences. Consistency, the other key to increasing organic social traffic, is important because it establishes higher brand awareness.

Social Selling Takes Center Stage

According to Sales for Life, “Social media has 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.” It’s no wonder B2B social selling is becoming ever more popular — it allows brands to identify prospects and target specific audience segments.

Recent Facebook algorithm changes indicate that the platform is beginning to shift its focus from “pages,” whether those pages belong to brands, publishers, or groups, to user-generated content. The company may have it’s own PR reasons for making this move, but the fact is that by decreasing the visibility of company-posted brand content in consumer news feeds, Facebook is also pressuring companies to pay for ads and promoted content.

Instead of capitulating, brands will begin to shift their focus to their organic reach. Most companies already have an expansive, untapped pool of prospects at their fingertips, all of whom can be reached free of charge. The secret is simple: leverage your own employees’ personal networks. Brands will soon start avoiding the costs of promoted posts and getting higher rankings from sharing algorithms than they would from their official pages by training their employees to push branded content from their personal accounts.

The Record Is Everything

For banks and financial institutions, paper trails matter. When your company has to adhere to stringent regulations by the ABA, FFIEC, FDIC, and other regulatory agencies, you can’t afford to neglect the ways your social media presence may affect compliance. That’s one reason why banking firms may turn away from ephemeral social platforms like Instagram stories and Snapchat, just as other marketers turn towards them.

While advertising on the “stories” features of Snapchat and Instagram is becoming more popular, both platforms’ built-in expiration dates prohibit users from archiving their content. This proves a major problem for banks and financial institutions, for whom compliance requires detailed records of all social posts. For banking and finance brands, advertising on such channels isn’t worth the trouble it might cause in the event of an audit.

Posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, by contrast, can all be easily archived and automated. This aids in achieving quality content, as it allows users to curate tailored posts in advance, as well as consistency, as automated posting operates on your customized schedule.

Partnering Up

A strong strategy will achieve the ultimate purpose social media purpose for brands, which, according to thought leader and social selling expert Julio Viskovich, is establishing “a place to build trust and credibility.”

Gremlin Social can help you build that trust and credibility. As industry-leading experts in marketing and compliance, we offer a breadth of tools and services designed specifically for banks and financial institutions, including Social Guardian, the only ABA-endorsed social media management tool on the market. Gremlin Social can automatically post content from authorized accounts, making it easy to empower your employees to do social selling, checks each one of them for compliance, and archives them so that they’re easily accessible in the event of an audit. It’s the only tool you’ll need to capitalize on the biggest trends in social marketing this year.

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