Beyond the website: Establish your presence on social media
In addition to building a strong digital branch, banks must direct part of their customer acquisition efforts to social media websites and local listings.
“By 2020, social media will be the most important medium to connect, involve, inform and understand your customers.”
This quote from PwC’s “Retail Banking 2020: Evolution or Revolution?” underlines the importance of a digital presence on social media and on your website.
Another meaningful statistic: The average consumer now spends more than 2 hours / day on social media websites, which corresponds to a third of the total online time. So if you still have doubts about the importance of a strong social media presence, it’s time to give it up. You need to involve your customers and prospects on their favorite social media websites. How to get started:
- Listen first.
Before entering the world of social media, you should spend some time listening to customers and potential customers talking about you and your competitors on social media platforms. For example, if you search for @BankofAmerica on Twitter, various tweets will be returned, including one that should be very encouraging for local banks.
This tweet presents a so-called “social selling opportunity”. An angry BofA customer wants to switch to a local bank or credit union in Santa Cruz. If this is your market and you already have a Twitter profile, you can reply to their tweet or send a direct message with a friendly greeting and a link to your switch kit.
By listening to your customers on social media, you can also solve problems before the customer leaves your bank. Think of social media not only as a marketing opportunity, but also as a customer service platform. For example, an unsatisfied customer leaves this comment in a Facebook post advertising the travel award card from BofA:
A BofA representative immediately replies to the comment with an invitation to connect directly so that the problem can be solved:
- Let your customers be your best marketer.
Customers can also rate and check your bank on Facebook pages. Encourage people to share positive experiences like this:
Customer testimonials are a free and highly effective marketing tactic. Research shows that many consumers choose brands based on recommendations and good experiences, not on special prices or products. And one in four shares their experiences with banks and other companies on social media. It is therefore essential for banks to monitor their presence on social media.
- Follow these general guidelines for social media posts.
- Don’t post too often – prioritize quality over quantity.
- Follow a calendar of dates for entertaining holidays such as “National Sibling Day” and your own seasonal marketing priorities.
- Familiarize yourself with your mistakes and apologize if necessary.
- People love to see the human side of business – take a look behind the scenes.
- Alternately, different employees are put in the spotlight, from private bankers and lenders to cashiers. This also underlines the human side of your bank.
- Be funny if you can.
- Make sure your calls to action (CTAs) are mobile friendly. Regardless of whether you click, buy, or share, users can easily take the next step on their mobile device.
- You don’t have to be on every platform.
Request your profiles on all platforms, but only concentrate on a few platforms that you can consistently deal with.
Based on our experience with local banks, we always recommend paying special attention to LinkedIn. This platform may not be as popular as Facebook. However, it is an important place to improve your brand footprint and target the entrepreneurs and small business owners who could benefit from your business banking products and services. Encourage your employees to create LinkedIn profiles and share your content. Like Twitter, LinkedIn is a great place to share your own blog posts, industry news, and insights. For more ideas on using LinkedIn for your bank or credit union, see our LinkedIn Marketing Guide.
We also recommend banks to consider Pinterest and YouTube as part of their social media strategy. The majority of Pinterest users (about 80 percent according to Sprout Social) are female. This way you can effectively reach women entrepreneurs and other population groups. Your Pinterest posts don’t have to be fancy. Just pin your pictures and links from blog posts and other social media posts. Youtube should also be an important part of your online presence. Be brief – research has shown that most people stop looking after about 3 seconds. People also tend to turn off the sound when watching social media videos on a mobile device. So be sure to include subtitles.
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