Even more compelling is the opportunity that social media presents as both an engagement and a sales channel for banks and credit unions. In fact, 63 percent of mass affluent customers reported that they were motivated to take action after learning about financial products and services on social media.2 And furthermore, 21 percent of consumers reported using social media to look for product information when seeking a new credit card.3
However, utilizing social media as an effective marketing channel requires more than simply enrolling in the relevant platforms–you need to know how to use each platform effectively. A recent audit of more than 100 Visa issuers revealed that many financial institutions are not realizing the full potential of social media marketing due to lack of understanding of the landscape, the audience and the channels.
During the audit, we uncovered a variety of opportunities for community and regional issuers to optimize their social media presence, so we’re offering some guidelines to help you develop or improve your social media strategy:
- Create content that describes account services. While many issuers tended to focus on promotions or giveaways, consumers were most interested in content about account security, financial planning and changes or improvements to existing products. While giveaways and promotions generate engagement, it’s important to follow those posts with additional content that will encourage customer or member interaction.
- Partner with bloggers, journalists or influencers to promote your brand on either your owned or third-party channels. Once you know the information your customer or member base is seeking, you can always co-create content to continue to demonstrate expertise and reliability. We found that consumers seek out information about products and brands from other consumers, so let them talk about why they choose your financial institution for their needs. Third-party news or bloggers lend credibility to your brand simply because the content is authored by an outside party.
- Develop and promote materials that educate consumers on initiatives, thought leadership and educational resources. Ensure you’re providing information of value to consumers. This content can be created by you, or it may even be third-party content. The point is that because of the educational nature of the content, you share it on your channels. The goal is to gain engagement by sharing content that resonates with your customer or member base.
- Ensure your content is optimized for each channel. Marketing best practices vary from channel to channel, and a one-size fits-all content creation approach is not effective. Be aware of these differences to make sure you are utilizing each channel to its full potential.
- Use consistent voice, tone and messaging across all communications and marketing to create a cohesive online persona. Social media presents a unique opportunity to build your brand’s persona because of the volume of content creation and the ability to create a personality behind the brand. Ensure that you are creating marketing assets in a consistent way across channels to build your persona and differentiate your financial institution and its products from others.
- Drive positive conversations about your financial institution through proactive consumer outreach. Many conversations about issuers tend to lean negative, with consumers sharing bad experiences. While you can’t control what people are saying, you can drive positive social media engagement by responding to consumers comments or inquiries, offering insider access to the brand, creating live events with respected leaders, or requesting fans and followers to share their positive experiences.
Your social media strategy should be an integral component of your overall marketing and communication strategy. Harnessing the opportunity is not always easy, but, if done correctly, it can provide immense benefit to your brand.