Community banking is a people-first business. Bringing the community together and staying connected with customers is the top priority for most community banks. One of the many ways to keep those connections strong is through social media. Social media can be a relatively inexpensive and straightforward way to enhance your brand, build a community presence and seamlessly improve customer service. Below are five ways to do so.
1. Use a storytelling approach to engage followers
A successful social media campaign is more than posting pictures, sharing information, or promoting deals. It’s about telling a story. Your stories must be authentic, creative, and inspirational for followers to form a personal connection with your bank. For example, to celebrate your community, your bank can share the stories of small business owners that you support. You can run a storytelling contest asking followers to share stories on social media channels of a local community member committed to service. You can share select stories throughout the month, choosing one winner to receive $1,000 from the bank.
2. Attract attention through a show of community support
Community banks have a vested interest in the overall well-being of their communities. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on engaging audiences in community-focused activities. For example, use local events and social justice to promote community through your social media in exciting ways. Launch a social media initiative that promises to give away $100 to 100 winners who post a selfie tagging your bank with specific inspiring and feel-good hashtags on Twitter or Instagram. Building awareness and positive sentiment are the right objectives for a community bank to win on social media.
3. Engage employees
Managing social media can be a daunting task, so it’s smart to enlist help from your staff. Your employees can take photos and provide content about what’s happening at their branches. Your employees have connections in their community, so ask them to share, retweet, comment, and like posts, which boosts your algorithm and helps you to be more successful. You can engage employees with a contest and some prizes and share a monthly social media report that includes the top five most active employees on a leaderboard.
4. Create visual interest with compelling content
Social media is inherently visual. Along with a compelling visual, a social media post must have exciting content to support it. Create a brief, grammatically correct, accurate, conversational, timely, newsworthy, and actionable post. Always end a post with a call to action or question to prompt further social engagement.
5. Post at the right time
Every business, time zone, and the market is unique. If you read somewhere that posting at 8:30 a.m. on a Thursday guarantees high engagement, you might want to reconsider your posting strategy. For some community banks, posting in the morning might work as employees engage with the content and spread it out across their networks more quickly or at night when the target audience is involved with social media after dinner. Pay attention to your analytics, notice what works for you, and be aware of where your audience is going. Try to get ahead if you think they might be shifting to another platform.
The strongest social media players experiment with different approaches, seeing what works and doesn’t along the pathway to success. Social media is a tool, not a strategy, and community banks with the most success have a clear sense of their objectives and how it fits into the bigger marketing picture.
- Use a storytelling approach to engage followers
- Attract attention through a show of community support
- Engage employees
- Create visual interest with compelling content
- Post at the right time