The financial industry is a pretty challenging sector; the stakes are high, and trust is very integral. It’s not the easiest set of circumstances to manage, let alone managing your social media for financial services — so how do you incorporate social media into your digital marketing strategy?
Most finance brands haven’t taken full advantage of social media. Today, social media is critical at every point of the customer journey, from product discovery to purchase, and even to post-purchase care. As opposed to traditional marketing methods, social media and digital marketing allow unparalleled flexibility and enable businesses to truly understand their customers.
This article outlines how the financial industry can leverage social media to overhaul its marketing completely. It includes examples and all the critical statistics you need for context.
Attention is shifting from Facebook to Instagram
It’s crazy how high engagement for the finance sector was on Facebook a little over a year ago. However, engagement has shifted to Instagram.
Instagram is no longer a platform just for fashion, beauty, and auto brands. And it’s never been easier (and more entertaining) to interact with your audience. With Instagram’s interactive story stickers, direct check-outs, and IGTV supporting landscape videos, businesses can create a variety of content to gain more brand awareness.According to a study by the American Bankers Association, almost 9 out of 10 banks (87%) are very or somewhat active on social media. You can see that companies in the financial industry understand that social media is a powerful tool for the entire customer journey. And finance brands that aren’t leveraging it are shooting themselves in the foot.
The social landscape for the Financial industry
We looked at the top 50 largest finance brands on Facebook and Instagram to compare their follower count, total engagement, and how active these brands are on the two platforms. What we found was that the smallest audience is on Instagram, but the activity volume and user engagement are incomparable.
The most important factor is that engagement is there, and it’s worthwhile investing time in growing those audiences. We know from data that engagement is shifting to Instagram — even for finance brands. So it’s essential to build up a larger audience on this network. Of course, without leaving Facebook behind.
With Instagram seen as a highly visual platform, it requires more focus on content quality. An example of a finance brand that completely rocks at Instagram content is Cash App.
Cash App’s weekly giveaways
Square Inc. developed an innovative peer-to-peer payment app that allows users to easily send money with a unique identifier called a $Cashtag. With over a million followers on Instagram, their content ranges from modern graphic designs, animations, games, and weekly giveaways.
Cash App’s most famous giveaway is #CashAppFriday. Every Friday, followers on Instagram and Twitter have a chance to win money by simply commenting or retweeting their $Cashtag. Cash App took influencer marketing to the next level by collaborating with celebrities. For instance, Rapper Travis Scott gave away $100,000 to his fans through Cash App. Each fan who tweeted his lyrics from “Astroworld” received a sum ranging from $50-$1,000.
What’s essential is that their giveaway strategy has resonated with younger audiences. Based on our analytics, Cash App achieved the highest engagement worldwide for finance profiles on Instagram.
One of the key aspects of Cash App’s creative content is consistency. Because of their weekly giveaways, the above post was the top finance Instagram post during Q2 2019. It gained over 137,000 interactions, which is much higher than the financial industry’s median interactions of 1,000-1,500 on Instagram.
When creating consistency and frequency, an intensive analysis of your audience is critical. It’s the data and instant feedback that allows you to understand who’s engaging with your content immediately. It gives you a clear route towards improvement.
Today, with modern martech, understanding your audience on social media for financial services is actually really easy.
Caution before creation
Whether your company is banking, insurance, or finance, regulations on how to promote your brand can be quite high — especially when it comes to social media for financial services. False information or exaggerated promotions can lead to legal implications for any company, which can make social media quite discouraging for most finance marketers.
Nonetheless, regulators have already taken the first steps in establishing formal guidelines for digital communication with customers. In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has created communication guidelines on financial promotions for 58,000 financial service firms to prevent any misuse of data collection or misleading customers. Finance marketers need to be transparent with their campaigns to build and maintain trust with their audience.
Content creation with Finance
So now, how do you actually create content like Cash App? Creating great content takes up a lot of resources, money, and time. You want to be absolutely sure that you’re putting your efforts into content that will deliver the best ROI. However, that’s not always intuitive.
The insights below show the distribution of post types and organic performance of Facebook finance profiles. You can see that finance brands most often post photos, while videos are not as prevalent. Based on Socialbakers’ Q3 2019 data, the organic performance for live videos on Facebook nearly doubled the performance of images. Just imagine how much engagement could be gained with an extra emphasis on live videos.
Finding the right inspiration can lead to endless research on social media marketing for financial services — and that all takes time. Creating content may not be that easy, but social media platforms make it easy and seamless for businesses to create.
For example, the new creation interface on Instagram Stories has been a game-changer for all users. This feature can help finance companies create stories faster without using other third-party apps. As long as content creation is effortless, brands will be able to produce more content to gain more engagement.
Influencer marketing in the Financial industry
Influencer marketing consists of the top content creators in their respective niches. And it’s not only utilized by massive beauty or fashion brands — major finance brands, including the example of Cash App, have used this strategy to their advantage.
A study by eMarketer has shown that 44.7% of US internet users (ages 18-34) have purchased a product/service recommended by an online influencer. And that’s huge. Younger audiences tend to engage more with influencers through social media.
The graph below shows the evolution of posts using #Ad, based on Instagram profiles associated with finance worldwide. Keep in mind that not all collaborations are transparent and not all use #Ad. Each company and influencer has its own standards for collaborations. That is why influencer marketing is a strategic process, and communication is essential.
PayPal and Wells Fargo are great role models when it comes to influencer marketing. One of PayPal’s strategies was to collaborate with small businesses that were led by influential women. They focused on collaborating with women-led businesses because they knew that other female entrepreneurs followed inspiring companies.
In the financial industry, trust is very critical — it’s why influencer marketing can be so effective. You can even use influencer marketing to build a social community and shape it into your brand’s vision.
Wells Fargo’s social media for financial services content consists of photos and videos of strong members of influential communities and celebrities who play a significant role in their communities. Their channels attracted over 69k followers on Instagram and over a million likes on Facebook since their existence.
Influencer marketing is not only about the visibility — it’s about trust. And influencers often have very dedicated communities that have followed them for years, which is why creating a sense of community in your social media for financial service strategy is vital.
Community management in the Financial sector
Once you’ve identified your social media plan, community management will play a massive part in your strategy. More significantly, trust and transparency are crucial. Your channels are the place where you can show just how much you care about them.
You need to respond quickly, responsibly, and stay consistent when managing a community. More specifically, understanding sentiment is just as important. You want to be able to spot emerging crises instantly so that you can deal with them before they escalate.
When investing more time into social media, make sure you build a formidable community management team. Find people who are sharp and intuitive so they can manage your social media community responsibly. It’s essential to understand that as long as you continuously show how much you care, your audience will continue to stay loyal to your brand.
Social media is a part of the entire customer journey, and you need tools that assist in every part of the journey. That’s why using a unified social media marketing platform to manage all channels of your marketing funnel can lead to valuable results. Scale up your social media for financial services and start engaging with your audience — Handle it all on Emplifi’s platform today!
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.