Death, taxes, utilities, banks. All things we cannot really avoid with any level of grace. And interestingly enough, all are represented in some way on Facebook. Sorry, but this feels slightly absurd. I know Facebook is now considered the Internet and if you are not on Facebook then, well… forget about it. And as a social media and digital strategist, this might also sound absurd, but, I believe that you should engage in channels that make sense for your business in its quest to make money. I also believe that if you want to market your business on Facebook, you better have a kick-ass plan to do it. You need to not only be listening to your audience; you need to take those insights to develop content that will resonate with them. You need to cultivate relationships with people online if you are going to generate leads from Facebook. But honestly, sometimes, I wonder: What do people want out of their “institutions” on Facebook.
When I think about these types of questions, I try to take off my marketer hat and put on my consumer hat. And when I think about what I want to see from my bank on Facebook, my initial answer is “nothing!” Then I have to wonder why. And that is where it gets interesting…When I think about a bank post, and honestly when I look at what banks post, I see some sort of savings tip. And then I stop reading and head to Amazon. Because someone telling you to save money is like having your mom call you and tell you that you look fat in those jeans. Both are important messages and will get a reaction, but it just isn’t what people want to hear when they are drinking coffee and looking at Julie’s kids on the first day of school.
So, what would I care about?
Unless a bank has created a way to magically make money shoot out of a computer when you click the like or share button, engagement is going to be lower for institutional brands like banks. Despite that assertion, I discovered in a recent post for the Financial Brand that people engaged with large banks on Facebook when the brand posted content that the bank and the fan had a shared passion around, for example, Bank of America’s involvement in Veteran’s causes. These posts created strong engagement among fans. Giving fans something to rally around is a great use of the content budget. Another popular engagement tool is contests and giveaways. But, beyond sponsorships and contest, why should people follow your brand? A good marketer should be asking themselves and their fans this very question.
At SME Digital we talk about earning the right to talk about your brand by curating in great 3rd party content. Most of the banks I looked at simply do not do this. They are busy promoting themselves, their products, their hints and tips and their partnerships. They are very rarely posting great content from trusted outside sources that may get me thinking about making my money grow (not how to shrink my current spend). I want them to share content that some of their advisors or business bankers find interesting. I might find it interesting to know what my bank is doing in terms of security to protect my money from attacks and hackers.
Listen and Learn
There are so many financial blogs in the world that have really great content that my financial institution could be sharing, but they aren’t. And they should be. If I were to guess, I would imagine that my bank is not talking to customers and probably talking a lot more frequently with their legal and compliance department when it comes to the content strategy. I would also guess that they might not be listening to conversations that are happening in social media that could drive the creation of amazing content. And as much as I like kittens and puppies, I do not want to associate Whiskers and Fido with the people who protect my money!
You should be asking yourself: What’s our content strategy? Have we done any active listening to understand what people are talking about when they talk about our industry? And how can we take what we heard when we listened to develop a winning content strategy that delivers value to the reader while earning the brand the right to talk about itself? Because these are the questions we ask our clients all the time and it works. Social media should drive not only engagement, but a ROL (return on Like).