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Get Social with your Institution

Strategically Speaking
Jul 9, 2014

Lauren Gleim Author: Lauren Gleim,

This year Facebook celebrated its 10 year anniversary. I can still remember hearing the buzz and being ever-so-resistant to using the site. Questions running through my head, “Why do I need to know what my friends are doing? Why does anyone need to know what I’m doing? Is this a dating site?!”  When a close friend moved away for college, I reluctantly joined in December 2006. Seven and a half years later, my daily routine includes checking various social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn.  It is safe to say that my opinions on social media have dramatically changed.

As I have embraced social media, I understand the unique opportunity for people and businesses to expand their communication, not only are younger generations participating, but older demographics have embarked on the journey, as well. For instance, the fastest growing segment on Facebook in 2013 were consumers over the age of 65, and those aged 55-64 were the fastest growing segment on Twitter in 2012 (CMO). Beyond the person to person levels of communication, businesses have the marketing potential to reach their target audiences through social media.  

So, what about you? Is your financial institution taking advantage of social media? Are you ready to reach existing and prospective clients through these avenues?  If the task seems too daunting, here are 5 tips to get your institution started:

Establish a social media plan.

  • From the start, it is important for your institution to set guidelines for social media. Decide what to post and what not to post about your institution. Set goals for using social media and commit to a frequency of engagement with your customers. Do you want to promote online banking and bill pay? Having a set plan with engaging content will position you for success.

Decide which social media platforms to use.

  • Who is your target audience? Which social media platforms do they use? While Pinterest may be great for an apparel company to share outfit ideas, it may not be well-suited for your institution to promote mobile banking or bill pay adoption. Your institution may opt for Facebook or LinkedIn to establish a professional presence. Each site shares content differently. Choose the social media platforms that work best for your institution.

Train employees on social media.

  • Once you have a plan in place and your platforms established, train your employees on using these sites. Decide who will be the social media administrator(s). For instance, on Facebook, you can establish Admins, Editors, Moderators, Advertisers and Analysts. Each role has different access levels depending on their responsibility.

Be consistent with your brand identity.

  • When creating and sharing content on your institution’s pages, make sure there is consistency with your brand whether offline or online. If customer support is a cornerstone of your brand, then have that same level of support throughout your social media pages. Engage with your clients, provide relevant and frequent posts to maintain your brand identity on these platforms. In addition, add links to your social media pages on your website to increase your following.

Track your progress.

  • Most social media platforms offer ways to track your posts, statuses and other information you share on your institution’s page. Utilize those free resources and measure the impact of your social media efforts. Through social media, promote your products and services, such as mobile banking and bill pay; and then measure if your social presence is driving customers to use those services. 

Need some content to post? Check out iPay’s Resource Center. This free service contains marketing materials, including social media content for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to drive enrollment and usage of your bill pay service.

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