December 8, 2020

Take Your Instagram Ads to the Next Level

We recently wrote an article on getting started with Instagram advertising. Now it’s time to take your ads to the next level. Keep the following best practices in mind to get more from your Instagram ads.

1. Design your ad based on your desired result.

As with any marketing strategy, the first step is to determine the goal, or desired result, of your Instagram ad campaign.

Instagram offers several campaign objectives you can select from — and the objective you choose will influence how your ads are optimized and how you pay for them. For example, if your goal is to get more followers, click-throughs on your ad will be less of a priority. Instead, you may choose to focus on your ad’s reach and frequency

If you’re unsure where to start, go back to Marketing 101 and brush up on the sales funnel. A great way to get a cold audience into your funnel is to begin with an awareness or reach campaign. These campaigns are lower in cost and can be a great way to expand your visibility.

As you move down the funnel, test out consideration stage campaign objectives. These may cost slightly more than awareness campaigns, but the results are of higher value, and drives users from Instagram to your website or app.

Finally, as you’re targeting warmer audiences, perhaps in a retargeting campaign, test out a conversion campaign objective for the final push to drive sales (more on this in #6, below).

2. A/B test.

One of the best ways to improve your ad results — and gain insights to inform your strategy going forward — is to set up an A/B test. The most important thing to remember with an A/B test is something you learned in middle school science: Choose one variable to test and keep everything else about the two ads the same.

These test variables could be many things, but some common options include ad copy, call to action, imagery and other creative elements or audiences being targeted.

A big benefit of an A/B test is the ability to re-allocate your budget to the better performing ad after a certain period of testing time. Smart Campaigns, a solution exclusively from Denim Social, is the first-ever solution to test campaign variables across multiple locations and automatically allocate your budget to top-performing ads in every location.

3. Personalize audiences.

Instagram ads allow all the same targeting options as Facebook ads, including targeting based on location, demographics, interests, behavior and more. As you would expect, the more targeted your ads are to the right audience, the better chance they have of achieving your campaign objective.

You also have the option to create a Custom Audience by uploading a list to reach your current customers or other consumers who have already interacted with your business. From there, you can also create a Lookalike Audience to expand your reach and get your ad in front of consumers who are similar to your most valuable customers.

4. Optimize your content.

When considering your ad content and creative elements, think about your objective, who you’re trying to reach and what kind of message and tone will motivate them to engage with your ad.

Different formats are available based on the campaign objective you chose. The basic Instagram ad formats are photo ads, carousel ads, video ads and Stories ads. When building a photo or carousel ad, be sure to use engaging, high-resolution images that will appeal to the audience you’re targeting. Instagram video ads can be up to 60 seconds long; however, for best results, we recommend keeping videos to 15 seconds or less.

5. Personalize the post-click experience.

Be sure to give thought to what happens when an Instagram user clicks on your ad. Is your call-to-action clear so users know exactly what they will get after they click? If you are driving them off of Instagram to your website or somewhere else, is it a consistent experience?

Pages from Denim Social helps financial services marketers increase conversion rates with post-click landing page experiences that are aligned with pre-click expectations. Create hundreds of code-free, personalized landing pages on behalf of local advisors in a matter of minutes.

6. Retarget.

Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to convert leads in today’s digital space. By adding the Facebook Pixel to your website or landing page (remember, Instagram is owned by Facebook), you can easily create an audience of Instagram users who have previously engaged with your brand and shown interest in what you have to offer.

Try to create these audiences based on the action you want them to take with your ad. For example, if you are creating an Instagram ad about a specific product, consider targeting users who have visited that product’s page on your website in the last 30 days.

With Denim Pages, we’ve made the process of adding the Facebook Pixel and seamlessly retargeting consumers a breeze.
For help creating a strategy to reach more customers on Instagram, access our Guide to Building Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram.

RESOURCES

LEARN
December 8, 2020

Take Your Instagram Ads to the Next Level

We recently wrote an article on getting started with Instagram advertising. Now it’s time to take your ads to the next level. Keep the following best practices in mind to get more from your Instagram ads.

1. Design your ad based on your desired result.

As with any marketing strategy, the first step is to determine the goal, or desired result, of your Instagram ad campaign.

Instagram offers several campaign objectives you can select from — and the objective you choose will influence how your ads are optimized and how you pay for them. For example, if your goal is to get more followers, click-throughs on your ad will be less of a priority. Instead, you may choose to focus on your ad’s reach and frequency

If you’re unsure where to start, go back to Marketing 101 and brush up on the sales funnel. A great way to get a cold audience into your funnel is to begin with an awareness or reach campaign. These campaigns are lower in cost and can be a great way to expand your visibility.

As you move down the funnel, test out consideration stage campaign objectives. These may cost slightly more than awareness campaigns, but the results are of higher value, and drives users from Instagram to your website or app.

Finally, as you’re targeting warmer audiences, perhaps in a retargeting campaign, test out a conversion campaign objective for the final push to drive sales (more on this in #6, below).

2. A/B test.

One of the best ways to improve your ad results — and gain insights to inform your strategy going forward — is to set up an A/B test. The most important thing to remember with an A/B test is something you learned in middle school science: Choose one variable to test and keep everything else about the two ads the same.

These test variables could be many things, but some common options include ad copy, call to action, imagery and other creative elements or audiences being targeted.

A big benefit of an A/B test is the ability to re-allocate your budget to the better performing ad after a certain period of testing time. Smart Campaigns, a solution exclusively from Denim Social, is the first-ever solution to test campaign variables across multiple locations and automatically allocate your budget to top-performing ads in every location.

3. Personalize audiences.

Instagram ads allow all the same targeting options as Facebook ads, including targeting based on location, demographics, interests, behavior and more. As you would expect, the more targeted your ads are to the right audience, the better chance they have of achieving your campaign objective.

You also have the option to create a Custom Audience by uploading a list to reach your current customers or other consumers who have already interacted with your business. From there, you can also create a Lookalike Audience to expand your reach and get your ad in front of consumers who are similar to your most valuable customers.

4. Optimize your content.

When considering your ad content and creative elements, think about your objective, who you’re trying to reach and what kind of message and tone will motivate them to engage with your ad.

Different formats are available based on the campaign objective you chose. The basic Instagram ad formats are photo ads, carousel ads, video ads and Stories ads. When building a photo or carousel ad, be sure to use engaging, high-resolution images that will appeal to the audience you’re targeting. Instagram video ads can be up to 60 seconds long; however, for best results, we recommend keeping videos to 15 seconds or less.

5. Personalize the post-click experience.

Be sure to give thought to what happens when an Instagram user clicks on your ad. Is your call-to-action clear so users know exactly what they will get after they click? If you are driving them off of Instagram to your website or somewhere else, is it a consistent experience?

Pages from Denim Social helps financial services marketers increase conversion rates with post-click landing page experiences that are aligned with pre-click expectations. Create hundreds of code-free, personalized landing pages on behalf of local advisors in a matter of minutes.

6. Retarget.

Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to convert leads in today’s digital space. By adding the Facebook Pixel to your website or landing page (remember, Instagram is owned by Facebook), you can easily create an audience of Instagram users who have previously engaged with your brand and shown interest in what you have to offer.

Try to create these audiences based on the action you want them to take with your ad. For example, if you are creating an Instagram ad about a specific product, consider targeting users who have visited that product’s page on your website in the last 30 days.

With Denim Pages, we’ve made the process of adding the Facebook Pixel and seamlessly retargeting consumers a breeze.
For help creating a strategy to reach more customers on Instagram, access our Guide to Building Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram.

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The insurance industry is built on relationships — so much so that, before the pandemic, 90% of sales conversations and 70% of ongoing customer conversations happened face-to-face. Things today look quite different: Only 5% of agents say they’re talking to customers in person.

Digitizing marketing operations became a top priority for companies in the insurance industry almost overnight. Not only is the landscape in the midst of significant change for nearly every customer segment, but the use of digital channels is also accelerating due to the pandemic. Some insurance companies might even take a digital-first approach to sales as a result, with consumers choosing to seek advice from advisors through video calls or live chat.

Insurance marketers need to move beyond traditional techniques and arm agents with the tools to effectively communicate and convert prospective customers in the digital space. How to go about doing this will depend on the company as well as its target audiences, but here are a few elements for every insurance marketer to keep in mind:

1. Never lose the human touch.

Trust is paramount in the insurance industry, but as more customer interactions occur online, companies will have to try harder to build and maintain it. One recent Accenture survey of insurance consumers found that only 12% said they placed a lot of trust in automated services over phone, web, or email when making a claim, and only 7% said the same about chatbots. However, nearly half said they would trust a human advisor. To avoid eroding trust with digitization efforts, you must put the human element front and center in every digital interaction.

Social media is an excellent way to do this, but we’re not only talking about a big company brand page. To establish and maintain connections via social channels, encourage advisors to use their own professional accounts. An advisor’s professional accounts generally have 10 times the reach of company profiles, and they’re also more likely to improve customer engagement, as the interactions are coming from a human rather than from a brand.

Customers value authentic human connections: Life insurance customers who had interaction with their insurers had Net Promoter Scores 25 points higher than customers who had no interaction at all.

2. Reevaluate the customers’ digital journeys.

Social media is the place for agents to start conversations and get prospects’ attention digitally, but it’s only the starting point in a larger customer journey. Audit the tools that agents are currently using, and assess how each individual channel contributes to the larger customer journey.

If the majority of an agent’s social posts are just graphics or text, they’re not leading prospects anywhere — they’re just building social media dead ends. To lead prospects to the next step in a digital journey, build landing pages on your website that agents can link to in their social posts. When prospects follow the post to the landing page, they take a meaningful next step in the digital journey with your brand to engage and learn more.

3. Personalize your approach.

Personalization is the name of the game in digital marketing. The problem is, some insurers are more “cut-and-paste” with online interactions, sending out messages and promotions built for the masses.

In the Accenture survey above, 66% of insurance consumers said they would be willing to share personal data for more personalized services to prevent injury and loss. With that in mind, it’s clear how a broad approach misses many potential prospects. Work toward personalizing the digital experience for a variety of target audiences by providing valuable content tailored to their specific needs and develop landing pages geared toward each of your audience sectors. It’s not a one-size-fits-all customer journey, so don’t treat it as such.

Changing marketing tactics is no small undertaking. It requires time, resources, and know-how to do successfully. Social media management tools from Denim Social can help get agents active on social media at scale, put human faces behind the brand name, and build online customer journeys based on trust.

Find out how more than 400 financial institutions across asset classes, geographies, and more used social media in 2020 to effectively support their business objectives. We’ve also outlined key trends to inform your social media future.

In speaking with friends, co-workers and bankers, I have come across many reasons why more of us are not effectively using social media: not enough time, concerns about compliance and lack of knowledge top the list.

In banking, we are the relationship builders, the trusted sources and the personal interaction—whether in-person or via social, video, chat or other mediums. So how do we bridge the gap between in-person and digital interactions? How do we display our personality digitally while balancing compliance concerns? How do we personalize digital outreach and engagement through curated content and social media channels in order to educate customers and engage new prospects?

Banks’ retail customers and business clients expect personalized experiences. Using social media in a compliant way for bankers to engage with customers and differentiate themselves from the competition. According to Denim Social, ABA’s endorsed social media management platform, building a personalized and human digital experience is key, and the best place to start doing it is on social media. Informative and educational content is a fantastic entry point into a digital journey, as it starts by engaging prospects and building trust.

People trust people, and banks that have individual employees actively using social media on behalf of the bank’s brand are seeing results. Even when sharing the same content, on average employees see a click-through rate twice as high as their company’s own social channels see, according to LinkedIn. Two-thirds of consumers surveyed by the Harris Poll say they are likely to purchase an item or service they see on their social feeds.

Here’s a simple process to make social selling work in a bank context:

  • Marketing teams easily curate and share educational, compliant content in a pre-approved digital library.
  • Then employees access the approved content and share through their own, personal digital channels.
  • Approval workflows and compliance checks along the way ensure the posts meet both the bank’s compliance and branding requirements.

Employee posts are a complement to, not a substitute for, paid social media, which enables marketers to create and target paid ads specific to demographics, geography and more. Imagine creating educational content for a demographic of first-time homebuyers. Your loan officer shares savings tips, homeownership information and educational content on their social channels, establishing expertise and developing relationships along the way. Paid ads ensure the right homebuyers see the content.

According to IBM, when a lead is generated through social selling or employee advocacy, that lead is seven times more likely to close compared to other lead gen tactics. Through this digital relationship, your loan officer has engaged in social selling and is reaching new markets—all without leaving the comfort of their home, their office or (these days) their home office.

This article was originally published by ABA Bank Marketing.

Lisa Gold Schier is an SVP at ABA, where she leads the ABA Endorsed Solutions team and business innovation.

The insurance sales environment has been rocked by COVID-19. What was once an industry built on face-to-face relationships is now going through rapid digital transformation. In the absence of in-person meetings, social media is the best place for agents to build trust with current and prospective clients.

Trust is the No. 1 thing insurance companies sell, after all, and a recent Edelman report shows that consumers rank brand employees as more trustworthy than brand CEOs or spokespeople. When insurance agents get in front of customers on social media, they can sell trust more effectively than brands alone.

And customers are looking for authentic connections: One study shows that life insurance customers who connected with their insurers gave Net Promoter Scores 25 points higher than those who did not. With face-to-face meetings off the table, social media is the primary stand-in for forging those deep, connected relationships that build trust and drive referrals.

As more agents recognize this and flock online to bring in business and build their individual professional brands, insurance marketers are tasked with scaling oversight to ensure compliance and consistent brand messaging. Considering that marketers at large companies could be looking at social strategies of thousands of agents dispersed across markets nationwide, it’s easy to see how managing the creation and publishing of owned and paid content can be incredibly time-consuming and complex.

Despite these challenges, insurance marketers must manage social media well. So how can marketing departments handle the influx of responsibilities? Start by understanding the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Letting agents fly solo.

Agents are busy, especially at a time when insurance needs are changing constantly. What’s more, many agents are likely jumping into social media as a professional tool for the first time: More than three-quarters of property-casualty agents are over age 50. They likely have less experience on social than their digital-native counterparts and require more guidance from marketing teams. It’s the marketing team’s responsibility to encourage agents to get and stay active on social media by making this task as easy as possible for them.

The right social media management software will allow marketers to create content libraries filled with preapproved posts. Agents can simply log in, choose which preapproved post they’d like to share, and either post it right away or schedule it to be posted later. This makes it easy for agents to access and post valuable content for their readers, and marketers will know that agents’ posts aren’t risking compliance or brand reputation.

2. Kicking it old-school.

Posting content and managing engagement on each individual social media platform is simply not scalable for marketers or agents today. For your team to be successful on social media, you must modernize your tools. Multichannel publishing platforms can help you effectively and efficiently create, approve, and publish content — and then manage engagement for many accounts on various platforms at once. Marketers can create approval workflows, schedule out social posts, and manage comments and other engagements, all from one central location.

What’s more, social media management software can help ease the regulatory pressure that comes along with electronic communications. In order to prove compliance in the event of an audit, you must keep record of every branded post and engagement. If you have thousands of agents using social media on behalf of the brand, however, it’s simply impossible to keep track of it all manually. It’s time to retire the binders and invest in software that can automatically log all of your posts and replies — saving you time and keeping your team audit-ready.

3. Being intimidated by paid social advertising.

When brands first began using social media as a marketing tool, all it took to make a post go viral was high-quality content. While great content is certainly a necessary place to start today, platforms have since updated their algorithms to make branded content less visible overall. Despite all the work that agents and marketers put into organic social media strategies, the reach could be insignificant without the help of paid advertising.

Paid social media advertising is a low-cost, high-return investment that will ensure branded posts land with exactly the right audiences at the right time. One of our clients, a Fortune 200 insurance company, used paid social to create one campaign that delivered click-through rates 59% higher than the financial and insurance industry average for social media and mobile advertising. And the cost-per-click was 24% less than similar campaigns.

Yes, it’s true that managing paid campaigns can be a headache for marketers, especially if they’re dealing with multiple campaigns at the brand, agency, and agent levels. But social media management software can step in to help ease the burden, and the results are worth the investment.

It’s understandable that agents and marketers alike might feel they’ve been tossed into the deep end as insurance saw a 180-degree shift in sales strategies almost overnight. The good news, however, is that the right tools can help you get a handle on the new demands of today to build an even stronger sales strategy for tomorrow.

As mortgage demand surges to historic highs, home purchase and refinance markets remain hot. This is excellent news for loan officers, but it also means the environment is more competitive than ever.

So how can marketers ensure that their loan officers stand out? The answer is social media.

Read this guidebook from Denim Social to learn how you can help your loan officers build strong relationships, stand out from the crowd and win more business using social media.

You can’t just call yourself a “thought leader.” Thought leadership is earned, and you earn it by having a powerful voice in your domain. But how do you cultivate that voice? To answer that question, James Robert Lay of the Digital Growth Institute invited Doug Wilber, CEO at Denim Social, onto the latest episode to discuss how financial brands can create content worthy of the “thought leader” mantle.

GUIDES

Take Your Instagram Ads to the Next Level

We recently wrote an article on getting started with Instagram advertising. Now it’s time to take your ads to the next level. Keep the following best practices in mind to get more from your Instagram ads.

1. Design your ad based on your desired result.

As with any marketing strategy, the first step is to determine the goal, or desired result, of your Instagram ad campaign.

Instagram offers several campaign objectives you can select from — and the objective you choose will influence how your ads are optimized and how you pay for them. For example, if your goal is to get more followers, click-throughs on your ad will be less of a priority. Instead, you may choose to focus on your ad’s reach and frequency

If you’re unsure where to start, go back to Marketing 101 and brush up on the sales funnel. A great way to get a cold audience into your funnel is to begin with an awareness or reach campaign. These campaigns are lower in cost and can be a great way to expand your visibility.

As you move down the funnel, test out consideration stage campaign objectives. These may cost slightly more than awareness campaigns, but the results are of higher value, and drives users from Instagram to your website or app.

Finally, as you’re targeting warmer audiences, perhaps in a retargeting campaign, test out a conversion campaign objective for the final push to drive sales (more on this in #6, below).

2. A/B test.

One of the best ways to improve your ad results — and gain insights to inform your strategy going forward — is to set up an A/B test. The most important thing to remember with an A/B test is something you learned in middle school science: Choose one variable to test and keep everything else about the two ads the same.

These test variables could be many things, but some common options include ad copy, call to action, imagery and other creative elements or audiences being targeted.

A big benefit of an A/B test is the ability to re-allocate your budget to the better performing ad after a certain period of testing time. Smart Campaigns, a solution exclusively from Denim Social, is the first-ever solution to test campaign variables across multiple locations and automatically allocate your budget to top-performing ads in every location.

3. Personalize audiences.

Instagram ads allow all the same targeting options as Facebook ads, including targeting based on location, demographics, interests, behavior and more. As you would expect, the more targeted your ads are to the right audience, the better chance they have of achieving your campaign objective.

You also have the option to create a Custom Audience by uploading a list to reach your current customers or other consumers who have already interacted with your business. From there, you can also create a Lookalike Audience to expand your reach and get your ad in front of consumers who are similar to your most valuable customers.

4. Optimize your content.

When considering your ad content and creative elements, think about your objective, who you’re trying to reach and what kind of message and tone will motivate them to engage with your ad.

Different formats are available based on the campaign objective you chose. The basic Instagram ad formats are photo ads, carousel ads, video ads and Stories ads. When building a photo or carousel ad, be sure to use engaging, high-resolution images that will appeal to the audience you’re targeting. Instagram video ads can be up to 60 seconds long; however, for best results, we recommend keeping videos to 15 seconds or less.

5. Personalize the post-click experience.

Be sure to give thought to what happens when an Instagram user clicks on your ad. Is your call-to-action clear so users know exactly what they will get after they click? If you are driving them off of Instagram to your website or somewhere else, is it a consistent experience?

Pages from Denim Social helps financial services marketers increase conversion rates with post-click landing page experiences that are aligned with pre-click expectations. Create hundreds of code-free, personalized landing pages on behalf of local advisors in a matter of minutes.

6. Retarget.

Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to convert leads in today’s digital space. By adding the Facebook Pixel to your website or landing page (remember, Instagram is owned by Facebook), you can easily create an audience of Instagram users who have previously engaged with your brand and shown interest in what you have to offer.

Try to create these audiences based on the action you want them to take with your ad. For example, if you are creating an Instagram ad about a specific product, consider targeting users who have visited that product’s page on your website in the last 30 days.

With Denim Pages, we’ve made the process of adding the Facebook Pixel and seamlessly retargeting consumers a breeze.
For help creating a strategy to reach more customers on Instagram, access our Guide to Building Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram.

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ALL GUIDES:

Find out how more than 400 financial institutions across asset classes, geographies, and more used social media in 2020 to effectively support their business objectives. We’ve also outlined key trends to inform your social media future.

As mortgage demand surges to historic highs, home purchase and refinance markets remain hot. This is excellent news for loan officers, but it also means the environment is more competitive than ever.

So how can marketers ensure that their loan officers stand out? The answer is social media.

Read this guidebook from Denim Social to learn how you can help your loan officers build strong relationships, stand out from the crowd and win more business using social media.

Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

  • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
  • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
  • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

Every Mortgage Marketer Should Ask Themselves

Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram

Financial Services companies should be advertising on Instagram. We break down why, and help you create a strategy to reach new customers- while continuing to build trust in your brand.

Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

  • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
  • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
  • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

ABA Study: The Current State of Social Media

See what nearly 430 bank marketers had to say when asked questions such as:

  • Is it important to equip your sales personnel with social media accounts?
  • Does your bank measure the impact of your social media use?
  • Download this guidebook to learn how 3 mortgage lenders are using social media to:

    • Position themselves in a place the community is already looking ... their social media
    • Empower loan officers to engage in local conversations
    • Turn their institution's loan officers into the voice of their brand
    • Build trust within the community

    Which roles do you fill when building your bank's marketing dream team? This guide will show you the following:

    • Who does what
    • The right structure to execute strategy
    • How compliance software can help

    Enjoy!

    How 6 Financial Marketers Are Creating Value in Social Media

    Ever wonder what everyone else is doing in social media? We talked to six leading financial marketers about how they’re succeeding today and planning for the next big thing.

    Get their insights on strengthening your social strategies, unlocking the power of employee networks and creating next-level content that drives engagement.

    COVID-19 & Bank Social Media

    Times are different and how you connect with customers and potential customers has changed drastically. In a socially distant world, learn to still build lasting relationships.

    Download and learn the guiding principles for using social media to serve both your customers and communities in the midst of a pandemic.

    Read this guide if you’re asking yourself:

    • Is my social media policy current and comprehensive?
    • How do I ensure social media compliance during M&A?
    • What do I need to consider for direct messaging compliance?

    In this guide we will help you think about your all important social media policy and thoughtfully consider how changes in social media tech and even your bank’s structure may impact compliance.

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    Every Financial Services Marketer Should Ask Themselves

    Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

    GUIDES

    Take Your Instagram Ads to the Next Level

    We recently wrote an article on getting started with Instagram advertising. Now it’s time to take your ads to the next level. Keep the following best practices in mind to get more from your Instagram ads.

    1. Design your ad based on your desired result.

    As with any marketing strategy, the first step is to determine the goal, or desired result, of your Instagram ad campaign.

    Instagram offers several campaign objectives you can select from — and the objective you choose will influence how your ads are optimized and how you pay for them. For example, if your goal is to get more followers, click-throughs on your ad will be less of a priority. Instead, you may choose to focus on your ad’s reach and frequency

    If you’re unsure where to start, go back to Marketing 101 and brush up on the sales funnel. A great way to get a cold audience into your funnel is to begin with an awareness or reach campaign. These campaigns are lower in cost and can be a great way to expand your visibility.

    As you move down the funnel, test out consideration stage campaign objectives. These may cost slightly more than awareness campaigns, but the results are of higher value, and drives users from Instagram to your website or app.

    Finally, as you’re targeting warmer audiences, perhaps in a retargeting campaign, test out a conversion campaign objective for the final push to drive sales (more on this in #6, below).

    2. A/B test.

    One of the best ways to improve your ad results — and gain insights to inform your strategy going forward — is to set up an A/B test. The most important thing to remember with an A/B test is something you learned in middle school science: Choose one variable to test and keep everything else about the two ads the same.

    These test variables could be many things, but some common options include ad copy, call to action, imagery and other creative elements or audiences being targeted.

    A big benefit of an A/B test is the ability to re-allocate your budget to the better performing ad after a certain period of testing time. Smart Campaigns, a solution exclusively from Denim Social, is the first-ever solution to test campaign variables across multiple locations and automatically allocate your budget to top-performing ads in every location.

    3. Personalize audiences.

    Instagram ads allow all the same targeting options as Facebook ads, including targeting based on location, demographics, interests, behavior and more. As you would expect, the more targeted your ads are to the right audience, the better chance they have of achieving your campaign objective.

    You also have the option to create a Custom Audience by uploading a list to reach your current customers or other consumers who have already interacted with your business. From there, you can also create a Lookalike Audience to expand your reach and get your ad in front of consumers who are similar to your most valuable customers.

    4. Optimize your content.

    When considering your ad content and creative elements, think about your objective, who you’re trying to reach and what kind of message and tone will motivate them to engage with your ad.

    Different formats are available based on the campaign objective you chose. The basic Instagram ad formats are photo ads, carousel ads, video ads and Stories ads. When building a photo or carousel ad, be sure to use engaging, high-resolution images that will appeal to the audience you’re targeting. Instagram video ads can be up to 60 seconds long; however, for best results, we recommend keeping videos to 15 seconds or less.

    5. Personalize the post-click experience.

    Be sure to give thought to what happens when an Instagram user clicks on your ad. Is your call-to-action clear so users know exactly what they will get after they click? If you are driving them off of Instagram to your website or somewhere else, is it a consistent experience?

    Pages from Denim Social helps financial services marketers increase conversion rates with post-click landing page experiences that are aligned with pre-click expectations. Create hundreds of code-free, personalized landing pages on behalf of local advisors in a matter of minutes.

    6. Retarget.

    Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to convert leads in today’s digital space. By adding the Facebook Pixel to your website or landing page (remember, Instagram is owned by Facebook), you can easily create an audience of Instagram users who have previously engaged with your brand and shown interest in what you have to offer.

    Try to create these audiences based on the action you want them to take with your ad. For example, if you are creating an Instagram ad about a specific product, consider targeting users who have visited that product’s page on your website in the last 30 days.

    With Denim Pages, we’ve made the process of adding the Facebook Pixel and seamlessly retargeting consumers a breeze.
    For help creating a strategy to reach more customers on Instagram, access our Guide to Building Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram.

    Download the Guide

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    Apply to be benchmarked against the sample data!

    You’ve probably wondered how your institution stacks up against competitors in social media.Submit the form and our analysts will run the benchmark data against your financial institution's social media profiles. You will receive a full report with recommendations and insights on your companies social media presence!

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    ALL GUIDES:

    Find out how more than 400 financial institutions across asset classes, geographies, and more used social media in 2020 to effectively support their business objectives. We’ve also outlined key trends to inform your social media future.

    As mortgage demand surges to historic highs, home purchase and refinance markets remain hot. This is excellent news for loan officers, but it also means the environment is more competitive than ever.

    So how can marketers ensure that their loan officers stand out? The answer is social media.

    Read this guidebook from Denim Social to learn how you can help your loan officers build strong relationships, stand out from the crowd and win more business using social media.

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    Every Mortgage Marketer Should Ask Themselves

    Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

    Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram

    Financial Services companies should be advertising on Instagram. We break down why, and help you create a strategy to reach new customers- while continuing to build trust in your brand.

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    ABA Study: The Current State of Social Media

    See what nearly 430 bank marketers had to say when asked questions such as:

  • Is it important to equip your sales personnel with social media accounts?
  • Does your bank measure the impact of your social media use?
  • Download this guidebook to learn how 3 mortgage lenders are using social media to:

    • Position themselves in a place the community is already looking ... their social media
    • Empower loan officers to engage in local conversations
    • Turn their institution's loan officers into the voice of their brand
    • Build trust within the community

    Which roles do you fill when building your bank's marketing dream team? This guide will show you the following:

    • Who does what
    • The right structure to execute strategy
    • How compliance software can help

    Enjoy!

    How 6 Financial Marketers Are Creating Value in Social Media

    Ever wonder what everyone else is doing in social media? We talked to six leading financial marketers about how they’re succeeding today and planning for the next big thing.

    Get their insights on strengthening your social strategies, unlocking the power of employee networks and creating next-level content that drives engagement.

    COVID-19 & Bank Social Media

    Times are different and how you connect with customers and potential customers has changed drastically. In a socially distant world, learn to still build lasting relationships.

    Download and learn the guiding principles for using social media to serve both your customers and communities in the midst of a pandemic.

    Read this guide if you’re asking yourself:

    • Is my social media policy current and comprehensive?
    • How do I ensure social media compliance during M&A?
    • What do I need to consider for direct messaging compliance?

    In this guide we will help you think about your all important social media policy and thoughtfully consider how changes in social media tech and even your bank’s structure may impact compliance.

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    Every Financial Services Marketer Should Ask Themselves

    Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

    RESOURCES

    NEWS
    December 8, 2020

    Take Your Instagram Ads to the Next Level

    We recently wrote an article on getting started with Instagram advertising. Now it’s time to take your ads to the next level. Keep the following best practices in mind to get more from your Instagram ads.

    1. Design your ad based on your desired result.

    As with any marketing strategy, the first step is to determine the goal, or desired result, of your Instagram ad campaign.

    Instagram offers several campaign objectives you can select from — and the objective you choose will influence how your ads are optimized and how you pay for them. For example, if your goal is to get more followers, click-throughs on your ad will be less of a priority. Instead, you may choose to focus on your ad’s reach and frequency

    If you’re unsure where to start, go back to Marketing 101 and brush up on the sales funnel. A great way to get a cold audience into your funnel is to begin with an awareness or reach campaign. These campaigns are lower in cost and can be a great way to expand your visibility.

    As you move down the funnel, test out consideration stage campaign objectives. These may cost slightly more than awareness campaigns, but the results are of higher value, and drives users from Instagram to your website or app.

    Finally, as you’re targeting warmer audiences, perhaps in a retargeting campaign, test out a conversion campaign objective for the final push to drive sales (more on this in #6, below).

    2. A/B test.

    One of the best ways to improve your ad results — and gain insights to inform your strategy going forward — is to set up an A/B test. The most important thing to remember with an A/B test is something you learned in middle school science: Choose one variable to test and keep everything else about the two ads the same.

    These test variables could be many things, but some common options include ad copy, call to action, imagery and other creative elements or audiences being targeted.

    A big benefit of an A/B test is the ability to re-allocate your budget to the better performing ad after a certain period of testing time. Smart Campaigns, a solution exclusively from Denim Social, is the first-ever solution to test campaign variables across multiple locations and automatically allocate your budget to top-performing ads in every location.

    3. Personalize audiences.

    Instagram ads allow all the same targeting options as Facebook ads, including targeting based on location, demographics, interests, behavior and more. As you would expect, the more targeted your ads are to the right audience, the better chance they have of achieving your campaign objective.

    You also have the option to create a Custom Audience by uploading a list to reach your current customers or other consumers who have already interacted with your business. From there, you can also create a Lookalike Audience to expand your reach and get your ad in front of consumers who are similar to your most valuable customers.

    4. Optimize your content.

    When considering your ad content and creative elements, think about your objective, who you’re trying to reach and what kind of message and tone will motivate them to engage with your ad.

    Different formats are available based on the campaign objective you chose. The basic Instagram ad formats are photo ads, carousel ads, video ads and Stories ads. When building a photo or carousel ad, be sure to use engaging, high-resolution images that will appeal to the audience you’re targeting. Instagram video ads can be up to 60 seconds long; however, for best results, we recommend keeping videos to 15 seconds or less.

    5. Personalize the post-click experience.

    Be sure to give thought to what happens when an Instagram user clicks on your ad. Is your call-to-action clear so users know exactly what they will get after they click? If you are driving them off of Instagram to your website or somewhere else, is it a consistent experience?

    Pages from Denim Social helps financial services marketers increase conversion rates with post-click landing page experiences that are aligned with pre-click expectations. Create hundreds of code-free, personalized landing pages on behalf of local advisors in a matter of minutes.

    6. Retarget.

    Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to convert leads in today’s digital space. By adding the Facebook Pixel to your website or landing page (remember, Instagram is owned by Facebook), you can easily create an audience of Instagram users who have previously engaged with your brand and shown interest in what you have to offer.

    Try to create these audiences based on the action you want them to take with your ad. For example, if you are creating an Instagram ad about a specific product, consider targeting users who have visited that product’s page on your website in the last 30 days.

    With Denim Pages, we’ve made the process of adding the Facebook Pixel and seamlessly retargeting consumers a breeze.
    For help creating a strategy to reach more customers on Instagram, access our Guide to Building Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram.

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    OTHER NEWS:

    Our employees are an important part of our awesome culture here at Denim Social, and we want you to learn more about them! Check out some of the fun and unique facts about Kylie from our Customer Success team.

    Role @ Denim Social:

    Customer Success Specialist

    How long have you worked at Denim Social?

    I have been at Denim Social for 5 months.

    What is your favorite project you’ve worked on? or What is your favorite thing you’ve accomplished?

    Troubleshooting issues and coming up with lasting solutions for our customers that ensure their success.

    Favorite place to travel?

    I have never been there, but I just know it would be Scotland.

    Best advice you’ve received?

    Do what makes you happy. You’re not here to please anyone else, you’re responsible for your own happiness.

    What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

    I’ve been struck by lightning.

    What motivates you?

    Being the best version of myself I can be. And Beyonce.

    Hidden talent?

    I can play guitar solos on the clarinet

    Favorite quote?

    “I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.” - Beyonce

    Facebook boasts a user count of 2.6 billion, making it the most used social media platform worldwide. Chances are, many of your current and future customers are using Facebook frequently throughout the day and it's important to have your brand established within your network. And while having a presence on Facebook is important, knowing how to make the most out of this tool can help you capitalize on growing your network. Check out these best practices to make the most of your Facebook marketing efforts and start achieving real results.

    Establish your professional brand

    Start by making sure that the page you’re using is a Facebook Business Page. Moving away from your personal page will allow you to better optimize for business specific marketing. Next, carefully check your settings to ensure that your privacy settings are up to date and that the right people can find your page. Continue your page set-up by adding images and information about your business. 

    Optimize your profile picture and cover photo:

    Update your Facebook Business Page ‘About’ section with this information:

    • Add your NMLS# (if applicable),  website URL, contact information, location and operating hours
    • Create a username that is easily searchable and consistent across networks
    • Add a description 
    • Company information
    • Write a summary containing your value, results, and a call-to-action

    A helpful way to engage new visitors is to pin a Welcome Post to the top of your page to let visitors know what to expect on your business.

    Build a community and create human connections

    A good starting place is inviting your friends and family to like and engage with your business page. You can continue to grow your network by engaging with your audience and other parts of your community by:

    • Staying up to date with notifications and responding where necessary.  
    • Tagging any partners that helped during the process
    • Sharing posts for community events 

    You can also create more opportunities for engagement by using hashtag. To learn more about how them implement them into your social strategy visit our blog post: ‘What’s in a #Hashtag?’ for more information. You can also check out this blog post for even more helpful tips: ‘4 Tips for Building a Facebook Business Page Following.’

    Consistently post relevant and insightful content

    Ask your audience questions to spark comments and interact with them. By gaining insight into pressing problems customers face it can be a help you create educational resources for them.

    Find relevant content by checking your Denim Social content library, or search for topics in the Facebook search bar to find inspiration from others in your field. Something to also keep in mind are the best times to post for optimal engagement:

    • Best time: Thursday-Sunday between 1-4pm
    • Single best time: Sunday at 3 pm. 
    • Worst time: Tuesday

    Check out our guide in the Help Center for more information.

    Best Practices: 

    Jumpstart your Facebook business optimization by adding a 30-minute weekly recurring meeting on your calendar to do the following:

    • Schedule content for the week using the 4-1-1 approach
    • Engage with your audience’s content
    • Seek recommendations from customers & share success stories

    Now that you've started marketing your business on Facebook, you can continue your growth by creating a follow-up loop and check your page regularly to respond to questions, comments, messages. For a quick reference of these tips, bookmark this infographic.


    Known as the professional social networking platform, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for fostering strategic customer relationships and building credibility. An important part of your online brand, your LinkedIn profile is a key source of information for people looking to learn more about you. 

    A strong LinkedIn profile creates opportunities for meaningful connections and interactions with other professionals. But how do you make LinkedIn a successful part of your marketing strategy? Well, for starters, you need to build trust. Use the following best practices to do just that.

    1. Add professional profile and cover photos. According to LinkedIn, a professional headshot makes your profile 21x more likely to be viewed, and profiles with photos get a 40% better InMail response rate. For best results, upload JPEG or PNG images sized as follows:
    • Profile photo: 400x400 pixels
    • Cover photo: 1584x396 pixels

    Pro Tip: Bookmark our Up-to-Date Social Media Sizing & Resource Guide to optimize your images on every social media platform.

    1. Write a compelling headline and summary. Your headline and summary should clearly and succinctly state who you are and why someone should connect with you.
    • Headline: More than simply your job title, your headline should answer these two questions: 
    • Who do you help?
    • How do you help?
    • Summary: Use the following framework to write a compelling professional summary:
    • Paragraph 1: In three sentences or less, what is your value prop to your prospective customers? Reiterate your purpose from your headline.
    • Paragraph 2: In three sentences or less, how do you help customers achieve results?
    • Paragraph 3: In three sentences or less, what is your call-to-action for the prospective customer?

    Pro Tip: In your headline and summary, be sure to include keywords prospective customers might search for.

    1. Engage frequently and consistently. Every week, apply consistent effort to LinkedIn to build credibility and keep content relevant and valuable for customers. Below is checklist of activities we recommend performing on a weekly basis:
    • Post relevant content: Check your content library or search for trending topics in the LinkedIn search bar. You can find some great recent inspiration from others in your field.
    • Post/schedule content at the right time: Generally, the best time to post on LinkedIn is Tuesday through Thursday between 10 and 11 a.m. Content posted in the evenings and on weekends tends to get less engagement. Check out this guide in our Help Center for more information on when to post on various social media channels.
    • Seek recommendations from customers and share success stories: What’s better than telling your networks how great you are? Someone else saying it for you! Positive testimonials, endorsements and reviews go a long way in building your credibility.
    • Check likes, follows, shares, hashtags and comments. Be sure to engage and respond as appropriate. Set weekly or monthly goals for growth and track progress.
    • Grow your network: Join relevant groups in your industry to gain customer insights about needs and interests, follow influencers and connect with others.

    Pro tip: Add a 30-minute weekly recurring event on your calendar to go through the above checklist. 

    If you’re still questioning the value of LinkedIn, consider this success story. According to Fortune, an advisor at financial services firm Guardian Life picked up 35 referrals from just one client using LinkedIn. The advisor’s business has more than doubled since he started prospecting on social networks. So what are you waiting for? Start building trust and credibility on LinkedIn today.

    Looking for a quick reference for all of this information? Check out this infographic.

    Make the most of your social media presence by optimizing your images and including essential information about your business on each platform. By giving your customers an optimal digital experience, you will be able to broaden your reach and provide better customer service through your digital platforms.

    Facebook

    IMAGE SIZING:

    Profile picture: 180 x 180px

    Cover photo: 840 x 312px

    Keep the main content of your image centered. On a desktop the photo will display as 840x312px, but on mobile will size down to 640x360px.

    Facebook post image: 1200 x 630px

    The ideal width for a Facebook post image is 1200px, but height can vary based on what type of device the image display is optimized for. We recommend keeping it at the recommended size to keep consistency on all devices.

    When creating a Facebook Ad graphic, any text should not take up more than 20% of the photo. You can find a cheat sheet here: https://www.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay.

    Facebook Link Image: 1200 x 628px

    Make sure to claim ownership of your links for the ability to change the link preview photo. You can find more info on that here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/528858287471922?id=708699556338610.

    Carousel Post: 600 x 600px

    Carousel posts are a great way to display multiple services that you offer to your customers. When placing a Facebook ad you can link each carousel photo to a different link, making it easy for people to navigate to your specific products.

    Facebook Story: 1080 x 1920px

    Make the most of your stories by using all of your space and creating a fullscreen experience.

    IMPORTANT PAGE INFORMATION:

    Page name:

    This is where you can name your Facebook Page, but be sure to keep it shorter than 75 characters.

    Page username:

    Customize your page URL by adding a username, making it easier for people to locate and navigate people from other digital platforms. Your Facebook URL can include up to 50 characters.

    Page call to action:

    Facebook gives you a variety of choices on calls to action. For example, if you’d like customers to contact you by email, you can set up a “Send Email” button with your email address connected and ready to go.

    LinkedIn

    IMAGE SIZING:

    Profile picture: 400 x 400px

    Upload your business logo here to personalize your profile. If this page is for an individual, this is where you will upload their headshot.

    Cover Photo: 1584 x 396px

    Having a personalized business cover photo will make your profile look more professional and give you the opportunity to provide page visitors with more of the look and feel of your business. This can include an image related to your business or a graphic with information on services you provide or your business slogan. Be sure to center your main content to give your mobile viewers a an optimized experience.

    LinkedIn post photo: 1200 x 628px (Optimized for mobile)

    When targeting an audience on both desktop and mobile, make sure that you optimize for mobile to give people the best experience.

    1200 x 1200 px (optimized for desktop)

    When you are specifically targeting views on desktop, this is the ideal size image to use.

    LinkedIn Link Photo: 1200 x 628px

    Providing an image with your link preview can help give viewers a better idea of article content and also communicate your brand look and feel.

    IMPORTANT PAGE INFORMATION

    Page name:

    This is where your business name is located, as well as your company industry, location, and number of followers.

    Page description:

    Add your business slogan, mission, or short description to tell people what your company can do.

    Twitter

    IMAGE SIZING

    Profile picture: 400 x 400px

    Upload your business logo or headshot to personalize your profile.

    Cover photo: 1500 x 500px

    Be sure to center your content to give your followers an optimized experience on mobile.

    Twitter post photo: 1200 x 675px (16:9 ratio)

    Allow your followers to see the entirety of the photo in their feed by adhering to this sizing guideline.

    IMPORTANT PAGE INFORMATION

    Underneath your profile photo, your company name and username will be displayed.

    Write a short bio to tell people more about your business.

    Instagram

    IMAGE SIZING

    Profile photo: 110 x 110px

    Your profile picture will be small, so be sure your image is sized correctly and centered. This is a great place for your company logo.

    Profile thumbnail: Displays as 161 x 161px (recommended 1080 width)

    This is a preview of your large image post, but looks best when the photo posted is square.

    Highlight Cover: 1080 x 1920px

    Your cover photos should have centered images to give your highlight reel a balanced look. You can also name your highlights, but be concise as they can only be 15 characters long.

    Instagram Feed Photo: 1080 x 1080px

    The recommended width for all Instagram feed photos is 1080px, but the height can vary. To optimize for your feed display within your profile, we recommend using the sizing listed above and keep your image square.

    Instagram Feed Ad Photo: 1080 x 1080px

    Your ad photo will display the same as a normal feed photo, but with a link attached. When creating an ad in Ads Manager, you’ll be able to upload a separate photo for Instagram to keep your photos optimized for the user experience.

    Instagram Story: 1080 x 1920px

    Make the most of your stories by using all of your space and creating a fullscreen experience.

    What’s in a #Hashtag?
    November 30, 2020

    Before 2007 the hashtag symbol was simply known as the “pound” or “number” symbol, but now by putting this symbol in front of words and short phrases in a social media post, they become a “hashtag” – which creates deeper meaning. Hashtags may seem arbitrary because of how widely they are used, but they can add a lot of value to your content strategy if you’re intentional about where you use them. The many benefits of hashtags can include content awareness, community building, SEO influence, and more.

    Content Strategy

    Hashtags bring together content that has shared subject matter that otherwise may never be associated. This gives the reader the opportunity to view content that other people have created around a hashtag and use it to influence your strategy moving forward. For example: If you are interested in creating a social media campaign around “financial freedom,” searching the hashtag #financialfreedom will open the door for you to find questions people have, social posts that have been utilized with this topic, and what other businesses are saying. You may find that someone else has already done a similar social campaign, and it would make sense to change some of your content ideas to differentiate yourself in the market. Getting an understanding of how your content will fit into the conversation can help provide value and drive clicks back to your website.

    Community Building

    Are you hosting an event, wanting to create synergy between people, or looking for community input on a specific topic? A hashtag is a great way to group together information and  conversations in one easily searchable place. By creating a hashtag unique to your project or event and promoting it for people to use, you’ll be able to find related posts in one feed. For example: you’re planning a mortgage conference and want people to be able to snap a photo of themselves in attendance, then post it to social media. By asking them to include a hashtag – including the name of your conference and year (#MidwestMortgageConference2020) –you’ll be able to see all of the posts from attendees in one place and potentially further connect with attendees in the future.

    Is there a trending hashtag related to your business or community? Utilize this hashtag to join the conversation and bring recognition to content you are creating or already have published around a topic. With all posts relevant to a hashtag pulled into one feed, you can easily respond to others and create relationships based on shared interests or topics. For example: Mortgage rates are at an all time low and #homebuying is a trending topic on Twitter. As a mortgage business or loan officer this is a great opportunity to be a part of the conversation and offer insight into how you can bring value to potential homebuyers.

    SEO Influence

    LinkedIn recently had an important platform update that is now changing the game for hashtags related to SEO by including the first three hashtags in a published post within the URL. This improves where you show up in a Google search related to those topics, therefore driving traffic back to your post (and ultimately website!). Using hashtags can also bolster your content visibility as they essentially act as keywords on social media platforms. If someone searches for a hashtag and finds your content to be valuable, they may share it, potentially giving you more link clicks and improving visibility. It’s important that you use hashtags that are not only relevant to your content, but also likely to be found by people searching.

    Best Practices

    It’s important to remember that your post should consist of content that gives context to the hashtags you’re using. A post with only hashtags will likely be confusing and won’t offer any value to your followers. It’s also good to note that using more hashtags isn’t always advantageous. It’s in your best interest to

    Remember that each social media platform handles hashtags differently:

    1. Twitter, the birthplace of the hashtag, continues to place value in their use and uses them to help you learn about what’s trending on their platform. Get involved in conversations happening on the platform around trending topics by including the hashtag in your post. Click on a hashtag to find a single feed of all posts that have recently added it to their post.
    2. Instagram groups together posts that utilize the same hashtag in one image feed, showing you both recent and most popular posts. Using a hashtag on Instagram can help people discover your content and increase your following. It may also lead to content shares and profile visits, potentially increasing website traffic.
    3. LinkedIn as stated above is now allowing you to boost your SEO when you use hashtags within their platform. Knowing what hashtags people are using and searching for commonly will give you an advantage in knowing what types of content to post. LinkedIn also turns hashtags into clickable links that allow you to see a single feed of posts using the same hashtags.
    4. Using a hashtag on Facebook will provide viewers with a clickable link that takes them to more content they may be interested in. Facebook users are generally less likely to be searching for hashtags, but they still provide value in organizing content in one easy to find place.

    Hashtags are not going anywhere anytime soon and can bring more depth to your social media posts when used correctly. You can start and participate in conversations, build community & event awareness, gain insight into content strategy, and improve your SEO all by adding the # in front of the keywords within your posts. With all of the benefits of hashtags, why not try including them in your next campaign strategy? Who knows, you just might end up trending!

    Imagine knowing what your customers think about you. What they really think about you — the good, the bad and the ugly. Now imagine how that information would impact your marketing strategy, product development efforts and the customer service you provide.

    Well, stop imagining and start listening. Social listening.

    What is social listening?

    Social listening is the practice of tracking social media platforms for mentions and conversations happening about your brand and industry, and then using those insights to take action.

    It’s the taking action part that starts to separate social listening from its counterpart social media monitoring. While social media monitoring looks at metrics like engagement rate and number of mentions, social listening looks beyond the numbers to consider the sentiment behind the data. In other words, monitoring tells you what; listening tells you why.

    Why should I be social listening?

    Social listening enables you to make better decisions and provide your customers with more relevant and timely information and experiences. Consider the following opportunities.

    • Improve customer service. It’s no surprise that people use social media to share their complaints and customer service issues — often before (or instead of) contacting customer service. And, although they report complaints, ask questions and provide feedback on social media, they don’t always tag the company, making it difficult to respond. Social listening changes that by monitoring social media channels for mentions, products and keywords. Armed with that information, you can spot trends and address concerns before they become bigger issues. Simply replying to a satisfied customer or providing a solution to an unhappy one can go a long way in strengthening your reputation.
    • Understand what your customers are saying. Knowing what’s being said about your brand not only allows you to provide better customer service, but the insights can also be used to enhance your product development efforts, marketing strategy and more. Do the insights spur a new product idea? Can you tweak an existing product or add a feature to resolve the problems people are talking about? If you do, be sure to tell people about it with a targeted marketing campaign.
    • Track your competition. Social listening can also help you understand how you stack up against your competition. What’s the latest buzz about other brands in your industry? Are they launching new products and services? Creating new marketing campaigns? Dealing with customer service issues? Social listening gives you insights into these opportunities and threats in real-time so you can respond with competitive product, marketing and customer service strategies.
    • Monitor relevant industry conversations. Another way to get a leg up on the competition and remain relevant to your audience is to pick up on industry trends… before they even become trends. By monitoring hashtags or discussions within your industry, you can get a better sense of where your market is headed — excellent intel as you go into 2021 strategic planning.

    How do I get started?

    Getting started with social listening is easier than you might think. The first step is to decide what you want to monitor. Common places to start include your brand, product and service names; competitor brand, product and service names; industry keywords and buzzwords; and branded hashtags.

    Once you know what you want to track, you will need a system that makes it easy for you to monitor the conversations and take action. To learn more about how Denim Social’s Listening can help you stay on top of online mentions with customizable alerts, monitor and respond to customer feedback, track your competition and more, contact us today.

    RESOURCES

    VISION
    December 8, 2020

    Take Your Instagram Ads to the Next Level

    We recently wrote an article on getting started with Instagram advertising. Now it’s time to take your ads to the next level. Keep the following best practices in mind to get more from your Instagram ads.

    1. Design your ad based on your desired result.

    As with any marketing strategy, the first step is to determine the goal, or desired result, of your Instagram ad campaign.

    Instagram offers several campaign objectives you can select from — and the objective you choose will influence how your ads are optimized and how you pay for them. For example, if your goal is to get more followers, click-throughs on your ad will be less of a priority. Instead, you may choose to focus on your ad’s reach and frequency

    If you’re unsure where to start, go back to Marketing 101 and brush up on the sales funnel. A great way to get a cold audience into your funnel is to begin with an awareness or reach campaign. These campaigns are lower in cost and can be a great way to expand your visibility.

    As you move down the funnel, test out consideration stage campaign objectives. These may cost slightly more than awareness campaigns, but the results are of higher value, and drives users from Instagram to your website or app.

    Finally, as you’re targeting warmer audiences, perhaps in a retargeting campaign, test out a conversion campaign objective for the final push to drive sales (more on this in #6, below).

    2. A/B test.

    One of the best ways to improve your ad results — and gain insights to inform your strategy going forward — is to set up an A/B test. The most important thing to remember with an A/B test is something you learned in middle school science: Choose one variable to test and keep everything else about the two ads the same.

    These test variables could be many things, but some common options include ad copy, call to action, imagery and other creative elements or audiences being targeted.

    A big benefit of an A/B test is the ability to re-allocate your budget to the better performing ad after a certain period of testing time. Smart Campaigns, a solution exclusively from Denim Social, is the first-ever solution to test campaign variables across multiple locations and automatically allocate your budget to top-performing ads in every location.

    3. Personalize audiences.

    Instagram ads allow all the same targeting options as Facebook ads, including targeting based on location, demographics, interests, behavior and more. As you would expect, the more targeted your ads are to the right audience, the better chance they have of achieving your campaign objective.

    You also have the option to create a Custom Audience by uploading a list to reach your current customers or other consumers who have already interacted with your business. From there, you can also create a Lookalike Audience to expand your reach and get your ad in front of consumers who are similar to your most valuable customers.

    4. Optimize your content.

    When considering your ad content and creative elements, think about your objective, who you’re trying to reach and what kind of message and tone will motivate them to engage with your ad.

    Different formats are available based on the campaign objective you chose. The basic Instagram ad formats are photo ads, carousel ads, video ads and Stories ads. When building a photo or carousel ad, be sure to use engaging, high-resolution images that will appeal to the audience you’re targeting. Instagram video ads can be up to 60 seconds long; however, for best results, we recommend keeping videos to 15 seconds or less.

    5. Personalize the post-click experience.

    Be sure to give thought to what happens when an Instagram user clicks on your ad. Is your call-to-action clear so users know exactly what they will get after they click? If you are driving them off of Instagram to your website or somewhere else, is it a consistent experience?

    Pages from Denim Social helps financial services marketers increase conversion rates with post-click landing page experiences that are aligned with pre-click expectations. Create hundreds of code-free, personalized landing pages on behalf of local advisors in a matter of minutes.

    6. Retarget.

    Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to convert leads in today’s digital space. By adding the Facebook Pixel to your website or landing page (remember, Instagram is owned by Facebook), you can easily create an audience of Instagram users who have previously engaged with your brand and shown interest in what you have to offer.

    Try to create these audiences based on the action you want them to take with your ad. For example, if you are creating an Instagram ad about a specific product, consider targeting users who have visited that product’s page on your website in the last 30 days.

    With Denim Pages, we’ve made the process of adding the Facebook Pixel and seamlessly retargeting consumers a breeze.
    For help creating a strategy to reach more customers on Instagram, access our Guide to Building Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram.

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    The insurance industry is built on relationships — so much so that, before the pandemic, 90% of sales conversations and 70% of ongoing customer conversations happened face-to-face. Things today look quite different: Only 5% of agents say they’re talking to customers in person.

    Digitizing marketing operations became a top priority for companies in the insurance industry almost overnight. Not only is the landscape in the midst of significant change for nearly every customer segment, but the use of digital channels is also accelerating due to the pandemic. Some insurance companies might even take a digital-first approach to sales as a result, with consumers choosing to seek advice from advisors through video calls or live chat.

    Insurance marketers need to move beyond traditional techniques and arm agents with the tools to effectively communicate and convert prospective customers in the digital space. How to go about doing this will depend on the company as well as its target audiences, but here are a few elements for every insurance marketer to keep in mind:

    1. Never lose the human touch.

    Trust is paramount in the insurance industry, but as more customer interactions occur online, companies will have to try harder to build and maintain it. One recent Accenture survey of insurance consumers found that only 12% said they placed a lot of trust in automated services over phone, web, or email when making a claim, and only 7% said the same about chatbots. However, nearly half said they would trust a human advisor. To avoid eroding trust with digitization efforts, you must put the human element front and center in every digital interaction.

    Social media is an excellent way to do this, but we’re not only talking about a big company brand page. To establish and maintain connections via social channels, encourage advisors to use their own professional accounts. An advisor’s professional accounts generally have 10 times the reach of company profiles, and they’re also more likely to improve customer engagement, as the interactions are coming from a human rather than from a brand.

    Customers value authentic human connections: Life insurance customers who had interaction with their insurers had Net Promoter Scores 25 points higher than customers who had no interaction at all.

    2. Reevaluate the customers’ digital journeys.

    Social media is the place for agents to start conversations and get prospects’ attention digitally, but it’s only the starting point in a larger customer journey. Audit the tools that agents are currently using, and assess how each individual channel contributes to the larger customer journey.

    If the majority of an agent’s social posts are just graphics or text, they’re not leading prospects anywhere — they’re just building social media dead ends. To lead prospects to the next step in a digital journey, build landing pages on your website that agents can link to in their social posts. When prospects follow the post to the landing page, they take a meaningful next step in the digital journey with your brand to engage and learn more.

    3. Personalize your approach.

    Personalization is the name of the game in digital marketing. The problem is, some insurers are more “cut-and-paste” with online interactions, sending out messages and promotions built for the masses.

    In the Accenture survey above, 66% of insurance consumers said they would be willing to share personal data for more personalized services to prevent injury and loss. With that in mind, it’s clear how a broad approach misses many potential prospects. Work toward personalizing the digital experience for a variety of target audiences by providing valuable content tailored to their specific needs and develop landing pages geared toward each of your audience sectors. It’s not a one-size-fits-all customer journey, so don’t treat it as such.

    Changing marketing tactics is no small undertaking. It requires time, resources, and know-how to do successfully. Social media management tools from Denim Social can help get agents active on social media at scale, put human faces behind the brand name, and build online customer journeys based on trust.

    Find out how more than 400 financial institutions across asset classes, geographies, and more used social media in 2020 to effectively support their business objectives. We’ve also outlined key trends to inform your social media future.

    In speaking with friends, co-workers and bankers, I have come across many reasons why more of us are not effectively using social media: not enough time, concerns about compliance and lack of knowledge top the list.

    In banking, we are the relationship builders, the trusted sources and the personal interaction—whether in-person or via social, video, chat or other mediums. So how do we bridge the gap between in-person and digital interactions? How do we display our personality digitally while balancing compliance concerns? How do we personalize digital outreach and engagement through curated content and social media channels in order to educate customers and engage new prospects?

    Banks’ retail customers and business clients expect personalized experiences. Using social media in a compliant way for bankers to engage with customers and differentiate themselves from the competition. According to Denim Social, ABA’s endorsed social media management platform, building a personalized and human digital experience is key, and the best place to start doing it is on social media. Informative and educational content is a fantastic entry point into a digital journey, as it starts by engaging prospects and building trust.

    People trust people, and banks that have individual employees actively using social media on behalf of the bank’s brand are seeing results. Even when sharing the same content, on average employees see a click-through rate twice as high as their company’s own social channels see, according to LinkedIn. Two-thirds of consumers surveyed by the Harris Poll say they are likely to purchase an item or service they see on their social feeds.

    Here’s a simple process to make social selling work in a bank context:

    • Marketing teams easily curate and share educational, compliant content in a pre-approved digital library.
    • Then employees access the approved content and share through their own, personal digital channels.
    • Approval workflows and compliance checks along the way ensure the posts meet both the bank’s compliance and branding requirements.

    Employee posts are a complement to, not a substitute for, paid social media, which enables marketers to create and target paid ads specific to demographics, geography and more. Imagine creating educational content for a demographic of first-time homebuyers. Your loan officer shares savings tips, homeownership information and educational content on their social channels, establishing expertise and developing relationships along the way. Paid ads ensure the right homebuyers see the content.

    According to IBM, when a lead is generated through social selling or employee advocacy, that lead is seven times more likely to close compared to other lead gen tactics. Through this digital relationship, your loan officer has engaged in social selling and is reaching new markets—all without leaving the comfort of their home, their office or (these days) their home office.

    This article was originally published by ABA Bank Marketing.

    Lisa Gold Schier is an SVP at ABA, where she leads the ABA Endorsed Solutions team and business innovation.

    The insurance sales environment has been rocked by COVID-19. What was once an industry built on face-to-face relationships is now going through rapid digital transformation. In the absence of in-person meetings, social media is the best place for agents to build trust with current and prospective clients.

    Trust is the No. 1 thing insurance companies sell, after all, and a recent Edelman report shows that consumers rank brand employees as more trustworthy than brand CEOs or spokespeople. When insurance agents get in front of customers on social media, they can sell trust more effectively than brands alone.

    And customers are looking for authentic connections: One study shows that life insurance customers who connected with their insurers gave Net Promoter Scores 25 points higher than those who did not. With face-to-face meetings off the table, social media is the primary stand-in for forging those deep, connected relationships that build trust and drive referrals.

    As more agents recognize this and flock online to bring in business and build their individual professional brands, insurance marketers are tasked with scaling oversight to ensure compliance and consistent brand messaging. Considering that marketers at large companies could be looking at social strategies of thousands of agents dispersed across markets nationwide, it’s easy to see how managing the creation and publishing of owned and paid content can be incredibly time-consuming and complex.

    Despite these challenges, insurance marketers must manage social media well. So how can marketing departments handle the influx of responsibilities? Start by understanding the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:

    1. Letting agents fly solo.

    Agents are busy, especially at a time when insurance needs are changing constantly. What’s more, many agents are likely jumping into social media as a professional tool for the first time: More than three-quarters of property-casualty agents are over age 50. They likely have less experience on social than their digital-native counterparts and require more guidance from marketing teams. It’s the marketing team’s responsibility to encourage agents to get and stay active on social media by making this task as easy as possible for them.

    The right social media management software will allow marketers to create content libraries filled with preapproved posts. Agents can simply log in, choose which preapproved post they’d like to share, and either post it right away or schedule it to be posted later. This makes it easy for agents to access and post valuable content for their readers, and marketers will know that agents’ posts aren’t risking compliance or brand reputation.

    2. Kicking it old-school.

    Posting content and managing engagement on each individual social media platform is simply not scalable for marketers or agents today. For your team to be successful on social media, you must modernize your tools. Multichannel publishing platforms can help you effectively and efficiently create, approve, and publish content — and then manage engagement for many accounts on various platforms at once. Marketers can create approval workflows, schedule out social posts, and manage comments and other engagements, all from one central location.

    What’s more, social media management software can help ease the regulatory pressure that comes along with electronic communications. In order to prove compliance in the event of an audit, you must keep record of every branded post and engagement. If you have thousands of agents using social media on behalf of the brand, however, it’s simply impossible to keep track of it all manually. It’s time to retire the binders and invest in software that can automatically log all of your posts and replies — saving you time and keeping your team audit-ready.

    3. Being intimidated by paid social advertising.

    When brands first began using social media as a marketing tool, all it took to make a post go viral was high-quality content. While great content is certainly a necessary place to start today, platforms have since updated their algorithms to make branded content less visible overall. Despite all the work that agents and marketers put into organic social media strategies, the reach could be insignificant without the help of paid advertising.

    Paid social media advertising is a low-cost, high-return investment that will ensure branded posts land with exactly the right audiences at the right time. One of our clients, a Fortune 200 insurance company, used paid social to create one campaign that delivered click-through rates 59% higher than the financial and insurance industry average for social media and mobile advertising. And the cost-per-click was 24% less than similar campaigns.

    Yes, it’s true that managing paid campaigns can be a headache for marketers, especially if they’re dealing with multiple campaigns at the brand, agency, and agent levels. But social media management software can step in to help ease the burden, and the results are worth the investment.

    It’s understandable that agents and marketers alike might feel they’ve been tossed into the deep end as insurance saw a 180-degree shift in sales strategies almost overnight. The good news, however, is that the right tools can help you get a handle on the new demands of today to build an even stronger sales strategy for tomorrow.

    As mortgage demand surges to historic highs, home purchase and refinance markets remain hot. This is excellent news for loan officers, but it also means the environment is more competitive than ever.

    So how can marketers ensure that their loan officers stand out? The answer is social media.

    Read this guidebook from Denim Social to learn how you can help your loan officers build strong relationships, stand out from the crowd and win more business using social media.

    You can’t just call yourself a “thought leader.” Thought leadership is earned, and you earn it by having a powerful voice in your domain. But how do you cultivate that voice? To answer that question, James Robert Lay of the Digital Growth Institute invited Doug Wilber, CEO at Denim Social, onto the latest episode to discuss how financial brands can create content worthy of the “thought leader” mantle.

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