January 10, 2019

Want to Up Your Twitter Game? Follow These 4 Best Practices

These days, Twitter seems to be dominated by journalists, celebrities, social justice warriors, and politicians. But this platform has always been a key tool for businesses trying to connect with their customers — and the banking industry is no exception.

Twitter allows banks and other financial institutions to engage with audiences in real time. You can share quick tips, gather feedback, and stay on top of financial trends and your competition. Tweets are appealing because they're conversational and digestible, and, frankly, you can't afford to stay off Twitter. According to 2018 data from Statista, Twitter hosts 326 million active users per month. It's particularly popular among the younger crowd: 18- to 24-year-old Americans are more likely to use the platform than even those in their mid- to late-20s.

You can accomplish a lot in 280 characters if you use them wisely (and keep compliance in mind), but that doesn't mean Twitter engagement will be an easy win. Here are four of the most important Twitter tips to keep in mind.

1. Unleash your inner newscaster.

For many people, Twitter serves as a main news source. What does that mean for your bank? Simply put, Twitter is a wonderful vessel for sharing quick, punchy news briefs. Share news that's related to the services you offer and serves the demographic you're trying to reach. This might mean updates to your business or broader financial news that could impact your customer base.

image (3)

If your full story can't be conveyed in one tweet or it continues to develop over time, you can start a tweet thread. This way, you can still keep individual tweets concise without sacrificing important bits of the story. Another quick tip: When linking to in-depth articles in your tweets, use a link shortener and tracker (at Gremlin, we use Brev.is) so you can track click-through rates and engagement. Armed with this information, you can continue to refine your Twitter strategy — a critical step in any social media for banks.

2. Put a hashtag on it.

If you run a blog, you likely already understand the importance of search engine optimization. Hashtags are similarly important: They make it easier for users to find your content, and according to data from TrackMaven, tweets that include at least one hashtag boast engagement rates around 13 percent.

image (2)

That doesn't mean more hashtags equal more engagement, though. TrackMaven also discovered that as the number of hashtags per tweet increases, engagement goes down. It's best to hover around one to two hashtags per tweet. Start by tracking a few hashtags relevant to your industry — #retirementplanning or #financialwellness, for instance — then see which ones perform the best among your audience and increase follower count. Think about commonly searched topics and research corresponding hashtags. The more searchable your tweets are, the better.

3. Lower the barrier to digest.

Twitter started as a text-driven platform, but today's serial scrollers want to consume image-based content. Tweets that include at least one image are 34 percent more likely to be retweeted than those without them, and video-based tweets get six-plus times more retweets. It makes sense: Images communicate ideas quickly, add context, and help users make sense of a variety of topics. When you also consider that people are more likely to remember information when it's communicated via video, including visuals becomes a no-brainer.

image (1)

Visuals can also help drive Twitter shares for your on-site content, such as blog posts. BuzzSumo found that posts with images placed every 75 to 100 words received double the shares on social media than articles with fewer images. So whether it's an engaging photo, infographic, or video, include visuals wherever they make sense.

4. Time your tweets.

Driving continued engagement on Twitter requires just that: continuous engagement. So it's not enough to tweet sporadically. After analyzing 11,000 tweets from top brands, Social Bakers found tweeting three times per day garnered the most engagement.

That said, engagement drops off when companies tweet too much. According to Track Social, when companies tweet more than five times per day, the response per tweet drops off significantly. At the end of the day, gauge what works with your followers and adjust as necessary. Time of day is also important. Aim to tweet during commuting hours — when users are 181 percent more likely to be on Twitter. Lunch hour is another peak time worth exploring.

Twitter might seem better suited to social celebrities and outspoken politicians, but it's one of the most important social media platforms for your bank. If you find your voice, keep content digestible, and stay committed to what your followers want, Twitter will serve you well.

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January 10, 2019

Want to Up Your Twitter Game? Follow These 4 Best Practices

These days, Twitter seems to be dominated by journalists, celebrities, social justice warriors, and politicians. But this platform has always been a key tool for businesses trying to connect with their customers — and the banking industry is no exception.

Twitter allows banks and other financial institutions to engage with audiences in real time. You can share quick tips, gather feedback, and stay on top of financial trends and your competition. Tweets are appealing because they're conversational and digestible, and, frankly, you can't afford to stay off Twitter. According to 2018 data from Statista, Twitter hosts 326 million active users per month. It's particularly popular among the younger crowd: 18- to 24-year-old Americans are more likely to use the platform than even those in their mid- to late-20s.

You can accomplish a lot in 280 characters if you use them wisely (and keep compliance in mind), but that doesn't mean Twitter engagement will be an easy win. Here are four of the most important Twitter tips to keep in mind.

1. Unleash your inner newscaster.

For many people, Twitter serves as a main news source. What does that mean for your bank? Simply put, Twitter is a wonderful vessel for sharing quick, punchy news briefs. Share news that's related to the services you offer and serves the demographic you're trying to reach. This might mean updates to your business or broader financial news that could impact your customer base.

image (3)

If your full story can't be conveyed in one tweet or it continues to develop over time, you can start a tweet thread. This way, you can still keep individual tweets concise without sacrificing important bits of the story. Another quick tip: When linking to in-depth articles in your tweets, use a link shortener and tracker (at Gremlin, we use Brev.is) so you can track click-through rates and engagement. Armed with this information, you can continue to refine your Twitter strategy — a critical step in any social media for banks.

2. Put a hashtag on it.

If you run a blog, you likely already understand the importance of search engine optimization. Hashtags are similarly important: They make it easier for users to find your content, and according to data from TrackMaven, tweets that include at least one hashtag boast engagement rates around 13 percent.

image (2)

That doesn't mean more hashtags equal more engagement, though. TrackMaven also discovered that as the number of hashtags per tweet increases, engagement goes down. It's best to hover around one to two hashtags per tweet. Start by tracking a few hashtags relevant to your industry — #retirementplanning or #financialwellness, for instance — then see which ones perform the best among your audience and increase follower count. Think about commonly searched topics and research corresponding hashtags. The more searchable your tweets are, the better.

3. Lower the barrier to digest.

Twitter started as a text-driven platform, but today's serial scrollers want to consume image-based content. Tweets that include at least one image are 34 percent more likely to be retweeted than those without them, and video-based tweets get six-plus times more retweets. It makes sense: Images communicate ideas quickly, add context, and help users make sense of a variety of topics. When you also consider that people are more likely to remember information when it's communicated via video, including visuals becomes a no-brainer.

image (1)

Visuals can also help drive Twitter shares for your on-site content, such as blog posts. BuzzSumo found that posts with images placed every 75 to 100 words received double the shares on social media than articles with fewer images. So whether it's an engaging photo, infographic, or video, include visuals wherever they make sense.

4. Time your tweets.

Driving continued engagement on Twitter requires just that: continuous engagement. So it's not enough to tweet sporadically. After analyzing 11,000 tweets from top brands, Social Bakers found tweeting three times per day garnered the most engagement.

That said, engagement drops off when companies tweet too much. According to Track Social, when companies tweet more than five times per day, the response per tweet drops off significantly. At the end of the day, gauge what works with your followers and adjust as necessary. Time of day is also important. Aim to tweet during commuting hours — when users are 181 percent more likely to be on Twitter. Lunch hour is another peak time worth exploring.

Twitter might seem better suited to social celebrities and outspoken politicians, but it's one of the most important social media platforms for your bank. If you find your voice, keep content digestible, and stay committed to what your followers want, Twitter will serve you well.

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The past year highlighted the growing importance of digital customer experiences in the financial services industry as COVID-19 continued to accelerate the pace of digitization. Unable to connect in person, consumers turned to digital tools. One survey conducted between late March and early May 2020 reported that between 46% and 51% of adults1 in the United States increased social media use since the start of the pandemic. Facebook also reported in late March 2020 that total messaging had increased more than 50%2 in just a month.

While many organizations are welcoming clients back into the branch for in-person service and conversations, it will still be wise for financial institutions not to lose focus on the digital initiatives to put in place during the pandemic.

According to a recent McKinsey & Co. study, consumer trends toward more digital experiences aren’t likely to revert — so neither should your marketing and communications strategies. In fact, up to 20% of bank customers3 expect their use of digital channels will actually increase after the crisis. The point is, while the pandemic may subside, the digital transformation in financial services is no temporary adjustment. Quite the opposite: These trends in consumer behavior are defining the future of retail banking.

The future success of financial institutions will rely on reimagining digital strategies to focus on experiences rather than products alone. And remember, not all technology can be easily customized or implemented to meet federal requirements. Compliance is always a concern.4 Accommodating the increased emphasis on digital channels may also require some reorganization within marketing departments, which will take time to achieve.

Personalization and human connection will be key in the post-pandemic digital world

Relationships have always been a core aspect of success for banks. At first, this idea might seem at odds with digitization, as tech can seem largely impersonal. In the shift from product- to experience-based digital communication tactics, focus on personalization to make interactions feel genuinely helpful and relevant to each prospect.

Consumers today demand more personalization — nearly 80% of consumers5 in one survey agreed that they were more loyal to brands that used more personalization tactics. In fact, 81% of consumers even said they would be willing to share their basic personal data for more personalized experiences in return.

Personal digital experiences encompass the customer journey overall and include specific “routes” for specific target audiences. The journey starts when you get a customer’s attention on social media. This can happen via organic social posting, but because platforms have changed their algorithms to reduce brand visibility, paid advertising on social is often the more surefire way to land a post. When you can strategically distribute messages to the right people at the right time, you create a strong jumping-off point for a personalized journey that will lead your target audience to exactly what they need from you. It’s clear why optimizing your strategy with personalization can increase spend efficiency up to 30%6 and revenue up to 15%.

It’s also important to remember that prospects want to hear from and engage with real people, not brand names. Posting on your brand channels is important, but it’s just the baseline social strategy. Stepping it up a notch to expand reach7 and grow engagement requires having your employees share branded content on their own channels. In an age when 69% of consumers8 make efforts to avoid advertisements, you must foster true connections by putting friendly human faces behind your brand. A humanized approach can help build trust in your employees and the brand at large.

Balancing the personal touch with compliant messaging

Of course, encouraging employees to post branded messaging creates more opportunities for compliance missteps. Regulatory bodies monitor social media just as they do other electronic communications, and one rogue employee post could land the brand in hot water. What’s more, a promissory post that doesn’t deliver could do more than get the brand in regulatory trouble — it could erode trust with clients and prospects. Fortunately, the tools exist to help financial institution leaders safeguard branded messaging even when it’s being shared by many different employees. Software can help build an automated approval workflow, so no employee post goes live without the proper review and sign-off from financial institution marketing and compliance teams. Leaders can also create digital libraries of preapproved content, so employees have easy access to compliant posts to share.

Designing digital experiences for conversion

Think of building consumers’ digital experiences as leading them down a funnel. The top of that funnel is all about awareness. This is where you pique their interest with helpful and engaging social posts. Next, lead them to the middle of the funnel, which is all about consideration. This is where you show them more about what makes your brand in particular the best one to solve their problems.

A link to a landing page from an interest-piquing social post is a great way to take prospects from the top of the funnel to the middle (your website, where you can demonstrate your specific value.) Tailored landing pages for specific campaigns — for example, first-time homebuyers — put valuable, relevant information right in the hands of already interested prospects.

For example, a loan officer can bring prospects into the funnel by targeting a paid ad on social media to land with people looking to secure their first mortgages. That ad should include a link to a landing page on your website for more information. The landing page should include gated resources on the subject, and viewers can put their name and email into a form to receive the download.

When they submit their information, prospects move to the bottom of the funnel, where the sales team can continue to nurture them as leads to guide their decision-making. From landing page forms, sales teams get well-primed leads right in their hands for further conversation. They can craft engaging email drip campaigns or conduct sales calls to keep your brand top of mind for leads as they consider their options. Ultimately, the goal of building digital experiences is to lead prospects closer and closer to the bank’s ultimate sales goal: conversion.

Landing page best practices

When designing landing pages, a few best practices can increase the likelihood of visitors exchanging their information for your content. First, you want to make sure the content on the landing page is highly relevant and valuable to the reader. That means a broad, one-size-fits-all page won’t do. Create multiple landing pages to align with specific target audiences and goals.

Then, remember to keep posts as simple and direct as possible to ensure the specific value offering is clear. You want readers to see as soon as possible why they need the content behind your paywall. Filling a page with too many design elements, multiple offers, images, or other clutter can distract landing page visitors from that focus.

In today’s new digital environment, conversion is the No. 1 metric to track. Likes, comments, and retweets might be nice to have, but savvy financial institution leaders must understand precisely how social media and other personalized steps in the customer journey can help them convert prospects into clients. Even when in-person means of making connections are back on the table, customers will still want tailored digital experiences. As long as you continue putting the human element front and center, digital tools will remain valuable ways to build relationships well into the future.

Customers expected seamless digital experience with their financial services providers even before the pandemic, but COVID-19 turned that push into a shove as social distancing guidelines restricted face-to-face interactions and online became the only place to communicate with customers.

Over the past year, financial services marketing has changed drastically, and it’s never going back to the way it was before. Digital transformation in financial services is here to stay and will only continue accelerating. In fact, 20% of bank customers expect to use digital channels even more often after the pandemic.

Social media is an important digital channel for financial services marketers to focus on as they learn to build and maintain customer relationships in today’s increasingly virtual world. Consumers are connecting on social media today more than ever before, and it’s up to your financial institution to meet them there.

Social Media Marketing Strategies That Drive Results

When designing social strategies, financial services marketers must focus on the right goals to ensure their time, effort, and money pays off. Setting these goals will actually require a bit of a shift in the traditional mindset around social media. Bank leaders and even marketers today still think of social media as primarily a brand-building tool — a means to get your name out there, and not much more.

But social media can serve a much greater purpose for your institution than brand building alone. Aim beyond simple vanity metrics such as likes and shares with your social media marketing goals, and focus on driving real, measurable business results. With some next-level social media marketing strategies, it is possible to directly impact the bottom line by driving conversions on social.

To turn viewers into leads and leads into customers, follow these social media strategies that convert:

1. Build trust with valuable content.

Content has always been the top consideration when it comes to social media marketing strategies. Social media is a convenient way for your brand to share valuable, engaging material and resources with customers to show your value as a helpful partner right away. This value sets a foundation of trust from which strong customer relationships can grow in the future.

The people who should lay that foundation are employees themselves. This is because people want to communicate with and connect better to other humans — rather than big brand names alone. It’s no surprise that when employees share branded posts to their own networks — a strategy called social selling — they can garner twice as much engagement as brand posts. Of course, content in itself won’t convert customers — even if your employees are sharing it themselves. But humanizing the brand in this way will help viewers feel more comfortable and excited to engage further with employees to learn what your brand has to offer.

It’s understandable if thinking of letting each of your organization’s employees post brand-related content wherever and whenever they choose on social media makes you a bit apprehensive. Regulatory guidelines around electronic communication are no joke, and every financial services provider must abide by them, lest they end up in serious trouble. The good news, however, is that effective social selling strategies can be compliant, and it doesn’t have to mean loads of additional work for compliance officers or marketers. Social media management tools like Denim Social’s platform allow you to set automated workflows and create libraries of preapproved content that make it easy to ensure every employee post, comment, and engagement on social media stays within the bounds.

2. Bring prospects closer with landing pages.

So if humanizing and engaging social posts alone won’t convert leads, what will? Part of that answer lies in landing pages. When employees can share links to landing pages in their social media posts, they’re essentially providing a bridge for customers to cross from point A, a social post that piques their interest, to point B, your brand’s website, where they can engage further.

Landing pages should include informative titles that show what the reader will get from the content there right away. Then, they should include a form field where visitors can input their names and email addresses in return for the content advertised in the social post and in the introductory copy on the landing page. When a visitor inputs their information, they should receive a download of the content, and your sales team can get their contact information right in their hands.

To imagine this ecosystem in practice, first imagine a loan officer at your institution is interested in working with first-time homebuyers. Your marketing team creates a whitepaper that includes all of the information a first-time homebuyer needs to know about securing their first mortgage. Then, your marketing team builds a landing page that gates that whitepaper behind a contact form field. The loan officer posts one of the best tips from the guide on social media and prompts anyone who wants more information to click the link to learn more. Those who click the link go to the landing page, exchange their information for the resource, and get valuable information in return. Armed with their email addresses, your sales team can then reach out to let them know the loan officer is ready to set up a meeting as soon as they’re ready to talk about getting a mortgage.

Now, any marketers who read that and shuddered at the thought of building a website page all on their own should know that Denim Social’s landing page builder requires zero coding or web design experience. Marketers can simply drag and drop elements to create many different landing pages for multiple campaigns with ease.

3. Allocate some of your marketing budget toward paid ads.

Getting your employees up and running on social media and giving them landing pages to guide prospects along the digital journey with your brand is all necessary for getting started, but the way social platforms have advanced their algorithms to limit the visibility of branded content today means you need to invest in paid social media advertising if you want to see a real impact from that strategy.

Organic posts simply don’t cut through the noise on social media any longer. Sure, they serve a useful purpose of setting a foundation of expertise and value from your bankers, but to get in front of more consumers beyond the followers in their networks, and to deliver the kind of relevant and personalized content that consumers want most today, you need to invest in paid advertising.

Of course, the biggest appeal of organic social media marketing is that it’s totally free, right? Well, paid advertising on social media won’t take up too much room in your budget, either, and the return you’ll see on your investment will be well worth the initial expenses. Paid ads allow you to target specific audiences at exactly the right time with exactly the right content. And Denim Social’s proprietary social media advertising manager makes it easy for financial services marketers to organize and deploy paid campaigns across different platforms and to different audience segments. Essentially, advanced targeting capabilities ensure that no effort you or your employees put into your social media marketing efforts is wasted on the wrong audiences.

Next-Level Social Media Also Means Thinking Beyond Conversion

We’ve put a lot of weight into the conversion argument here to tell you that conversions should actually not be your end goal — but that’s the truth. It’s important to first shift your institution's understanding of what social media can do — to take it beyond a brand-building tool and into a tool that drives direct results — but you can and should also use social media after prospects become customers to maintain and strengthen your relationships over time.

Part of this relationship-building also means opening up more opportunities for cross-selling and upselling, as bankers can constantly be looking for new ways to add value to their customer relationships. When you consider what social media marketing strategies should entail beyond the point of conversion, first remember that employees are still key. Especially after customers have had a chance to engage with one or two of your associates, they’ll appreciate seeing familiar faces in their feeds sharing valuable content that resonates.

Valuable Content Is Important Post-Conversion, Too

Valuable, helpful material is your best tool for capitalizing on cross- or upselling opportunities with current customers. For example, if a customer wants to open a new joint savings account to save for a down payment on a house, you now know they’re interested in becoming homebuyers, perhaps for the first time.

Once they have their new account, a loan officer can reach out with a link to a landing page that houses a first-time mortgage 101 guidebook. The guidebook can include a call-to-action prompting readers to get in touch with a loan officer to get the process started.

Retargeting Can Help You Upsell With Ease

Another valuable social media tactic in this process is called retargeting. This means landing new paid ads in front of people who have already shown interest in your content but who have dropped out of the social media conversion funnel at some point and never reached conversion — whether they were just prospects looking into your brand or current customers looking to engage in further services.

Denim Social’s audiences tool allows you to segment such viewers into categories who have viewed but dropped off of certain pages. For example, you could create an audience segment of people who have viewed your savings account page but never engaged and those who have viewed your mortgage 101 guidebook page but never engaged. Then, you can create social media advertisements and target them to land in front of these users, giving them another opportunity to engage further and learn more.

Being on social media is already table stakes for financial institutions as consumers want to connect predominantly online. That won’t change, and in fact, digital transformation in financial services is likely to accelerate even faster and further into the future. To stay competitive, financial institutions today need to take their social media marketing to the next level. Marketers must shift their focus toward strategies that drive measurable results toward the organization’s bottom line. Then, they must consider how those strategies can extend beyond the point of conversion to continue nurturing relationships and driving more business for the brand. To find out more about how Denim Social can help, sign up for a personalized demo today.

Vanity metrics such as comments, likes and shares on social media are valuable to track. How often followers engage with your bank is a great indicator of how well your brand-building strategy is performing. However, these metrics do not do much to show the concrete return on investment that marketers need to make the case for further investment in social media marketing infrastructure.

What many bank leaders do not yet realize is that social media can be much more than just a brand-building tool. When used strategically, it can also drive direct business results. By tracking and increasing customer conversion metrics, marketers can show bank leaders how social media can work to bring in quantifiable returns.

Measure the impact of your content first

If you are ready to take your social media marketing strategy to the next level and start driving results, consider your content first. Your followers on social media need a reason to click. A post could highlight a few points from a guidebook for first-time homebuyers and then link to the full guidebook on your website or a blog post with more information, for instance. To understand how this content plays into your customer conversion metrics, consider the exit rate.

Resources such as Google Analytics can show you the exit rate, among other important metrics, for each page on your website. The exit rate on a given piece of on-site content will show you whether your content is engaging customers to move deeper into your website to explore other posts, products or services. If you find that people are exiting at a high rate from a blog post without visiting any other pages on your website, that’s a good indication they are not finding the information they need in order to move toward a conversion.

Examine the exit rates for each piece of on-site content you link to from your social media posts. Ask yourself what makes those with the lowest exit rates perform well. Perhaps it’s a strong call to action or well-placed link that keeps them exploring your website, for instance. Replicate these practices across all content you’re sharing on social media to drive down exit rates and keep your traffic pipeline full of customers who are interested and moving toward conversions.

Then guide users further down the conversion funnel

When it comes to tracking metrics for on-site content, take a specific look at landing pages. These are the pages you want to lead social media viewers back to from social media. If a social post aims to get readers interested in a guidebook, for instance, the post can link to a landing page that will prompt the visitor to input a name and email address into a form to receive the content download. This way, users get valuable content, and your sales team gets the contact information for primed leads. To measure how often users are actually downloading the content, track form completion rates.

The form completion rate on landing pages is one of the most telling customer conversion metrics because it shows you how many viewers have deemed your content, products, and services valuable enough to exchange their contact information and opt into additional marketing touchpoints, such as email newsletters, phone calls, or appointments. Tracking form completion metrics provides a high-level signal as to whether your social and on-site pieces of content have moved the needle on a viewer’s intent to buy.

Get in front of the right audiences with a targeting strategy

Beyond landing pages, another way to take your social media marketing strategy to the next level is with paid social media advertisements. Paid ads can help you target your messaging to specific audience segments who will find the most value in your content. For example, you could target social media posts that promote the first-time homebuyers’ guidebook to young adults in neighborhoods made up predominantly of rental properties. Getting such social media posts in front of the people who will find the most value in the content will also lead to more favorable exit rates and form completion metrics on your landing pages.

To determine how well your paid social media advertising strategy is performing, consider the click-through rate, which is the percentage of viewers who click on the ad to get to your target landing page. If you notice click-through rates waning on your ads, you may need to tailor the posts to better suit your intended audiences. A/B testing can help you determine what needs to change by isolating which elements of your ads resonate and which don’t. This way, you’ll be able to determine what exactly to adjust in order to increase your social media conversion rates.

Remember that brand-building social media tactics and related vanity metrics are not all for naught. They still humanize your brand and prompt engagement. But the most powerful social media marketing strategies for financial services also include content that converts, and the best way to strengthen that part of your strategy is to track customer conversion metrics and adjust accordingly.

Designing and implementing social media strategies for financial institutions takes an investment of time, effort, and money. How can marketers tell whether the return is worth the investment?

Many financial institutions look at vanity metrics to define their success on social media. Sure, this can show you how many likes, comments, and shares a post gets, but it doesn’t do much to prove a return on your investment. If you want to see real, measurable business results that go beyond farming and tracking likes and shares, you must focus on measuring and increasing conversion rates.

Social media can be much more than just a brand-building tool for financial institutions. If you’re interested in moving to the next level of social media, take the following steps to convert leads and collect data to measure your success along the way:

1. Woo followers with trust-building social content.

The first step in driving conversions from social media is to get your audience’s attention with valuable content. Not every piece of content will drive conversions directly, but material that provides value to readers and establishes your expertise will build a solid foundation for your social media strategy.

For example, local audience members would appreciate seeing content about how your financial institution is involved in the community. This is important content to share, but it doesn’t necessarily convert. Content that highlights your expertise and gets audiences interested in your services, however, is also an important part of your content foundation — and that material can provide a more direct line to conversion. A guidebook for first-time homebuyers, for instance, could spark a conversation between a follower and a loan officer.

The key is to encourage your employees to share such content on their own social media accounts. Audiences will be twice as likely to click on a post shared by an employee than by the larger brand profile as they’ll relate more to a human face than a big brand. When employees become brand ambassadors on social media, they set a stronger foundation for trust and relationship-building down the line.

2. Lead audiences to the next step in the digital journey with landing pages.

Next, your social media strategy should go beyond catching interest to leading readers back to your website for further engagement.

Build website landing pages to house the valuable content your associates highlight in their posts. For example, an employees’ social post could list one or two first steps in a guidebook for first-time homebuyers, then offer a link to the landing page to learn more. Once readers follow the link and land on your website, they can fill out a form with their name and email and get the guidebook download in return.

Tools exist to help even marketers with no website-building experience craft landing pages with ease. You’ll want to create one for each of your target audiences for a targeted approach. For example, you may want to reach young adults with the homebuying guidebook and older ones with a retirement planning one. The intent is to offer readers valuable, relevant content they want and need — and to gather their information in the process. That way, the sales team can reach out to engage leads who have already demonstrated interest and seen value from your brand.

3. Bring paid advertising into the fold to land in front of the right people.

You can’t have an effective social media strategy without a foundation of organic social media, but you also can’t really grow your brand without investing in paid ads. Social platforms have changed their algorithms over the years to limit the visibility of branded posts. Paid social media advertising, however, allows you to target posts to specific audience segments and cut through the noise to deliver content that feels relevant and personalized. For example, by putting some money behind your associates’ posts about the first-time homebuyer guide, you could ensure that those posts reach young adults in the area.

What’s more, you can retarget leads with paid social media advertising. If someone clicked a link from a social post to navigate to your landing page, downloaded the guidebook, but never responded to a follow-up email from the sales team, you could get ads in front of them on social to offer more valuable material and keep your brand top of mind. It can help you reengage audiences in the digital journey to get them one step closer to conversion.

Social media has changed considerably in the past 10 years. Make no mistake: It’s still an incredibly important tool to have in your marketing stack. You just need to reframe your social media strategy so you can more plainly tell what’s working and why. By balancing your vanity and conversion metrics, as well as the processes used to bump them up, you’ll be well on your way to winning more customers.

Building a social media presence is a powerful effort...when you have the right tools!

All too often, financial institutions jump into social media without adequate planning and are disappointed when customers and members don't engage. Making social media work for your bank or credit union can be extremely powerful when you are properly equipped.

Check out this webinar featuring Douglas Wilber, CEO of Denim Social, and Ted Brown, CEO of Digital Onboarding and learn the social media best practices playbook for regulated financial institutions, as well as best tips to ensure that your social media efforts generate new account openings and profitable, long-term relationships.

Many financial services marketers view social media marketing strategies in two separate buckets: organic versus paid social media. Marketers who adopted social media strategies years ago likely saw great achievement from organic posts. Way back when, brands certainly could create viral posts with just high-quality, valuable content, but the changing algorithms on social media platforms mean that strategy is no longer viable today. As platforms have made branded content less visible, organic social media strategies have become less and less effective on their own.

That’s where paid social media marketing comes in. With paid ads come many options for targeting specific audiences and getting in front of the right people at exactly the right time on social media. Many financial services marketers, however, have not yet realized the loss in organic impact. Others have felt too overwhelmed by all the options of paid advertising. With no idea where to start, many have not yet started paid strategies at all. Or those who've started have simply tacked on some paid ads without fully considering how it can work in tandem with organic to achieve greater visibility, higher conversion rates, and ultimately better customer relationships.

It’s time for financial services marketers to drop the “organic versus paid social media” mindset and instead realize that the social media strategies with the most impact are a strategic combination of the two. Organic and paid are complementary, not competitive. Organic social media builds your brand’s online presence and establishes your reputation, and paid helps your content break through the noise and get in front of the right audiences.

To combine paid and organic for the highest-impact social media strategy, follow these steps:

1. Supercharge your organic strategy with your employees.

Employees are your ticket for creating a strong organic foundation on social media. Not only do branded posts from employees drive higher reach and engagement, but they also help build trust and humanize the brand.

Employees should focus on building relationships without an agenda by sharing valuable content and engaging in helpful ways rather than promoting products and services. Of course, financial service marketers must ensure that every employee post and engagement is compliant and within brand guidelines. Monitoring every employees’ activity on social media can sound like a tall order, but the right social media management tools can make oversight at scale much simpler. Denim Social, for example, offers automated approval workflows so marketers and compliance teams can be sure no post ever goes live without proper sign-off.

2. Create budget space for paid advertising.

For organizations that have long been aboard the organic-only train, focusing more time and resources into paid strategies might take some internal advocacy. To start, marketers need to dispel the idea among leadership teams that organic-only strategies should be successful. The truth is, platforms change regularly and make it increasingly difficult to get in front of the right people. In today’s social media marketing landscape, you simply need paid effort to break through.

Financial services leaders likely already understand the value in social for humanizing the brand and building relationships, especially if organic strategies showed a lot of promise in the early days of social media marketing. Now, it’s up to marketers to do their research and educate their teams on how the landscape has changed. Investing in paid social media is imperative for financial institutions that want to continue seeing returns on their social media efforts.

3. Use software to scale paid efforts.

Running multiple paid social media campaigns from the brand, branch, and associate levels is a valuable strategy, but it can certainly be overwhelming. It’s simply more data than any one person, or any small team, can keep track of.

Fortunately, tools exist to help streamline the process. The Denim Social platform offers a proprietary social media advertising manager tool that can optimize your ads across different platforms. It also compiles campaign information into one centralized location, so it’s easy to see and manage your brand, locations, and advisors all from one place. What’s more, the platform offers advanced targeting capabilities with audience features that enable you to build different segments based on digital and social behaviors for each campaign. For example, you could target a “Mortgage 101” campaign to customers who have frequently viewed content for first-time homebuyers.

4. Think beyond the ad.

So you’ve set a strong organic social media foundation, and you’ve taken paid social media live. What happens now? Focus on driving conversions by using organic posts and ads to lead audiences to specific destinations. Create landing pages on your website and link to them from branded social posts.

Landing pages can hold valuable content for each social media campaign you’re working on. In the mortgage example above, for instance, your landing page could house a step-by-step guide to securing your first mortgage. When visitors come to that landing page, they should be prompted to enter their name and email address into a form field to receive the guide download. That way, visitors get valuable content specific to their needs, and your sales team has all the information they need for further outreach.

When you’re running multiple campaigns, creating a landing page for each one can seem like an overwhelming amount of work, especially considering that most financial services marketers probably don’t have deep experience building and designing web pages. Again, the right tools can make it easy. Denim’s software allows marketers to create customized landing pages at scale with zero web design experience required. The platform allows users to simply drag and drop elements into premade templates for each campaign.

Remember: The question is not, “Should we have an organic social media strategy or a paid one?” It’s time to ask instead, “How can we combine organic social media with paid advertising to increase the impact of our strategy?” Get in touch with Denim Social today to see how our social media management tools can help.

GUIDES

Want to Up Your Twitter Game? Follow These 4 Best Practices

These days, Twitter seems to be dominated by journalists, celebrities, social justice warriors, and politicians. But this platform has always been a key tool for businesses trying to connect with their customers — and the banking industry is no exception.

Twitter allows banks and other financial institutions to engage with audiences in real time. You can share quick tips, gather feedback, and stay on top of financial trends and your competition. Tweets are appealing because they're conversational and digestible, and, frankly, you can't afford to stay off Twitter. According to 2018 data from Statista, Twitter hosts 326 million active users per month. It's particularly popular among the younger crowd: 18- to 24-year-old Americans are more likely to use the platform than even those in their mid- to late-20s.

You can accomplish a lot in 280 characters if you use them wisely (and keep compliance in mind), but that doesn't mean Twitter engagement will be an easy win. Here are four of the most important Twitter tips to keep in mind.

1. Unleash your inner newscaster.

For many people, Twitter serves as a main news source. What does that mean for your bank? Simply put, Twitter is a wonderful vessel for sharing quick, punchy news briefs. Share news that's related to the services you offer and serves the demographic you're trying to reach. This might mean updates to your business or broader financial news that could impact your customer base.

image (3)

If your full story can't be conveyed in one tweet or it continues to develop over time, you can start a tweet thread. This way, you can still keep individual tweets concise without sacrificing important bits of the story. Another quick tip: When linking to in-depth articles in your tweets, use a link shortener and tracker (at Gremlin, we use Brev.is) so you can track click-through rates and engagement. Armed with this information, you can continue to refine your Twitter strategy — a critical step in any social media for banks.

2. Put a hashtag on it.

If you run a blog, you likely already understand the importance of search engine optimization. Hashtags are similarly important: They make it easier for users to find your content, and according to data from TrackMaven, tweets that include at least one hashtag boast engagement rates around 13 percent.

image (2)

That doesn't mean more hashtags equal more engagement, though. TrackMaven also discovered that as the number of hashtags per tweet increases, engagement goes down. It's best to hover around one to two hashtags per tweet. Start by tracking a few hashtags relevant to your industry — #retirementplanning or #financialwellness, for instance — then see which ones perform the best among your audience and increase follower count. Think about commonly searched topics and research corresponding hashtags. The more searchable your tweets are, the better.

3. Lower the barrier to digest.

Twitter started as a text-driven platform, but today's serial scrollers want to consume image-based content. Tweets that include at least one image are 34 percent more likely to be retweeted than those without them, and video-based tweets get six-plus times more retweets. It makes sense: Images communicate ideas quickly, add context, and help users make sense of a variety of topics. When you also consider that people are more likely to remember information when it's communicated via video, including visuals becomes a no-brainer.

image (1)

Visuals can also help drive Twitter shares for your on-site content, such as blog posts. BuzzSumo found that posts with images placed every 75 to 100 words received double the shares on social media than articles with fewer images. So whether it's an engaging photo, infographic, or video, include visuals wherever they make sense.

4. Time your tweets.

Driving continued engagement on Twitter requires just that: continuous engagement. So it's not enough to tweet sporadically. After analyzing 11,000 tweets from top brands, Social Bakers found tweeting three times per day garnered the most engagement.

That said, engagement drops off when companies tweet too much. According to Track Social, when companies tweet more than five times per day, the response per tweet drops off significantly. At the end of the day, gauge what works with your followers and adjust as necessary. Time of day is also important. Aim to tweet during commuting hours — when users are 181 percent more likely to be on Twitter. Lunch hour is another peak time worth exploring.

Twitter might seem better suited to social celebrities and outspoken politicians, but it's one of the most important social media platforms for your bank. If you find your voice, keep content digestible, and stay committed to what your followers want, Twitter will serve you well.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Download Guide
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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

    Want to Up Your Twitter Game? Follow These 4 Best Practices

    These days, Twitter seems to be dominated by journalists, celebrities, social justice warriors, and politicians. But this platform has always been a key tool for businesses trying to connect with their customers — and the banking industry is no exception.

    Twitter allows banks and other financial institutions to engage with audiences in real time. You can share quick tips, gather feedback, and stay on top of financial trends and your competition. Tweets are appealing because they're conversational and digestible, and, frankly, you can't afford to stay off Twitter. According to 2018 data from Statista, Twitter hosts 326 million active users per month. It's particularly popular among the younger crowd: 18- to 24-year-old Americans are more likely to use the platform than even those in their mid- to late-20s.

    You can accomplish a lot in 280 characters if you use them wisely (and keep compliance in mind), but that doesn't mean Twitter engagement will be an easy win. Here are four of the most important Twitter tips to keep in mind.

    1. Unleash your inner newscaster.

    For many people, Twitter serves as a main news source. What does that mean for your bank? Simply put, Twitter is a wonderful vessel for sharing quick, punchy news briefs. Share news that's related to the services you offer and serves the demographic you're trying to reach. This might mean updates to your business or broader financial news that could impact your customer base.

    image (3)

    If your full story can't be conveyed in one tweet or it continues to develop over time, you can start a tweet thread. This way, you can still keep individual tweets concise without sacrificing important bits of the story. Another quick tip: When linking to in-depth articles in your tweets, use a link shortener and tracker (at Gremlin, we use Brev.is) so you can track click-through rates and engagement. Armed with this information, you can continue to refine your Twitter strategy — a critical step in any social media for banks.

    2. Put a hashtag on it.

    If you run a blog, you likely already understand the importance of search engine optimization. Hashtags are similarly important: They make it easier for users to find your content, and according to data from TrackMaven, tweets that include at least one hashtag boast engagement rates around 13 percent.

    image (2)

    That doesn't mean more hashtags equal more engagement, though. TrackMaven also discovered that as the number of hashtags per tweet increases, engagement goes down. It's best to hover around one to two hashtags per tweet. Start by tracking a few hashtags relevant to your industry — #retirementplanning or #financialwellness, for instance — then see which ones perform the best among your audience and increase follower count. Think about commonly searched topics and research corresponding hashtags. The more searchable your tweets are, the better.

    3. Lower the barrier to digest.

    Twitter started as a text-driven platform, but today's serial scrollers want to consume image-based content. Tweets that include at least one image are 34 percent more likely to be retweeted than those without them, and video-based tweets get six-plus times more retweets. It makes sense: Images communicate ideas quickly, add context, and help users make sense of a variety of topics. When you also consider that people are more likely to remember information when it's communicated via video, including visuals becomes a no-brainer.

    image (1)

    Visuals can also help drive Twitter shares for your on-site content, such as blog posts. BuzzSumo found that posts with images placed every 75 to 100 words received double the shares on social media than articles with fewer images. So whether it's an engaging photo, infographic, or video, include visuals wherever they make sense.

    4. Time your tweets.

    Driving continued engagement on Twitter requires just that: continuous engagement. So it's not enough to tweet sporadically. After analyzing 11,000 tweets from top brands, Social Bakers found tweeting three times per day garnered the most engagement.

    That said, engagement drops off when companies tweet too much. According to Track Social, when companies tweet more than five times per day, the response per tweet drops off significantly. At the end of the day, gauge what works with your followers and adjust as necessary. Time of day is also important. Aim to tweet during commuting hours — when users are 181 percent more likely to be on Twitter. Lunch hour is another peak time worth exploring.

    Twitter might seem better suited to social celebrities and outspoken politicians, but it's one of the most important social media platforms for your bank. If you find your voice, keep content digestible, and stay committed to what your followers want, Twitter will serve you well.

    Download the Guide

    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Download Guide
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    Download Guide

    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
    January 10, 2019

    Want to Up Your Twitter Game? Follow These 4 Best Practices

    These days, Twitter seems to be dominated by journalists, celebrities, social justice warriors, and politicians. But this platform has always been a key tool for businesses trying to connect with their customers — and the banking industry is no exception.

    Twitter allows banks and other financial institutions to engage with audiences in real time. You can share quick tips, gather feedback, and stay on top of financial trends and your competition. Tweets are appealing because they're conversational and digestible, and, frankly, you can't afford to stay off Twitter. According to 2018 data from Statista, Twitter hosts 326 million active users per month. It's particularly popular among the younger crowd: 18- to 24-year-old Americans are more likely to use the platform than even those in their mid- to late-20s.

    You can accomplish a lot in 280 characters if you use them wisely (and keep compliance in mind), but that doesn't mean Twitter engagement will be an easy win. Here are four of the most important Twitter tips to keep in mind.

    1. Unleash your inner newscaster.

    For many people, Twitter serves as a main news source. What does that mean for your bank? Simply put, Twitter is a wonderful vessel for sharing quick, punchy news briefs. Share news that's related to the services you offer and serves the demographic you're trying to reach. This might mean updates to your business or broader financial news that could impact your customer base.

    image (3)

    If your full story can't be conveyed in one tweet or it continues to develop over time, you can start a tweet thread. This way, you can still keep individual tweets concise without sacrificing important bits of the story. Another quick tip: When linking to in-depth articles in your tweets, use a link shortener and tracker (at Gremlin, we use Brev.is) so you can track click-through rates and engagement. Armed with this information, you can continue to refine your Twitter strategy — a critical step in any social media for banks.

    2. Put a hashtag on it.

    If you run a blog, you likely already understand the importance of search engine optimization. Hashtags are similarly important: They make it easier for users to find your content, and according to data from TrackMaven, tweets that include at least one hashtag boast engagement rates around 13 percent.

    image (2)

    That doesn't mean more hashtags equal more engagement, though. TrackMaven also discovered that as the number of hashtags per tweet increases, engagement goes down. It's best to hover around one to two hashtags per tweet. Start by tracking a few hashtags relevant to your industry — #retirementplanning or #financialwellness, for instance — then see which ones perform the best among your audience and increase follower count. Think about commonly searched topics and research corresponding hashtags. The more searchable your tweets are, the better.

    3. Lower the barrier to digest.

    Twitter started as a text-driven platform, but today's serial scrollers want to consume image-based content. Tweets that include at least one image are 34 percent more likely to be retweeted than those without them, and video-based tweets get six-plus times more retweets. It makes sense: Images communicate ideas quickly, add context, and help users make sense of a variety of topics. When you also consider that people are more likely to remember information when it's communicated via video, including visuals becomes a no-brainer.

    image (1)

    Visuals can also help drive Twitter shares for your on-site content, such as blog posts. BuzzSumo found that posts with images placed every 75 to 100 words received double the shares on social media than articles with fewer images. So whether it's an engaging photo, infographic, or video, include visuals wherever they make sense.

    4. Time your tweets.

    Driving continued engagement on Twitter requires just that: continuous engagement. So it's not enough to tweet sporadically. After analyzing 11,000 tweets from top brands, Social Bakers found tweeting three times per day garnered the most engagement.

    That said, engagement drops off when companies tweet too much. According to Track Social, when companies tweet more than five times per day, the response per tweet drops off significantly. At the end of the day, gauge what works with your followers and adjust as necessary. Time of day is also important. Aim to tweet during commuting hours — when users are 181 percent more likely to be on Twitter. Lunch hour is another peak time worth exploring.

    Twitter might seem better suited to social celebrities and outspoken politicians, but it's one of the most important social media platforms for your bank. If you find your voice, keep content digestible, and stay committed to what your followers want, Twitter will serve you well.

    Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest sent to your inbox.
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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.

    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.

    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 Video: 1920 x 1080px

    The optimal length for a Facebook video is two minutes and the maximum file size 10gb.

    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.

    LinkedIn Link Video: 4096 x 2304px

    The optimal video length for LinkedIn is 30-90 seconds and the maximum file size is 5gb.

    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.

    Twitter video: 1280 x 720px (recommended)

    The optimal video length for Twitter is 15 seconds and the maximum file size is 512mb.

    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 Video: 1080 x 1080px

    The optimal length for an Instagram video is 30 seconds and the max file size is 15mb.

    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!

    RESOURCES

    VISION
    January 10, 2019

    Want to Up Your Twitter Game? Follow These 4 Best Practices

    These days, Twitter seems to be dominated by journalists, celebrities, social justice warriors, and politicians. But this platform has always been a key tool for businesses trying to connect with their customers — and the banking industry is no exception.

    Twitter allows banks and other financial institutions to engage with audiences in real time. You can share quick tips, gather feedback, and stay on top of financial trends and your competition. Tweets are appealing because they're conversational and digestible, and, frankly, you can't afford to stay off Twitter. According to 2018 data from Statista, Twitter hosts 326 million active users per month. It's particularly popular among the younger crowd: 18- to 24-year-old Americans are more likely to use the platform than even those in their mid- to late-20s.

    You can accomplish a lot in 280 characters if you use them wisely (and keep compliance in mind), but that doesn't mean Twitter engagement will be an easy win. Here are four of the most important Twitter tips to keep in mind.

    1. Unleash your inner newscaster.

    For many people, Twitter serves as a main news source. What does that mean for your bank? Simply put, Twitter is a wonderful vessel for sharing quick, punchy news briefs. Share news that's related to the services you offer and serves the demographic you're trying to reach. This might mean updates to your business or broader financial news that could impact your customer base.

    image (3)

    If your full story can't be conveyed in one tweet or it continues to develop over time, you can start a tweet thread. This way, you can still keep individual tweets concise without sacrificing important bits of the story. Another quick tip: When linking to in-depth articles in your tweets, use a link shortener and tracker (at Gremlin, we use Brev.is) so you can track click-through rates and engagement. Armed with this information, you can continue to refine your Twitter strategy — a critical step in any social media for banks.

    2. Put a hashtag on it.

    If you run a blog, you likely already understand the importance of search engine optimization. Hashtags are similarly important: They make it easier for users to find your content, and according to data from TrackMaven, tweets that include at least one hashtag boast engagement rates around 13 percent.

    image (2)

    That doesn't mean more hashtags equal more engagement, though. TrackMaven also discovered that as the number of hashtags per tweet increases, engagement goes down. It's best to hover around one to two hashtags per tweet. Start by tracking a few hashtags relevant to your industry — #retirementplanning or #financialwellness, for instance — then see which ones perform the best among your audience and increase follower count. Think about commonly searched topics and research corresponding hashtags. The more searchable your tweets are, the better.

    3. Lower the barrier to digest.

    Twitter started as a text-driven platform, but today's serial scrollers want to consume image-based content. Tweets that include at least one image are 34 percent more likely to be retweeted than those without them, and video-based tweets get six-plus times more retweets. It makes sense: Images communicate ideas quickly, add context, and help users make sense of a variety of topics. When you also consider that people are more likely to remember information when it's communicated via video, including visuals becomes a no-brainer.

    image (1)

    Visuals can also help drive Twitter shares for your on-site content, such as blog posts. BuzzSumo found that posts with images placed every 75 to 100 words received double the shares on social media than articles with fewer images. So whether it's an engaging photo, infographic, or video, include visuals wherever they make sense.

    4. Time your tweets.

    Driving continued engagement on Twitter requires just that: continuous engagement. So it's not enough to tweet sporadically. After analyzing 11,000 tweets from top brands, Social Bakers found tweeting three times per day garnered the most engagement.

    That said, engagement drops off when companies tweet too much. According to Track Social, when companies tweet more than five times per day, the response per tweet drops off significantly. At the end of the day, gauge what works with your followers and adjust as necessary. Time of day is also important. Aim to tweet during commuting hours — when users are 181 percent more likely to be on Twitter. Lunch hour is another peak time worth exploring.

    Twitter might seem better suited to social celebrities and outspoken politicians, but it's one of the most important social media platforms for your bank. If you find your voice, keep content digestible, and stay committed to what your followers want, Twitter will serve you well.

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    SIMILAR POSTS:

    The past year highlighted the growing importance of digital customer experiences in the financial services industry as COVID-19 continued to accelerate the pace of digitization. Unable to connect in person, consumers turned to digital tools. One survey conducted between late March and early May 2020 reported that between 46% and 51% of adults1 in the United States increased social media use since the start of the pandemic. Facebook also reported in late March 2020 that total messaging had increased more than 50%2 in just a month.

    While many organizations are welcoming clients back into the branch for in-person service and conversations, it will still be wise for financial institutions not to lose focus on the digital initiatives to put in place during the pandemic.

    According to a recent McKinsey & Co. study, consumer trends toward more digital experiences aren’t likely to revert — so neither should your marketing and communications strategies. In fact, up to 20% of bank customers3 expect their use of digital channels will actually increase after the crisis. The point is, while the pandemic may subside, the digital transformation in financial services is no temporary adjustment. Quite the opposite: These trends in consumer behavior are defining the future of retail banking.

    The future success of financial institutions will rely on reimagining digital strategies to focus on experiences rather than products alone. And remember, not all technology can be easily customized or implemented to meet federal requirements. Compliance is always a concern.4 Accommodating the increased emphasis on digital channels may also require some reorganization within marketing departments, which will take time to achieve.

    Personalization and human connection will be key in the post-pandemic digital world

    Relationships have always been a core aspect of success for banks. At first, this idea might seem at odds with digitization, as tech can seem largely impersonal. In the shift from product- to experience-based digital communication tactics, focus on personalization to make interactions feel genuinely helpful and relevant to each prospect.

    Consumers today demand more personalization — nearly 80% of consumers5 in one survey agreed that they were more loyal to brands that used more personalization tactics. In fact, 81% of consumers even said they would be willing to share their basic personal data for more personalized experiences in return.

    Personal digital experiences encompass the customer journey overall and include specific “routes” for specific target audiences. The journey starts when you get a customer’s attention on social media. This can happen via organic social posting, but because platforms have changed their algorithms to reduce brand visibility, paid advertising on social is often the more surefire way to land a post. When you can strategically distribute messages to the right people at the right time, you create a strong jumping-off point for a personalized journey that will lead your target audience to exactly what they need from you. It’s clear why optimizing your strategy with personalization can increase spend efficiency up to 30%6 and revenue up to 15%.

    It’s also important to remember that prospects want to hear from and engage with real people, not brand names. Posting on your brand channels is important, but it’s just the baseline social strategy. Stepping it up a notch to expand reach7 and grow engagement requires having your employees share branded content on their own channels. In an age when 69% of consumers8 make efforts to avoid advertisements, you must foster true connections by putting friendly human faces behind your brand. A humanized approach can help build trust in your employees and the brand at large.

    Balancing the personal touch with compliant messaging

    Of course, encouraging employees to post branded messaging creates more opportunities for compliance missteps. Regulatory bodies monitor social media just as they do other electronic communications, and one rogue employee post could land the brand in hot water. What’s more, a promissory post that doesn’t deliver could do more than get the brand in regulatory trouble — it could erode trust with clients and prospects. Fortunately, the tools exist to help financial institution leaders safeguard branded messaging even when it’s being shared by many different employees. Software can help build an automated approval workflow, so no employee post goes live without the proper review and sign-off from financial institution marketing and compliance teams. Leaders can also create digital libraries of preapproved content, so employees have easy access to compliant posts to share.

    Designing digital experiences for conversion

    Think of building consumers’ digital experiences as leading them down a funnel. The top of that funnel is all about awareness. This is where you pique their interest with helpful and engaging social posts. Next, lead them to the middle of the funnel, which is all about consideration. This is where you show them more about what makes your brand in particular the best one to solve their problems.

    A link to a landing page from an interest-piquing social post is a great way to take prospects from the top of the funnel to the middle (your website, where you can demonstrate your specific value.) Tailored landing pages for specific campaigns — for example, first-time homebuyers — put valuable, relevant information right in the hands of already interested prospects.

    For example, a loan officer can bring prospects into the funnel by targeting a paid ad on social media to land with people looking to secure their first mortgages. That ad should include a link to a landing page on your website for more information. The landing page should include gated resources on the subject, and viewers can put their name and email into a form to receive the download.

    When they submit their information, prospects move to the bottom of the funnel, where the sales team can continue to nurture them as leads to guide their decision-making. From landing page forms, sales teams get well-primed leads right in their hands for further conversation. They can craft engaging email drip campaigns or conduct sales calls to keep your brand top of mind for leads as they consider their options. Ultimately, the goal of building digital experiences is to lead prospects closer and closer to the bank’s ultimate sales goal: conversion.

    Landing page best practices

    When designing landing pages, a few best practices can increase the likelihood of visitors exchanging their information for your content. First, you want to make sure the content on the landing page is highly relevant and valuable to the reader. That means a broad, one-size-fits-all page won’t do. Create multiple landing pages to align with specific target audiences and goals.

    Then, remember to keep posts as simple and direct as possible to ensure the specific value offering is clear. You want readers to see as soon as possible why they need the content behind your paywall. Filling a page with too many design elements, multiple offers, images, or other clutter can distract landing page visitors from that focus.

    In today’s new digital environment, conversion is the No. 1 metric to track. Likes, comments, and retweets might be nice to have, but savvy financial institution leaders must understand precisely how social media and other personalized steps in the customer journey can help them convert prospects into clients. Even when in-person means of making connections are back on the table, customers will still want tailored digital experiences. As long as you continue putting the human element front and center, digital tools will remain valuable ways to build relationships well into the future.

    Customers expected seamless digital experience with their financial services providers even before the pandemic, but COVID-19 turned that push into a shove as social distancing guidelines restricted face-to-face interactions and online became the only place to communicate with customers.

    Over the past year, financial services marketing has changed drastically, and it’s never going back to the way it was before. Digital transformation in financial services is here to stay and will only continue accelerating. In fact, 20% of bank customers expect to use digital channels even more often after the pandemic.

    Social media is an important digital channel for financial services marketers to focus on as they learn to build and maintain customer relationships in today’s increasingly virtual world. Consumers are connecting on social media today more than ever before, and it’s up to your financial institution to meet them there.

    Social Media Marketing Strategies That Drive Results

    When designing social strategies, financial services marketers must focus on the right goals to ensure their time, effort, and money pays off. Setting these goals will actually require a bit of a shift in the traditional mindset around social media. Bank leaders and even marketers today still think of social media as primarily a brand-building tool — a means to get your name out there, and not much more.

    But social media can serve a much greater purpose for your institution than brand building alone. Aim beyond simple vanity metrics such as likes and shares with your social media marketing goals, and focus on driving real, measurable business results. With some next-level social media marketing strategies, it is possible to directly impact the bottom line by driving conversions on social.

    To turn viewers into leads and leads into customers, follow these social media strategies that convert:

    1. Build trust with valuable content.

    Content has always been the top consideration when it comes to social media marketing strategies. Social media is a convenient way for your brand to share valuable, engaging material and resources with customers to show your value as a helpful partner right away. This value sets a foundation of trust from which strong customer relationships can grow in the future.

    The people who should lay that foundation are employees themselves. This is because people want to communicate with and connect better to other humans — rather than big brand names alone. It’s no surprise that when employees share branded posts to their own networks — a strategy called social selling — they can garner twice as much engagement as brand posts. Of course, content in itself won’t convert customers — even if your employees are sharing it themselves. But humanizing the brand in this way will help viewers feel more comfortable and excited to engage further with employees to learn what your brand has to offer.

    It’s understandable if thinking of letting each of your organization’s employees post brand-related content wherever and whenever they choose on social media makes you a bit apprehensive. Regulatory guidelines around electronic communication are no joke, and every financial services provider must abide by them, lest they end up in serious trouble. The good news, however, is that effective social selling strategies can be compliant, and it doesn’t have to mean loads of additional work for compliance officers or marketers. Social media management tools like Denim Social’s platform allow you to set automated workflows and create libraries of preapproved content that make it easy to ensure every employee post, comment, and engagement on social media stays within the bounds.

    2. Bring prospects closer with landing pages.

    So if humanizing and engaging social posts alone won’t convert leads, what will? Part of that answer lies in landing pages. When employees can share links to landing pages in their social media posts, they’re essentially providing a bridge for customers to cross from point A, a social post that piques their interest, to point B, your brand’s website, where they can engage further.

    Landing pages should include informative titles that show what the reader will get from the content there right away. Then, they should include a form field where visitors can input their names and email addresses in return for the content advertised in the social post and in the introductory copy on the landing page. When a visitor inputs their information, they should receive a download of the content, and your sales team can get their contact information right in their hands.

    To imagine this ecosystem in practice, first imagine a loan officer at your institution is interested in working with first-time homebuyers. Your marketing team creates a whitepaper that includes all of the information a first-time homebuyer needs to know about securing their first mortgage. Then, your marketing team builds a landing page that gates that whitepaper behind a contact form field. The loan officer posts one of the best tips from the guide on social media and prompts anyone who wants more information to click the link to learn more. Those who click the link go to the landing page, exchange their information for the resource, and get valuable information in return. Armed with their email addresses, your sales team can then reach out to let them know the loan officer is ready to set up a meeting as soon as they’re ready to talk about getting a mortgage.

    Now, any marketers who read that and shuddered at the thought of building a website page all on their own should know that Denim Social’s landing page builder requires zero coding or web design experience. Marketers can simply drag and drop elements to create many different landing pages for multiple campaigns with ease.

    3. Allocate some of your marketing budget toward paid ads.

    Getting your employees up and running on social media and giving them landing pages to guide prospects along the digital journey with your brand is all necessary for getting started, but the way social platforms have advanced their algorithms to limit the visibility of branded content today means you need to invest in paid social media advertising if you want to see a real impact from that strategy.

    Organic posts simply don’t cut through the noise on social media any longer. Sure, they serve a useful purpose of setting a foundation of expertise and value from your bankers, but to get in front of more consumers beyond the followers in their networks, and to deliver the kind of relevant and personalized content that consumers want most today, you need to invest in paid advertising.

    Of course, the biggest appeal of organic social media marketing is that it’s totally free, right? Well, paid advertising on social media won’t take up too much room in your budget, either, and the return you’ll see on your investment will be well worth the initial expenses. Paid ads allow you to target specific audiences at exactly the right time with exactly the right content. And Denim Social’s proprietary social media advertising manager makes it easy for financial services marketers to organize and deploy paid campaigns across different platforms and to different audience segments. Essentially, advanced targeting capabilities ensure that no effort you or your employees put into your social media marketing efforts is wasted on the wrong audiences.

    Next-Level Social Media Also Means Thinking Beyond Conversion

    We’ve put a lot of weight into the conversion argument here to tell you that conversions should actually not be your end goal — but that’s the truth. It’s important to first shift your institution's understanding of what social media can do — to take it beyond a brand-building tool and into a tool that drives direct results — but you can and should also use social media after prospects become customers to maintain and strengthen your relationships over time.

    Part of this relationship-building also means opening up more opportunities for cross-selling and upselling, as bankers can constantly be looking for new ways to add value to their customer relationships. When you consider what social media marketing strategies should entail beyond the point of conversion, first remember that employees are still key. Especially after customers have had a chance to engage with one or two of your associates, they’ll appreciate seeing familiar faces in their feeds sharing valuable content that resonates.

    Valuable Content Is Important Post-Conversion, Too

    Valuable, helpful material is your best tool for capitalizing on cross- or upselling opportunities with current customers. For example, if a customer wants to open a new joint savings account to save for a down payment on a house, you now know they’re interested in becoming homebuyers, perhaps for the first time.

    Once they have their new account, a loan officer can reach out with a link to a landing page that houses a first-time mortgage 101 guidebook. The guidebook can include a call-to-action prompting readers to get in touch with a loan officer to get the process started.

    Retargeting Can Help You Upsell With Ease

    Another valuable social media tactic in this process is called retargeting. This means landing new paid ads in front of people who have already shown interest in your content but who have dropped out of the social media conversion funnel at some point and never reached conversion — whether they were just prospects looking into your brand or current customers looking to engage in further services.

    Denim Social’s audiences tool allows you to segment such viewers into categories who have viewed but dropped off of certain pages. For example, you could create an audience segment of people who have viewed your savings account page but never engaged and those who have viewed your mortgage 101 guidebook page but never engaged. Then, you can create social media advertisements and target them to land in front of these users, giving them another opportunity to engage further and learn more.

    Being on social media is already table stakes for financial institutions as consumers want to connect predominantly online. That won’t change, and in fact, digital transformation in financial services is likely to accelerate even faster and further into the future. To stay competitive, financial institutions today need to take their social media marketing to the next level. Marketers must shift their focus toward strategies that drive measurable results toward the organization’s bottom line. Then, they must consider how those strategies can extend beyond the point of conversion to continue nurturing relationships and driving more business for the brand. To find out more about how Denim Social can help, sign up for a personalized demo today.

    Vanity metrics such as comments, likes and shares on social media are valuable to track. How often followers engage with your bank is a great indicator of how well your brand-building strategy is performing. However, these metrics do not do much to show the concrete return on investment that marketers need to make the case for further investment in social media marketing infrastructure.

    What many bank leaders do not yet realize is that social media can be much more than just a brand-building tool. When used strategically, it can also drive direct business results. By tracking and increasing customer conversion metrics, marketers can show bank leaders how social media can work to bring in quantifiable returns.

    Measure the impact of your content first

    If you are ready to take your social media marketing strategy to the next level and start driving results, consider your content first. Your followers on social media need a reason to click. A post could highlight a few points from a guidebook for first-time homebuyers and then link to the full guidebook on your website or a blog post with more information, for instance. To understand how this content plays into your customer conversion metrics, consider the exit rate.

    Resources such as Google Analytics can show you the exit rate, among other important metrics, for each page on your website. The exit rate on a given piece of on-site content will show you whether your content is engaging customers to move deeper into your website to explore other posts, products or services. If you find that people are exiting at a high rate from a blog post without visiting any other pages on your website, that’s a good indication they are not finding the information they need in order to move toward a conversion.

    Examine the exit rates for each piece of on-site content you link to from your social media posts. Ask yourself what makes those with the lowest exit rates perform well. Perhaps it’s a strong call to action or well-placed link that keeps them exploring your website, for instance. Replicate these practices across all content you’re sharing on social media to drive down exit rates and keep your traffic pipeline full of customers who are interested and moving toward conversions.

    Then guide users further down the conversion funnel

    When it comes to tracking metrics for on-site content, take a specific look at landing pages. These are the pages you want to lead social media viewers back to from social media. If a social post aims to get readers interested in a guidebook, for instance, the post can link to a landing page that will prompt the visitor to input a name and email address into a form to receive the content download. This way, users get valuable content, and your sales team gets the contact information for primed leads. To measure how often users are actually downloading the content, track form completion rates.

    The form completion rate on landing pages is one of the most telling customer conversion metrics because it shows you how many viewers have deemed your content, products, and services valuable enough to exchange their contact information and opt into additional marketing touchpoints, such as email newsletters, phone calls, or appointments. Tracking form completion metrics provides a high-level signal as to whether your social and on-site pieces of content have moved the needle on a viewer’s intent to buy.

    Get in front of the right audiences with a targeting strategy

    Beyond landing pages, another way to take your social media marketing strategy to the next level is with paid social media advertisements. Paid ads can help you target your messaging to specific audience segments who will find the most value in your content. For example, you could target social media posts that promote the first-time homebuyers’ guidebook to young adults in neighborhoods made up predominantly of rental properties. Getting such social media posts in front of the people who will find the most value in the content will also lead to more favorable exit rates and form completion metrics on your landing pages.

    To determine how well your paid social media advertising strategy is performing, consider the click-through rate, which is the percentage of viewers who click on the ad to get to your target landing page. If you notice click-through rates waning on your ads, you may need to tailor the posts to better suit your intended audiences. A/B testing can help you determine what needs to change by isolating which elements of your ads resonate and which don’t. This way, you’ll be able to determine what exactly to adjust in order to increase your social media conversion rates.

    Remember that brand-building social media tactics and related vanity metrics are not all for naught. They still humanize your brand and prompt engagement. But the most powerful social media marketing strategies for financial services also include content that converts, and the best way to strengthen that part of your strategy is to track customer conversion metrics and adjust accordingly.

    Designing and implementing social media strategies for financial institutions takes an investment of time, effort, and money. How can marketers tell whether the return is worth the investment?

    Many financial institutions look at vanity metrics to define their success on social media. Sure, this can show you how many likes, comments, and shares a post gets, but it doesn’t do much to prove a return on your investment. If you want to see real, measurable business results that go beyond farming and tracking likes and shares, you must focus on measuring and increasing conversion rates.

    Social media can be much more than just a brand-building tool for financial institutions. If you’re interested in moving to the next level of social media, take the following steps to convert leads and collect data to measure your success along the way:

    1. Woo followers with trust-building social content.

    The first step in driving conversions from social media is to get your audience’s attention with valuable content. Not every piece of content will drive conversions directly, but material that provides value to readers and establishes your expertise will build a solid foundation for your social media strategy.

    For example, local audience members would appreciate seeing content about how your financial institution is involved in the community. This is important content to share, but it doesn’t necessarily convert. Content that highlights your expertise and gets audiences interested in your services, however, is also an important part of your content foundation — and that material can provide a more direct line to conversion. A guidebook for first-time homebuyers, for instance, could spark a conversation between a follower and a loan officer.

    The key is to encourage your employees to share such content on their own social media accounts. Audiences will be twice as likely to click on a post shared by an employee than by the larger brand profile as they’ll relate more to a human face than a big brand. When employees become brand ambassadors on social media, they set a stronger foundation for trust and relationship-building down the line.

    2. Lead audiences to the next step in the digital journey with landing pages.

    Next, your social media strategy should go beyond catching interest to leading readers back to your website for further engagement.

    Build website landing pages to house the valuable content your associates highlight in their posts. For example, an employees’ social post could list one or two first steps in a guidebook for first-time homebuyers, then offer a link to the landing page to learn more. Once readers follow the link and land on your website, they can fill out a form with their name and email and get the guidebook download in return.

    Tools exist to help even marketers with no website-building experience craft landing pages with ease. You’ll want to create one for each of your target audiences for a targeted approach. For example, you may want to reach young adults with the homebuying guidebook and older ones with a retirement planning one. The intent is to offer readers valuable, relevant content they want and need — and to gather their information in the process. That way, the sales team can reach out to engage leads who have already demonstrated interest and seen value from your brand.

    3. Bring paid advertising into the fold to land in front of the right people.

    You can’t have an effective social media strategy without a foundation of organic social media, but you also can’t really grow your brand without investing in paid ads. Social platforms have changed their algorithms over the years to limit the visibility of branded posts. Paid social media advertising, however, allows you to target posts to specific audience segments and cut through the noise to deliver content that feels relevant and personalized. For example, by putting some money behind your associates’ posts about the first-time homebuyer guide, you could ensure that those posts reach young adults in the area.

    What’s more, you can retarget leads with paid social media advertising. If someone clicked a link from a social post to navigate to your landing page, downloaded the guidebook, but never responded to a follow-up email from the sales team, you could get ads in front of them on social to offer more valuable material and keep your brand top of mind. It can help you reengage audiences in the digital journey to get them one step closer to conversion.

    Social media has changed considerably in the past 10 years. Make no mistake: It’s still an incredibly important tool to have in your marketing stack. You just need to reframe your social media strategy so you can more plainly tell what’s working and why. By balancing your vanity and conversion metrics, as well as the processes used to bump them up, you’ll be well on your way to winning more customers.

    Building a social media presence is a powerful effort...when you have the right tools!

    All too often, financial institutions jump into social media without adequate planning and are disappointed when customers and members don't engage. Making social media work for your bank or credit union can be extremely powerful when you are properly equipped.

    Check out this webinar featuring Douglas Wilber, CEO of Denim Social, and Ted Brown, CEO of Digital Onboarding and learn the social media best practices playbook for regulated financial institutions, as well as best tips to ensure that your social media efforts generate new account openings and profitable, long-term relationships.

    Many financial services marketers view social media marketing strategies in two separate buckets: organic versus paid social media. Marketers who adopted social media strategies years ago likely saw great achievement from organic posts. Way back when, brands certainly could create viral posts with just high-quality, valuable content, but the changing algorithms on social media platforms mean that strategy is no longer viable today. As platforms have made branded content less visible, organic social media strategies have become less and less effective on their own.

    That’s where paid social media marketing comes in. With paid ads come many options for targeting specific audiences and getting in front of the right people at exactly the right time on social media. Many financial services marketers, however, have not yet realized the loss in organic impact. Others have felt too overwhelmed by all the options of paid advertising. With no idea where to start, many have not yet started paid strategies at all. Or those who've started have simply tacked on some paid ads without fully considering how it can work in tandem with organic to achieve greater visibility, higher conversion rates, and ultimately better customer relationships.

    It’s time for financial services marketers to drop the “organic versus paid social media” mindset and instead realize that the social media strategies with the most impact are a strategic combination of the two. Organic and paid are complementary, not competitive. Organic social media builds your brand’s online presence and establishes your reputation, and paid helps your content break through the noise and get in front of the right audiences.

    To combine paid and organic for the highest-impact social media strategy, follow these steps:

    1. Supercharge your organic strategy with your employees.

    Employees are your ticket for creating a strong organic foundation on social media. Not only do branded posts from employees drive higher reach and engagement, but they also help build trust and humanize the brand.

    Employees should focus on building relationships without an agenda by sharing valuable content and engaging in helpful ways rather than promoting products and services. Of course, financial service marketers must ensure that every employee post and engagement is compliant and within brand guidelines. Monitoring every employees’ activity on social media can sound like a tall order, but the right social media management tools can make oversight at scale much simpler. Denim Social, for example, offers automated approval workflows so marketers and compliance teams can be sure no post ever goes live without proper sign-off.

    2. Create budget space for paid advertising.

    For organizations that have long been aboard the organic-only train, focusing more time and resources into paid strategies might take some internal advocacy. To start, marketers need to dispel the idea among leadership teams that organic-only strategies should be successful. The truth is, platforms change regularly and make it increasingly difficult to get in front of the right people. In today’s social media marketing landscape, you simply need paid effort to break through.

    Financial services leaders likely already understand the value in social for humanizing the brand and building relationships, especially if organic strategies showed a lot of promise in the early days of social media marketing. Now, it’s up to marketers to do their research and educate their teams on how the landscape has changed. Investing in paid social media is imperative for financial institutions that want to continue seeing returns on their social media efforts.

    3. Use software to scale paid efforts.

    Running multiple paid social media campaigns from the brand, branch, and associate levels is a valuable strategy, but it can certainly be overwhelming. It’s simply more data than any one person, or any small team, can keep track of.

    Fortunately, tools exist to help streamline the process. The Denim Social platform offers a proprietary social media advertising manager tool that can optimize your ads across different platforms. It also compiles campaign information into one centralized location, so it’s easy to see and manage your brand, locations, and advisors all from one place. What’s more, the platform offers advanced targeting capabilities with audience features that enable you to build different segments based on digital and social behaviors for each campaign. For example, you could target a “Mortgage 101” campaign to customers who have frequently viewed content for first-time homebuyers.

    4. Think beyond the ad.

    So you’ve set a strong organic social media foundation, and you’ve taken paid social media live. What happens now? Focus on driving conversions by using organic posts and ads to lead audiences to specific destinations. Create landing pages on your website and link to them from branded social posts.

    Landing pages can hold valuable content for each social media campaign you’re working on. In the mortgage example above, for instance, your landing page could house a step-by-step guide to securing your first mortgage. When visitors come to that landing page, they should be prompted to enter their name and email address into a form field to receive the guide download. That way, visitors get valuable content specific to their needs, and your sales team has all the information they need for further outreach.

    When you’re running multiple campaigns, creating a landing page for each one can seem like an overwhelming amount of work, especially considering that most financial services marketers probably don’t have deep experience building and designing web pages. Again, the right tools can make it easy. Denim’s software allows marketers to create customized landing pages at scale with zero web design experience required. The platform allows users to simply drag and drop elements into premade templates for each campaign.

    Remember: The question is not, “Should we have an organic social media strategy or a paid one?” It’s time to ask instead, “How can we combine organic social media with paid advertising to increase the impact of our strategy?” Get in touch with Denim Social today to see how our social media management tools can help.