November 30, 2020

What’s in a #Hashtag?

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!

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LEARN
November 30, 2020

What’s in a #Hashtag?

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!

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When it comes to connecting with consumers all over the world, where should you turn? Social media. Denim Social CEO, Doug Wilber, joins Sue Woodard on the Fresh Takes by Total Expert podcast to shine a light on the power of social media and utilizing it to nurture customer relationships. Doug answers the million-dollar question, “How does your brand connect with consumers on social media?”

Gone are the days of sharing helpful, compliant content organically from your bank’s social media profile and seeing significant reach and engagement.

Social media platforms today frequently update their algorithms to make branded content less visible. In January, for example, Facebook announced algorithmic changes to filter every post through integrity filters, a multifaceted scoring system and even a contextual pass.

You might be wondering whether social media is even worth the try anymore in the broader scope of marketing efforts. The answer is a resounding yes. Your prospects and customers are still on social media, perhaps more than ever before. For example, 86 percent of Baby Boomers use social media daily. That’s only 3 percentage points less than Gen Z. With physical banking on a downward trend, banks have to meet people where they are if they want to continue making connections and building relationships.

The following steps can help financial services provider skirt tricky algorithms to get in front of the right audiences:

Don’t avoid organic altogether: Organic social media is still an important jumping-off point, and a key asset to help your brand cut through is your employees. Research from LinkedIn shows that employees have 10 times the following on LinkedIn compared to their employers and that employee posts on LinkedIn create twice the engagement. When employees share with and engage customers and prospects from individual accounts, they humanize the brand beyond brand profiles alone — in the eyes of audiences and algorithms.

Social media algorithms favor people and person-to-person conversation. Because more engagement means greater algorithmic scoring, you can bet that the more people who engage with an employee post, the more social media users will see that post in their feeds.

Pay to play: Of course, one of the biggest advantages of organic social media is that it’s free — but paid advertising doesn’t take a huge investment, either, and the returns can be well worth the initial spend and effort. Consider, for instance, pulling back your marketing budget from traditional out-of-home advertising tactics that have lost their impact as people stay home and reallocating the spend toward paid social efforts.

Paid ads actually help you optimize your advertising budget more than organic alone because you can target them. You can build a targeting strategy based on your ideal persona’s demographics, activities, interests, etc. — which means you can make better-informed decisions about what content to share with whom. Audiences will appreciate the posts’ relevance, and bank associates will appreciate knowing that social media outreach efforts aren’t wasted on the wrong audience.

Provide value with content: While great content isn’t the only thing you need for success today, it is still a crucial factor because it serves as a helpful resource for audiences. Think beyond promotion when creating and distributing ad content. Consider how to create real value.

Content should both highlight your expertise and help educate readers. Guidebooks, blog posts and videos are among many valuable content tools. And you don’t have to limit a post to include only one of them. Instead, link to a landing page on your website from a social media ad. Viewers will go to the page that houses all the relevant, valuable content they want.

What’s more, if you include form fields requesting visitor information in return for downloading some of that content, you’ll get valuable consumer data in your hands that can help you drive more conversions.

Think strategically about retargeting:  To further optimize your approach for even greater ROI, consider retargeted advertising. This means serving social media advertisements to people you know already engage with your website, social media pages or content.

Don’t just retarget campaigns to every person who has ever shown interest in your brand, however. This approach is likely too broad to create much impact, especially when customers today are all about personalization. Instead, divide your audience into segments and create specific campaigns for each.

For example, people who visited your blog might be more receptive to more educational content, while those who visited your contact page might be closer to conversion and ready to hop into a conversation with your sales team. Even in retargeting, precision is the name of the game.

The bottom line is: If your bank’s social media strategy is only organic, you won’t see enough ROI to justify your time and effort. But if you level up with employees, paid advertising and valuable content, you can optimize your efforts beyond what even the best organic strategy would allow to overcome algorithmic roadblocks and get in front of exactly the right people.

This article was originally published on BAI.org.

Instagram stands out as the shining star of social media platforms. While Facebook still reigns supreme, Instagram is quickly catching up fast with more than 1 billion users worldwide today — up by 73.5 million since 2020.

With users under age 34 making up nearly half of this user population, financial services marketers looking to reach younger generations should take note. And with an estimated sum of $68 trillion in wealth expected to transfer from Baby Boomers to Millennials in the next couple of decades, Millennials are a worthwhile target.

Studies predict that, after inheriting wealth, 80% or more young heirs will seek out a new financial advisor. Considering that 9 in 10 accounts follow at least one business on Instagram and 8 in 10 users find new products and services in the app, it’s a safe bet that Instagram will be a place to influence many Millennials. Wise financial services marketers will meet them where they are with strong Instagram marketing strategies, and the following tips can help:

1. Focus on paid ads

Instagram is a visual platform for sharing photos and videos, so it’s important for brand pages to populate their profiles with organic posts. While this presence is important, organic content isn’t what will move the needle on business goals. Financial services aren’t exactly visually interesting, and organic posts tend to have low reach as they only show up in the feeds of a brand’s current followers. Without the ability to include hyperlinks in captions, they also won’t drive any traffic back to your site. If you want to build the type of following needed to generate new business, including paid advertising in your Instagram marketing strategy is your ticket.

With Instagram advertising, institutions and advisors can target ads to land with exactly the right audience — even outside their follower base — and include links in posts to drive more traffic to the brand. With a specific call to action that directs consumers to learn more about a topic, Instagram ads offer a straight-line path to giving customers the valuable information they desire — in their own time and at their own place. What’s more, Instagram advertising is seamlessly integrated directly into Instagram feeds and stories, creating a smoother user experience all around.

2. Connect with consumers on a local level

Instagram marketing on the corporate brand level is a great starting point, but advertising on behalf of your individual advisors can take your strategy to the next level. Think of it this way: If a consumer sees a well-known brand on social media, they might recognize the name, but they won’t feel an intrinsic connection beyond initial familiarity. In contrast, they’ll feel familiarity and an immediate connection when they see a post from an advisor in their own community. Consumers want to build relationships with brands, and a shared community is a great starting point.

Of course, most advisors and other financial services employees are not experts on how to market the business on Instagram. And marketers know they must keep all social media marketing for their financial institutions compliant to avoid heavy regulatory reprimands. To keep posts compliant, save employees time, and help them build relationships with consumers in their physical communities, financial services marketers can set up and run ads on their behalf.

3. Micro-target content to your audience

As big-name brands like Amazon continue to elevate the digital customer experience with seamless customer service, purchasing, and delivery, customer expectations are higher than ever before. When customers evaluate a financial institution, they compare it not only to other organizations in the industry, but also to tech giants in any industry that give them exactly what they need when they need it.

They expect a high level of personalization and convenience, and Instagram marketing with paid advertising can help you give it to them. Match basic behavioral and geographic data to potential customers on Instagram to target ads, and then track clicks, engagements, and post-click actions. These data points don’t indicate much on their own, but together they offer a rich story about what consumers want. Continually refine your strategy with these data points in mind to deliver the kind of highly personalized experiences your audiences want on Instagram.

With a large Millennial user base that engages actively with brands online and the ability to target highly personalized ads to exactly the right audiences, Instagram is a must-have in any financial services marketing strategy. To learn more about how Instagram marketing can work to drive your business forward, download our guide to building stronger customer relationships on Instagram for free today.

From a platform that employers can use to test software development job candidates to software that aims to improve how companies deploy field services workers, software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies have made a splash in transforming workplaces in 2021.

Some of the largest employers had to adopt remote working this past year and have declared a willingness to keep some form of it even after the global pandemic subsides, prompting a renewed interest in software tools that can improve and even change business operations in a variety of industries.

With headquarter locations including San Francisco and St. Louis and Kissimmee, Fla., these startups show that not only does innovation happen anywhere, but that startup funding remains strong and good ideas don’t only happen within the largest tech giants.

#3 Denim Social

Top Executive: Douglas Wilber, CEO

Headquarters: St. Louis

Denim Social offers social media management and marketing automation software for highly-regulated industries such as banking, insurance and wealth management.

For these companies, compliance can get in the way of a consumer-oriented marketing campaign, according to Denim Social’s website. The company allows customers to schedule and plan social media content, curate industry-specific articles for audiences and learn about online audiences with analytic reports.

The company counts AWS, Twitter and Facebook among its partners.

The company was founded in 2020 through the merger of St. Louis-based Gremlin Social and Iowa-based Denim. The company also raised a $4 million Series A round of funding to increase marketing.

This list was originally published by CRN and the full list can be viewed here.

As Denim Social studied more than 400 financial institutions for our 2020 Social Media Benchmark Report, we found that only about 20% were including links in their social media content. That means about 80% of organizations are missing big opportunities to create further engagement and drive ROI from social media.

Social media marketing strategies for financial institutions are important for generating interest and building awareness, but without links, a social post is essentially a digital dead end. A post promoting a new product or service might generate a bit of interest, for example, but if the viewer has nowhere to go from there, they’re likely to drop off after hitting the “like” button. It might generate awareness, but it’s not directly moving the needle on your business goals.

A solid linking strategy, on the other hand, can build digital customer journeys that bring more value to followers and increase social media conversions for organizations. When you’re planning your social media marketing strategy, think about how you can incorporate the following links to guide followers on a journey to becoming customers:

1. External links

Denim recommends that social media marketing strategies for financial institutions follow a “4-1-1” approach. That means six posts per week, four of which should be informational, evergreen content. These posts should include links to trustworthy, verified media sources. Sharing useful information from authoritative outlets is an effective way to educate audiences on financial topics, provide value, encourage further engagement, and build trust.

2. Landing page links

One of six weekly posts should be community-oriented. This post should aim to engage the local community and demonstrate how your organization gives back. A closing photo from a mortgage loan officer is one great example of a community-oriented post. Remember that these posts should aim to catch the followers’ interest and lead them to helpful services to learn more — they should not aim to sell services outright with overly promotional content.

To lead followers to more valuable content from the community-oriented post, include a link to a landing page on your website. The landing page could prompt visitors to input their name and email in exchange for a mortgage 101 guidebook, for example. When visitors submit their details, you have contact information for primed leads in your hands, and your audience has a valuable resource in theirs. Denim Social’s code-free landing page wireframe makes it easy for marketers, even those with no web design experience, to build and scale highly professional landing pages in minutes.

3. Owned content links

The last of your six posts should be promotional about your products or services. These can drive readers to a place on your website where they can learn more or engage with an expert at your organization to ask questions. Link to owned content such as blog posts to accomplish those goals. Well-written and informative blog posts can help you demonstrate expertise and build trust. Plus, linking to these pages will guide users to your digital property, much like landing pages, and you can use that data to retarget posts to people who might have shown interest but dropped off the digital customer journey before engaging further with the brand.

Remember, although this content can promote your products and services, it should still serve a greater purpose than to simply be a digital billboard for your brand. Provide valuable information that readers need, and include a call to action in each post that gives them the opportunity to engage further with ease.

Social media is an excellent brand-building tool, but if you’re not using it to drive ROI and further progress toward business goals, you’re not harnessing its full potential. Including linking tactics in your social media marketing strategy is a simple way to make a big difference.

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 adults 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% 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 customers 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. 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 consumers 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% 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 reach and grow engagement requires having your employees share branded content on their own channels. In an age when 69% of consumers 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.

This article was originally published on International Banker.

GUIDES

What’s in a #Hashtag?

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!

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 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

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!

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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 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!

    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.

    GUIDES

    What’s in a #Hashtag?

    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!

    Download the 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 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

    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!

    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

    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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!

    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 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!

    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.

    RESOURCES

    NEWS
    November 30, 2020

    What’s in a #Hashtag?

    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!

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

    How to Increase Engagement With Decreased Self-Promotion on Financial Institution Social Media Pages

    If your financial institution’s social media pages consist primarily of posts that directly promote your business, products, and services, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Social media should not be a one-way channel for self-promotion like a billboard or radio advertisement. Nearly half of social media users will unfollow a brand if they do too much self-promotion on social media, and only 19% trust social media advertisements.

    Still, about 30% of all posts on financial institution social media pages are about the companies themselves. It’s time for banks, insurance companies, and other financial services companies to recognize that social media engagement is built through maintaining two-way communication. Posts that provide real value to prospects and customers will start that dialogue.

    Ask, “What will a follower get out of this post?” If you can’t easily identify the value, it’s likely too promotional.Here’s how you can shift the focus:

    1. Use employees as your delivery channel.

    Followers are more likely to engage with an actual human than a big brand name. Let your employees carry the voice of the brand on social media by sharing brand-related content on their own profiles with their own networks. With larger networks and more engagement opportunities, employees can expand the brand’s reach exponentially. What’s more, putting real human faces behind the brand voice can humanize the brand and help build more trust with followers.

    In the example below, loan officer Andrea Kling posted an informative video about preapproval letters from her personalFacebook profile to share with her networks. The valuable resource opens opportunities for engagement without screaming the company name. Users who want to know more can simply leave a comment or send Andrea a message.

    2. Share educational content.

    Another key aspect of Andrea’s post is that it provides education to the reader. In a survey of more than 1,000 American adults, 25% said they had no one to turn to for financial advice. When a financial services company and its employees share relevant education resources, they establish themselves as go-to sources for guidance —establishing their expertise and building trust through social media at the same time.

    Commerce Bank exemplified this well in their post during graduation season by sharing an article about financial tips for new graduates. The bank saw an educational opportunity for a specific audience and addressed it with a helpful, relevant resource.

    3. Include links in promotional posts.

    Some posts will be inherently promotional, even when you are providing educational content. The key is to ensure there is still value for readers, and an excellent way to do that is with strategic linking. Include links in your social posts that lead readers back to places on your website where they can get more of the information they need.

    Look at how AnnieMac Home Mortgage shared a link to a construction loan guide on its Facebook Page. The post explains a bit of the value of construction loans in one sentence, then includes a call to action for the reader to follow the link to read more. The link goes to a helpful guidebook on construction home loans. 

    When considering your linking strategy, landing pages are also an excellent move. These pages house valuable resources, such as the construction loan guidebook, behind an information request form. Visitors submit their name and email address to receive the download, and you get their contact information right in your hands. Then, you can engage in targeted outreach to prospects you know are already interested in the service.

    A solid social media strategy for financial services balances promotion with value. Put the human element front and center, focus on educating your followers, and develop a strategic linking strategy to limit self-promotion and prioritize the needs of your audience. For more information on how to shift your focus on social media, download the Denim 2020 Benchmark report.

    Where Are the Biggest Opportunities to Use Social Media in Financial Services?

    Denim Social's 2020 Benchmark Report shows that most financial institutions — 82% of those surveyed — are using Facebook to reach their audiences. It’s a great place to start, but Facebook is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media strategy for financial services.

    Your customers are active in many other places online, so why not meet them there? Our research shows that a few other valuable social media platforms are going underutilized. Let’s dive into whatInstagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter have to offer and how financial services marketers can best use each platform.

    1. Instagram

    As far as unsung social media platforms in financial services go, Instagram tops the list. The Benchmark Report reveals that it's the least adopted platform across all asset groups of financial services, and that’s a huge missed opportunity.

    Instagram is one of the best ways to get in front of younger audiences, which is a worthwhile goal, considering that many Millennial customers will likely be on the search for new financial services providers as Baby Boomers pass their wealth on to the next generations. What's more, 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business account and 60% use the platform to discover new products.


    If you’re already on Facebook, getting started on Instagram is a breeze. You can sync your Instagram account with your Facebook Business page and create content simultaneously for both platforms, saving both time and money. That's an excellent place to start, but from there, you'll want to begin creating Instagram-specific ads with extra visual content such as photos and videos.

    Instagram ads also allow hyperlinks, so you can lead readers right from their feeds to your website with specific calls to action to learn more. Lead them to a personalized and well-designed landing page on your site, for instance, and you'll be drawing each follower who clicks through one big step closer to conversion.

    What's more, you can create localized ad campaigns on Instagram to connect your individual employees with customers inclose geographical proximity. A local face in someone's feed is much more likely to capture their attention than a brand ad alone. Denim's social media management tools can help you organize and run localized ad campaigns with ease.

    2. LinkedIn

    Our research revealed that only about 63% of financial services providers in smaller asset groups use LinkedIn, and those that do use it don’t post as frequently as larger institutions. But smaller organizations might have the most to gain from LinkedIn. Employees at smaller companies are likely to know their customers on a closer level and can utilize LinkedIn to build and maintain those relationships.

    For financial services marketers, a brand profile is a necessary starting point. Getting the most out of the platform, however, requires activating your employees in a social selling strategy. They can share relevant content, such as videos and published articles from trusted media outlets, as well as engage with customers and prospects one-on-one via direct messaging to establish themselves as experts and build trusting relationships. People want to engage with other people, not with general brand pages. It’s no wonder that employees on social media can garner double the engagement of brand pages alone.

    3. Twitter

    Like Instagram, Twitter use is also low across all financial services asset groups with an average of 36% adoption. Understandably, financial services marketers might be intimidated by the fast-paced nature of the platform and fear they don’t have enough resources to keep up. However, with the proper social media management tools, maintaining compliant engagement on Twitter is totally possible — and worth it.

    One of the greatest benefits of social media marketing for financial services is the ability to provide more value to customers. Twitter makes this incredibly easy to do. Marketers can follow all relevant news media outlets and keep an eye out for any articles that might benefit their clients or prospects.For example, an explainer piece on recent changes in tax legislation may be helpful come tax season. Retweeting such helpful resources educates followers on financial topics and builds trust in the brand and its employees.

    There’s no single best social media platform for marketing. Each one has a unique opportunity to reach and engage current and future customers. If you’re already on Facebook, it’s time to level up your social media marketing strategy by diving into Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter as well. No matter the size of your financial institution, extending your social media strategy to encompass these platforms can help grow your audience, build trust, and maintain solid customer relationships.

    Instagram stands out as the shining star of social media platforms. While Facebook still reigns supreme, Instagram is quickly catching up fast with more than 1 billion users worldwide today — up by 73.5 million since 2020.

    With users under age 34 making up nearly half of this user population, financial services marketers looking to reach younger generations should take note. And with an estimated sum of $68 trillion in wealth expected to transfer from Baby Boomers to Millennials in the next couple of decades, Millennials are a worthwhile target.

    Studies predict that, after inheriting wealth, 80% or more young heirs will seek out a new financial advisor. Considering that 9 in 10 accounts follow at least one business on Instagram and 8 in 10 users find new products and services in the app, it’s a safe bet that Instagram will be a place to influence many Millennials. Wise financial services marketers will meet them where they are with strong Instagram marketing strategies, and the following tips can help:

    1. Focus on paid ads

    Instagram is a visual platform for sharing photos and videos, so it’s important for brand pages to populate their profiles with organic posts. While this presence is important, organic content isn’t what will move the needle on business goals. Financial services aren’t exactly visually interesting, and organic posts tend to have low reach as they only show up in the feeds of a brand’s current followers. Without the ability to include hyperlinks in captions, they also won’t drive any traffic back to your site. If you want to build the type of following needed to generate new business, including paid advertising in your Instagram marketing strategy is your ticket.

    With Instagram advertising, institutions and advisors can target ads to land with exactly the right audience — even outside their follower base — and include links in posts to drive more traffic to the brand. With a specific call to action that directs consumers to learn more about a topic, Instagram ads offer a straight-line path to giving customers the valuable information they desire — in their own time and at their own place. What’s more, Instagram advertising is seamlessly integrated directly into Instagram feeds and stories, creating a smoother user experience all around.

    2. Connect with consumers on a local level

    Instagram marketing on the corporate brand level is a great starting point, but advertising on behalf of your individual advisors can take your strategy to the next level. Think of it this way: If a consumer sees a well-known brand on social media, they might recognize the name, but they won’t feel an intrinsic connection beyond initial familiarity. In contrast, they’ll feel familiarity and an immediate connection when they see a post from an advisor in their own community. Consumers want to build relationships with brands, and a shared community is a great starting point.

    Of course, most advisors and other financial services employees are not experts on how to market the business on Instagram. And marketers know they must keep all social media marketing for their financial institutions compliant to avoid heavy regulatory reprimands. To keep posts compliant, save employees time, and help them build relationships with consumers in their physical communities, financial services marketers can set up and run ads on their behalf.

    3. Micro-target content to your audience

    As big-name brands like Amazon continue to elevate the digital customer experience with seamless customer service, purchasing, and delivery, customer expectations are higher than ever before. When customers evaluate a financial institution, they compare it not only to other organizations in the industry, but also to tech giants in any industry that give them exactly what they need when they need it.

    They expect a high level of personalization and convenience, and Instagram marketing with paid advertising can help you give it to them. Match basic behavioral and geographic data to potential customers on Instagram to target ads, and then track clicks, engagements, and post-click actions. These data points don’t indicate much on their own, but together they offer a rich story about what consumers want. Continually refine your strategy with these data points in mind to deliver the kind of highly personalized experiences your audiences want on Instagram.

    With a large Millennial user base that engages actively with brands online and the ability to target highly personalized ads to exactly the right audiences, Instagram is a must-have in any financial services marketing strategy. To learn more about how Instagram marketing can work to drive your business forward, download our guide to building stronger customer relationships on Instagram for free today.

    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.

    RESOURCES

    VISION
    November 30, 2020

    What’s in a #Hashtag?

    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!

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    How to Increase Engagement With Decreased Self-Promotion on Financial Institution Social Media Pages

    If your financial institution’s social media pages consist primarily of posts that directly promote your business, products, and services, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Social media should not be a one-way channel for self-promotion like a billboard or radio advertisement. Nearly half of social media users will unfollow a brand if they do too much self-promotion on social media, and only 19% trust social media advertisements.

    Still, about 30% of all posts on financial institution social media pages are about the companies themselves. It’s time for banks, insurance companies, and other financial services companies to recognize that social media engagement is built through maintaining two-way communication. Posts that provide real value to prospects and customers will start that dialogue.

    Ask, “What will a follower get out of this post?” If you can’t easily identify the value, it’s likely too promotional.Here’s how you can shift the focus:

    1. Use employees as your delivery channel.

    Followers are more likely to engage with an actual human than a big brand name. Let your employees carry the voice of the brand on social media by sharing brand-related content on their own profiles with their own networks. With larger networks and more engagement opportunities, employees can expand the brand’s reach exponentially. What’s more, putting real human faces behind the brand voice can humanize the brand and help build more trust with followers.

    In the example below, loan officer Andrea Kling posted an informative video about preapproval letters from her personalFacebook profile to share with her networks. The valuable resource opens opportunities for engagement without screaming the company name. Users who want to know more can simply leave a comment or send Andrea a message.

    2. Share educational content.

    Another key aspect of Andrea’s post is that it provides education to the reader. In a survey of more than 1,000 American adults, 25% said they had no one to turn to for financial advice. When a financial services company and its employees share relevant education resources, they establish themselves as go-to sources for guidance —establishing their expertise and building trust through social media at the same time.

    Commerce Bank exemplified this well in their post during graduation season by sharing an article about financial tips for new graduates. The bank saw an educational opportunity for a specific audience and addressed it with a helpful, relevant resource.

    3. Include links in promotional posts.

    Some posts will be inherently promotional, even when you are providing educational content. The key is to ensure there is still value for readers, and an excellent way to do that is with strategic linking. Include links in your social posts that lead readers back to places on your website where they can get more of the information they need.

    Look at how AnnieMac Home Mortgage shared a link to a construction loan guide on its Facebook Page. The post explains a bit of the value of construction loans in one sentence, then includes a call to action for the reader to follow the link to read more. The link goes to a helpful guidebook on construction home loans. 

    When considering your linking strategy, landing pages are also an excellent move. These pages house valuable resources, such as the construction loan guidebook, behind an information request form. Visitors submit their name and email address to receive the download, and you get their contact information right in your hands. Then, you can engage in targeted outreach to prospects you know are already interested in the service.

    A solid social media strategy for financial services balances promotion with value. Put the human element front and center, focus on educating your followers, and develop a strategic linking strategy to limit self-promotion and prioritize the needs of your audience. For more information on how to shift your focus on social media, download the Denim 2020 Benchmark report.

    When it comes to connecting with consumers all over the world, where should you turn? Social media. Denim Social CEO, Doug Wilber, joins Sue Woodard on the Fresh Takes by Total Expert podcast to shine a light on the power of social media and utilizing it to nurture customer relationships. Doug answers the million-dollar question, “How does your brand connect with consumers on social media?”

    Where Are the Biggest Opportunities to Use Social Media in Financial Services?

    Denim Social's 2020 Benchmark Report shows that most financial institutions — 82% of those surveyed — are using Facebook to reach their audiences. It’s a great place to start, but Facebook is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media strategy for financial services.

    Your customers are active in many other places online, so why not meet them there? Our research shows that a few other valuable social media platforms are going underutilized. Let’s dive into whatInstagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter have to offer and how financial services marketers can best use each platform.

    1. Instagram

    As far as unsung social media platforms in financial services go, Instagram tops the list. The Benchmark Report reveals that it's the least adopted platform across all asset groups of financial services, and that’s a huge missed opportunity.

    Instagram is one of the best ways to get in front of younger audiences, which is a worthwhile goal, considering that many Millennial customers will likely be on the search for new financial services providers as Baby Boomers pass their wealth on to the next generations. What's more, 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business account and 60% use the platform to discover new products.


    If you’re already on Facebook, getting started on Instagram is a breeze. You can sync your Instagram account with your Facebook Business page and create content simultaneously for both platforms, saving both time and money. That's an excellent place to start, but from there, you'll want to begin creating Instagram-specific ads with extra visual content such as photos and videos.

    Instagram ads also allow hyperlinks, so you can lead readers right from their feeds to your website with specific calls to action to learn more. Lead them to a personalized and well-designed landing page on your site, for instance, and you'll be drawing each follower who clicks through one big step closer to conversion.

    What's more, you can create localized ad campaigns on Instagram to connect your individual employees with customers inclose geographical proximity. A local face in someone's feed is much more likely to capture their attention than a brand ad alone. Denim's social media management tools can help you organize and run localized ad campaigns with ease.

    2. LinkedIn

    Our research revealed that only about 63% of financial services providers in smaller asset groups use LinkedIn, and those that do use it don’t post as frequently as larger institutions. But smaller organizations might have the most to gain from LinkedIn. Employees at smaller companies are likely to know their customers on a closer level and can utilize LinkedIn to build and maintain those relationships.

    For financial services marketers, a brand profile is a necessary starting point. Getting the most out of the platform, however, requires activating your employees in a social selling strategy. They can share relevant content, such as videos and published articles from trusted media outlets, as well as engage with customers and prospects one-on-one via direct messaging to establish themselves as experts and build trusting relationships. People want to engage with other people, not with general brand pages. It’s no wonder that employees on social media can garner double the engagement of brand pages alone.

    3. Twitter

    Like Instagram, Twitter use is also low across all financial services asset groups with an average of 36% adoption. Understandably, financial services marketers might be intimidated by the fast-paced nature of the platform and fear they don’t have enough resources to keep up. However, with the proper social media management tools, maintaining compliant engagement on Twitter is totally possible — and worth it.

    One of the greatest benefits of social media marketing for financial services is the ability to provide more value to customers. Twitter makes this incredibly easy to do. Marketers can follow all relevant news media outlets and keep an eye out for any articles that might benefit their clients or prospects.For example, an explainer piece on recent changes in tax legislation may be helpful come tax season. Retweeting such helpful resources educates followers on financial topics and builds trust in the brand and its employees.

    There’s no single best social media platform for marketing. Each one has a unique opportunity to reach and engage current and future customers. If you’re already on Facebook, it’s time to level up your social media marketing strategy by diving into Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter as well. No matter the size of your financial institution, extending your social media strategy to encompass these platforms can help grow your audience, build trust, and maintain solid customer relationships.

    Gone are the days of sharing helpful, compliant content organically from your bank’s social media profile and seeing significant reach and engagement.

    Social media platforms today frequently update their algorithms to make branded content less visible. In January, for example, Facebook announced algorithmic changes to filter every post through integrity filters, a multifaceted scoring system and even a contextual pass.

    You might be wondering whether social media is even worth the try anymore in the broader scope of marketing efforts. The answer is a resounding yes. Your prospects and customers are still on social media, perhaps more than ever before. For example, 86 percent of Baby Boomers use social media daily. That’s only 3 percentage points less than Gen Z. With physical banking on a downward trend, banks have to meet people where they are if they want to continue making connections and building relationships.

    The following steps can help financial services provider skirt tricky algorithms to get in front of the right audiences:

    Don’t avoid organic altogether: Organic social media is still an important jumping-off point, and a key asset to help your brand cut through is your employees. Research from LinkedIn shows that employees have 10 times the following on LinkedIn compared to their employers and that employee posts on LinkedIn create twice the engagement. When employees share with and engage customers and prospects from individual accounts, they humanize the brand beyond brand profiles alone — in the eyes of audiences and algorithms.

    Social media algorithms favor people and person-to-person conversation. Because more engagement means greater algorithmic scoring, you can bet that the more people who engage with an employee post, the more social media users will see that post in their feeds.

    Pay to play: Of course, one of the biggest advantages of organic social media is that it’s free — but paid advertising doesn’t take a huge investment, either, and the returns can be well worth the initial spend and effort. Consider, for instance, pulling back your marketing budget from traditional out-of-home advertising tactics that have lost their impact as people stay home and reallocating the spend toward paid social efforts.

    Paid ads actually help you optimize your advertising budget more than organic alone because you can target them. You can build a targeting strategy based on your ideal persona’s demographics, activities, interests, etc. — which means you can make better-informed decisions about what content to share with whom. Audiences will appreciate the posts’ relevance, and bank associates will appreciate knowing that social media outreach efforts aren’t wasted on the wrong audience.

    Provide value with content: While great content isn’t the only thing you need for success today, it is still a crucial factor because it serves as a helpful resource for audiences. Think beyond promotion when creating and distributing ad content. Consider how to create real value.

    Content should both highlight your expertise and help educate readers. Guidebooks, blog posts and videos are among many valuable content tools. And you don’t have to limit a post to include only one of them. Instead, link to a landing page on your website from a social media ad. Viewers will go to the page that houses all the relevant, valuable content they want.

    What’s more, if you include form fields requesting visitor information in return for downloading some of that content, you’ll get valuable consumer data in your hands that can help you drive more conversions.

    Think strategically about retargeting:  To further optimize your approach for even greater ROI, consider retargeted advertising. This means serving social media advertisements to people you know already engage with your website, social media pages or content.

    Don’t just retarget campaigns to every person who has ever shown interest in your brand, however. This approach is likely too broad to create much impact, especially when customers today are all about personalization. Instead, divide your audience into segments and create specific campaigns for each.

    For example, people who visited your blog might be more receptive to more educational content, while those who visited your contact page might be closer to conversion and ready to hop into a conversation with your sales team. Even in retargeting, precision is the name of the game.

    The bottom line is: If your bank’s social media strategy is only organic, you won’t see enough ROI to justify your time and effort. But if you level up with employees, paid advertising and valuable content, you can optimize your efforts beyond what even the best organic strategy would allow to overcome algorithmic roadblocks and get in front of exactly the right people.

    This article was originally published on BAI.org.

    Instagram stands out as the shining star of social media platforms. While Facebook still reigns supreme, Instagram is quickly catching up fast with more than 1 billion users worldwide today — up by 73.5 million since 2020.

    With users under age 34 making up nearly half of this user population, financial services marketers looking to reach younger generations should take note. And with an estimated sum of $68 trillion in wealth expected to transfer from Baby Boomers to Millennials in the next couple of decades, Millennials are a worthwhile target.

    Studies predict that, after inheriting wealth, 80% or more young heirs will seek out a new financial advisor. Considering that 9 in 10 accounts follow at least one business on Instagram and 8 in 10 users find new products and services in the app, it’s a safe bet that Instagram will be a place to influence many Millennials. Wise financial services marketers will meet them where they are with strong Instagram marketing strategies, and the following tips can help:

    1. Focus on paid ads

    Instagram is a visual platform for sharing photos and videos, so it’s important for brand pages to populate their profiles with organic posts. While this presence is important, organic content isn’t what will move the needle on business goals. Financial services aren’t exactly visually interesting, and organic posts tend to have low reach as they only show up in the feeds of a brand’s current followers. Without the ability to include hyperlinks in captions, they also won’t drive any traffic back to your site. If you want to build the type of following needed to generate new business, including paid advertising in your Instagram marketing strategy is your ticket.

    With Instagram advertising, institutions and advisors can target ads to land with exactly the right audience — even outside their follower base — and include links in posts to drive more traffic to the brand. With a specific call to action that directs consumers to learn more about a topic, Instagram ads offer a straight-line path to giving customers the valuable information they desire — in their own time and at their own place. What’s more, Instagram advertising is seamlessly integrated directly into Instagram feeds and stories, creating a smoother user experience all around.

    2. Connect with consumers on a local level

    Instagram marketing on the corporate brand level is a great starting point, but advertising on behalf of your individual advisors can take your strategy to the next level. Think of it this way: If a consumer sees a well-known brand on social media, they might recognize the name, but they won’t feel an intrinsic connection beyond initial familiarity. In contrast, they’ll feel familiarity and an immediate connection when they see a post from an advisor in their own community. Consumers want to build relationships with brands, and a shared community is a great starting point.

    Of course, most advisors and other financial services employees are not experts on how to market the business on Instagram. And marketers know they must keep all social media marketing for their financial institutions compliant to avoid heavy regulatory reprimands. To keep posts compliant, save employees time, and help them build relationships with consumers in their physical communities, financial services marketers can set up and run ads on their behalf.

    3. Micro-target content to your audience

    As big-name brands like Amazon continue to elevate the digital customer experience with seamless customer service, purchasing, and delivery, customer expectations are higher than ever before. When customers evaluate a financial institution, they compare it not only to other organizations in the industry, but also to tech giants in any industry that give them exactly what they need when they need it.

    They expect a high level of personalization and convenience, and Instagram marketing with paid advertising can help you give it to them. Match basic behavioral and geographic data to potential customers on Instagram to target ads, and then track clicks, engagements, and post-click actions. These data points don’t indicate much on their own, but together they offer a rich story about what consumers want. Continually refine your strategy with these data points in mind to deliver the kind of highly personalized experiences your audiences want on Instagram.

    With a large Millennial user base that engages actively with brands online and the ability to target highly personalized ads to exactly the right audiences, Instagram is a must-have in any financial services marketing strategy. To learn more about how Instagram marketing can work to drive your business forward, download our guide to building stronger customer relationships on Instagram for free today.

    From a platform that employers can use to test software development job candidates to software that aims to improve how companies deploy field services workers, software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies have made a splash in transforming workplaces in 2021.

    Some of the largest employers had to adopt remote working this past year and have declared a willingness to keep some form of it even after the global pandemic subsides, prompting a renewed interest in software tools that can improve and even change business operations in a variety of industries.

    With headquarter locations including San Francisco and St. Louis and Kissimmee, Fla., these startups show that not only does innovation happen anywhere, but that startup funding remains strong and good ideas don’t only happen within the largest tech giants.

    #3 Denim Social

    Top Executive: Douglas Wilber, CEO

    Headquarters: St. Louis

    Denim Social offers social media management and marketing automation software for highly-regulated industries such as banking, insurance and wealth management.

    For these companies, compliance can get in the way of a consumer-oriented marketing campaign, according to Denim Social’s website. The company allows customers to schedule and plan social media content, curate industry-specific articles for audiences and learn about online audiences with analytic reports.

    The company counts AWS, Twitter and Facebook among its partners.

    The company was founded in 2020 through the merger of St. Louis-based Gremlin Social and Iowa-based Denim. The company also raised a $4 million Series A round of funding to increase marketing.

    This list was originally published by CRN and the full list can be viewed here.