How Financial Marketers Can Create Breakthrough Social Media Results

The post-pandemic period is a perfect time for banks and credit unions to test new marketing strategies that embrace digital channels. Several approaches can help to reach new audiences on social media, including creating new immersive content and optimizing current content by device or channel.

Financial institution marketers face a challenging landscape: The emergence of digital banking products and fintech brands that appeal to younger and digitally savvy audiences have increased customer churn and driven up cost-per-acquisition.

Having to deal with the pandemic’s impact prevented marketing teams from exploring innovative responses to these challenges in 2020, but now that conditions have eased they can try out new omni-channel approaches that embrace digital platforms. It’s an opportune time to test new ways to maximize efficiency of online spend, whether the goal is to increase customer loyalty or reach new audiences.

60% of a financial brand’s strength comes from “achieving a fit with customers’ needs,” according to Forrester. This need to remain relevant to the consumer is compounded by an increase in both social media spending and conversational marketing.

As a result, the need to produce more content is rising exponentially for financial brands. This is exacerbated by the need for content formats that take more resources to create: specifically, more video content, more personalized communications and content tailored to channel or device.

To help, here are three creative tips to drive maximum impact for your brand when creating visual content.

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Tip 1. Reach New Audiences Through Video Advertising

Mobile banking utilization continues to rise, with just over three quarters of Americans having used a mobile device the last time they checked their account balance, according to Statista. So has time spent on video. In the first quarter of 2021, Insider Intelligence reports that adults spent two hours a day watching short-form digital video content.

With this in mind — along with the fact that mobile-optimized video outperforms in engagement metrics from ad recall to brand favorability (compared to TV commercials) — investing in new video formats on social should be a core focus for financial marketers this year.

As the older members of Gen Z enter the banking market, this investment should stretch to platforms with younger audiences like TikTok, which are piloting in-app purchases. Other financial brands have seen particular success with immersive formats like Instagram Stories: Bank of America has developed their Instagram content strategy to garner nearly 160,000 followers, leveraging Stories and Highlights by working with Instagram partner Linkin.bio to ensure users can access their content easily.

Content Challenge:

With short content cycles on social media, a balancing act is required between making sure content is easily recycled while optimizing production to channel and device.

Creating content regularly and keeping it fresh is better than relying on a handful of content pieces throughout the year or even the quarter. Consider cost-effective routes to fresh content, whether that is creating GIFs (short video pieces) to test against video or leveraging in-app features such as Instagram reels or TikTok videos to drive engagement. Chase, for example, leveraged Instagram stickers to allow their customers to ask direct questions.

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Tip 2. Optimize Brand Placement by Device and Channel

It’s tempting to use single assets for multiple channels, but what may seem like idiosyncrasies between digital platforms can weaken brand impact and eat up your media budget. When users switch off autoplay on Facebook, for example, advertisers pay for impressions for a video that isn’t played, which means this format requires a strong thumbnail image.

Five-Second Window:

YouTube ads have the option to skip after five seconds, so positioning your brand assets in those first few seconds is crucial for brand recognition.

To minimize spend wasted on low-impact ads, dedicate resources to defining guidelines around creative quality and what this means to the brand (e.g., “Aligns with regulatory guidelines”; “Includes visible branding”; “Aligns with brand style including fonts, colors, etc.”). These guidelines can then be applied to a content library that has shareable assets and “explainer videos” to extend the life of larger content pieces.

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Tip 3. Consider Lead Ads and CTAs for Direct Response Campaigns

For direct response marketing, financial brands have relied heavily on direct mail, and for good reason — it works. As of 2018 two thirds of the financial institutions used direct mail marketing, according to a DMA survey. However, direct response marketing via social media ads can also be effective for driving immediate action on offers or convincing customers to call a phone number or visit a landing page for more information.

Having a clear CTA (call to action) is important for driving business outcomes. On social ads, you should emphasize the action you want the customer to take, such as “swipe up” or “apply here.” Also, be sure to leverage in-app features to your advantage. For example, Facebook’s Instant Form could help triage non-sensitive requests. Alternatively, you could use chatbots to triage customer queries to your help center.

Setting up processes to develop creative quality content will enable your teams to scale your online content cycle sustainably and will be essential to help marketing teams meet the increased demand for content on digital platforms.

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