Why Your Social Media Strategy is a #Fail

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How can anyone say your bank or credit union’s social media strategy is failing without even looking at it? Because there is simply one thing that most financial institutions have overlooked: social media is mobile media. As a result, they’ve jumped on board the social bandwagon without really knowing what tune is even being played.

Social media has broken free from the restrictions of the home office, where it was once tethered to surge protectors. Mobile devices have overtaken social media networks.

Facebook mobile usage has grown to 67% of active, monthly users. Twitter reports that 60% of their active users are primarily on mobile. Pinterest is reporting that 53% of their user base activity is mobile. Mobile device sales also indicate that mobile usage has not yet peaked. It’s still growing.

“We’ve transitioned and are now a mobile company.”
– Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook

Mobile users are also more active on social networks than their desktop user counterparts. While people may work primarily on desktop computers and laptops, they live on their mobile devices.

Most Websites Are Not Mobile Friendly

Mobile devices are currently outpacing our readiness for their arrival. Internet ready mobile devices outpaced PC sales back in February of 2012. Yet one recent study shows that 90% of today’s websites are unprepared for mobile visitors.

What does it mean to be unprepared for mobile visitors? This means that a website does not work in a way that the user can easily interact with it. Often times this means using the pinch and zoom feature, “fat-fingering” tiny buttons, and pressing the back button to get out. You might also be using Adobe’s Flash technology, which is completely non-functional on all Apple devices.

Read More: The Future of Online Banking: The Flagship Branch

Driving Website Traffic via Social Media

When people post links to your website on Twitter or Facebook, you want people to click. You want them to read your content. It’s every marketer’s hope that website visitors find what they are looking for. That’s a key online driver of positive brand experiences.

Let’s assume that a conservative volume of your bank or credit union’s social media efforts are viewed on mobile devices. We’ll say 50% of all your views and interactions happen within the mobile device world. If you are sending those people to a non-mobile-friendly website, you have just reduced your effectiveness by up to half. And worse, around 44% of them will not be coming back for a return visit.

More people are turning to mobile devices as their primary means of accessing the internet, even when they are at home and have a desktop or laptop computer handy. Many teenagers use their mobile devices as their primary connection to the internet. Plenty don’t consider purchasing a laptop or desktop computer a priority when they move away from home.

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Rethinking Your Mobile Strategy

Having a mobile app for your financial institution is not a complete mobile strategy. Everyone needs to stop thinking of mobile and desktop computing as two separate channels. However, the issue relates to the entire user experience on the web. It’s time to start making all of your web site’s content easily accessible from any device. Let’s explore some solutions.

Read More: Blending the Desktop and Mobile Experience

The Mobile Website Solution

This is the oldest and most commonly used solution. A mobile website solution involves creating an entirely different version of your website for mobile devices. Then, you redirect mobile devices to an alternate URL. You might see your favorite news site send mobile visitors to a stripped down version of their website. This method has several pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Fast page load times
  • Mobile focused design

Cons:

  • You must build and maintain two websites
  • Mobile links are shared with desktop users and vice versa
  • Statistics and analytics management is more difficult
  • You don’t always know what device the user has

Read More: The Future of Online Banking: Know Thy Visitor

The Responsive Web Design Solution

Responsive Web Design (RWD), also known as multi-device design, is moving its way to the forefront as major companies, such as Microsoft, are coming on board with it. This method takes a single web site and automatically adjusts it to fit any device.

Pros:

  • Works on any Internet capable device
  • Only one website to maintain
  • Links always pull up the same page
  • Mobile focused design

Cons:

  • Your existing site will require an overhaul
  • RWD may take longer to develop

Taking a Mobile First Approach

When looking at your web design strategy, the best approach is to start with mobile. We call this method “Mobile First.” This means revamping the current structure of a web site and creating an incredible mobile experience. Once that is accomplished, your web team can begin making adjustments as screen sizes increase. Using the responsive design model, your website can then add, move, or remove things on the page based on screen size.

Think of it like this: It’s easier to gracefully grow your page than it is to shrink it.

In July of 2011, I re-launched my Financial Institution’s web site using responsive web design with a mobile first approach. Having all of our site’s content available to mobile users has proven to be a healthy part of our mobile and social media strategies. When a Mobile Facebook user clicks a link to our latest headline, they feel welcomed. They can pass the page on to anyone, regardless of which size of screen is used to view it.

The Bottom Line

If your bank or credit union’s web presence is not mobile friendly, your social media presence will be largely diminished when driving traffic to your web site. In effect, you are losing the sale and pushing visitors away. Mobile users shouldn’t have to work twice as hard to navigate your website. Instead, make them feel at home and welcome with a mobile friendly approach.


Tim Bunch is a web strategist, designer and developer at CapEd FCU. As a web standards fanatic, he passionately pursues best practices in web design. Tim is also an avid WordPress developer, music maker and coffee drinker.

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