Social media is a dynamic and ever-evolving landscape. For instance, Twitter recently changed their “Favorites” (previously a star icon) to “Likes” (the new heart icon), a move that hasn’t been well-received by many active, longtime users. Social networks are constantly tweaking their platforms, sometimes making changes that feel arbitrary or superficial. Other changes, however, are more substantive, providing marketers with new methods to potentially showcase their products and build their brand. Here are three social media features you should be aware of.
1. Facebook Carousel
If you’ve posted a link to Facebook recently, you’ve probably noticed the new image display. This nifty little update has been dubbed the Carousel. Carousel gives you the option to feature between three to five ads (images or videos) into a single scrollable post, allowing you to showcase a range of products or promotions. This new ad format is reportedly driving ten times the traffic compared to static sponsored posts on Facebook.
For example, you want to run a lending campaign. You now can feature your auto, home, business and personal loan options in one single post. All the user has to do is scroll through the images and click on the corresponding link to see the information they want.
People can’t resist something new, so they click and scroll. But remember that you only have an about two seconds to grab a user’s attention on the web, and some users may not even see/realize there’s a scroll option, or they will just move on if what’s relevant to them isn’t the first image. There are some very creative ways to leverage Facebook’s new Carousel (like these 7 ideas from AdWeek), but it could be difficult for financial marketers to translate these concepts to the banking world.
Indeed banks and credit unions will likely encounter the same challenges that they’ve run into on Pinterest — particularly with respect to imagery. What photos should we use to depict a service like banking or lending? Do you go for cliché images of smiley happy people who reflect a diverse and racially-balanced demographic? Or do you try to find images of the end goal — the new home, the new car, the dream vacation, or the remodeled kitchen? Most financial institutions have struggled to find a visual vocabulary that engages consumers. That’s why — for most bank and credit union marketers — this feature will probably be best leveraged in specific instances, like step-by-step tutorials, or featuring multiple blog posts in a single post.
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2. Facebook Notify
In an effort to compete with the instantaneous nature of Twitter, Facebook released Notify in early November. It’s an independent app, providing seemingly endless possibilities.
Once a user has downloaded the app, they set up “stations” across various categories (sports, entertainment, news). Then the user will receive real-time updates as “push notifications” — as they happen, and they appear on the user’s locked screen!
How does this apply to your bank or credit union? Well, the next time there’s a major disaster (like the 2015 Floodpocalypse that sunk the South in October), you could be sending out real-time alerts. How great would it be to send out a notification about an immediate branch closing — directly to your customers’ phones, instead of relying on email?
The downside? Notify from Facebook is currently only available in the U.S. for iPhone users.
3. Instagram Advertising
Instagram has unveiled advertising capabilities — exciting news for brand marketers. You can now run three different types of ads:
- Photo Ads – Use beautiful imagery to tell your story — from brand awareness to product campaigns.
- Video Ads – Video ads up to 30 seconds long allow you to create a more immersive ad by tapping the power of sight, sound and motion.
- Carousel Ads – Very similar to Facebook’s new Carousel option that allows you to bring an additional layer of depth to photo ads. Users can swipe to see additional images, with a call to action button below each frame.
But what if your financial institution isn’t using Instagram? That’s perfectly okay! You don’t have to have an active Instagram account to leverage their new ad platform; you can set up Instagram ads through their self-service platform. You can learn more about Instagram advertising in this FAQ on their website.
Instagram advertising will push you creatively because it has to be bold, and far enough “out there” that it catches a users’ eyes. (Hint: that means it can’t scream “this is an ad for a credit union.”) And with this platform, it’s probably going to be more about brand awareness than product push. If a Millennial sees your bank or credit union doing edgy and fun things on a hip social platform, they’ll be more likely to remember your name when they’re ready to act on a financial need.
Allison Wyman is the Assistant Digital Content Manager at Your Marketing Co., a boutique marketing firm providing business development and product development services exclusively to financial institutions.