Consumers gravitate toward community banks in part because they enjoy supporting locally owned businesses. That relationship should be reciprocal — as customers support your bank, give back to them by supporting their community.
To show your commitment to giving back, you need to tell audiences your community involvement story — and the most natural vehicle for doing so is social media. There, you can showcase your bank’s involvement while also engaging community members in real time.
To start, recognize that your best social media tools are your employees. When employees share branded content on their own social pages, they can have much further reach than your bank’s official accounts alone. Plus, there’s added authenticity when marketing messages come from people instead of brands.
One of the easiest ways employees can show off your bank’s involvement is by sharing content from events they already are attending under your brand’s name. For example, if your team sets up a booth at the county fair, have an employee take a photo and write up a quick quote about what a good time they’re having. Community members who see this content online will appreciate the involvement and share your team’s excitement.
Sharing customer success stories is another great way employees can strike a relatable chord. If one of your loan officers helped a young couple close on their first mortgage, for instance, the officer could share a photo and the story behind it. Many people will relate, which helps your brand draw connections and shows how your employees contribute to the greater good in your community. A photographer doesn’t have to take these photos, either — a simple iPhone picture can actually feel more authentic. The key is to be real with customers on social and share content you know will resonate.
When sharing community-oriented content, remember the importance of tagging, sharing and engaging in conversations. When an employee posts about your booth at the county fair, for example, they could tag the company that ran the booth next to yours and tell the audience they had a great time with other local businesses. The business might share that post and expand your reach to an even larger audience. The same goes for the young couple who just secured their first mortgage — the loan officer can tag them in the post so they can share that moment with their networks as well. And if anyone comments on these posts with questions, employees can jump in to answer. Audiences will see not only your team’s involvement, but also your continued engagement.
These tactics might seem simple, but they can go a long way in demonstrating your commitment to the wider community. They’re often the most commented, liked, and shared content across bank social channels.
Of course, anyone in the financial industry knows social media comes with hurdles. Due to FINRA, banks face an added layer of scrutiny for electronic communications. Violating regulations could mean steep fines, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. Additionally, considering that many community banks have small teams and few marketing resources, compliance concerns are valid.
However, there is a way for even small community banks to have a bustling social presence without violating FINRA regulations. Have your marketing team put together batches of content that compliance teams can pre-approve for employees to share. A library of pre-approved content allows for regular and consistent posting without the fear of violating regulations. From there, build an easy-to-follow compliance and approval workflow for any comments, messages, or other engagements your employees might have with customers on social.
By elevating your bank’s community involvement on social media in a compliant way, you can strengthen relationships with existing customers and secure new ones. Be authentic, show off your community relationships, and engage with your audience members. They’ll thank you for it!
Douglas Wilber is the CEO of Gremlin Social, Reach him at [email protected] or 314-492-6800.