By Katharine Shindoll
Let’s talk about social media, shall we? By now, financial institutions know it’s extremely important to have a social media presence. But the task of keeping each platform up to date gets complicated very quickly, especially because the popularity of individual social platforms tends to ebb and flow. Even more frustrating, the content you use for each individual social media platform should be different—otherwise why would your customers follow more than one? Plus, each platform is constantly changing its formatting.
Long story short, it’s a bear of a job to keep up with social media. Given the recent algorithm changes to both Facebook and Instagram, there is no time like the present to review the basics of each major social outlet.
Here’s what you need to know.
- Link and image posts perform 75% better than posts with just text. We are very visual people and have increasingly short attention spans. Increase your engagement by making most of your posts media-rich.
- All images should have horizontal orientation or, as a minimum, be square. Images that have a vertical orientation tend to shift left when posted, making the post look sloppy and less enticing.
- Business pages allow you to optimize your links. Changing the image, title and description associated with an article is as simple as clicking on the element you wish to change. Even better? Once a link loads, you can delete the URL from the text box to clean up the overall look of your post.
- Including a picture or GIF in your tweets make them twice as readable. There is a reason Twitter added the GIF feature…it makes tweets more engaging. Making your Twitter feed more visual will keep your members scrolling longer.
- Images should have horizontal orientation. Much like Facebook, the width of the Twitter feed makes vertical images appear skewed to the left.
- Links perform better when located in the middle of a tweet. It may sound strange, but links located in the middle of a sentence or phrase are more likely to get clicked.
- Many sizing options are available–but beware of the sharing feature. Being able to connect your Instagram profile to both Twitter and Facebook makes social media management a lot easier. However, if you choose to post a vertical image on Instagram and share it to Twitter and Facebook, it will auto-align left and not be optimal for engagement and/or shares on either of the other platforms.
- Establish your Instagram aesthetic with filters. My favorite apps for editing photos are Snapseed and VSCOcam.
- Highly favors vertical images. Vertical images take up more space on the Pinterest feed, which means people are more likely to see your content—the longer the better. Furthermore, any horizontal image uploaded to Pinterest is auto-resized to a small thumbnail regardless of file size.
- One of the best platforms for sharing content. Pinterest is one of the best cases of perpetuity sharing I’ve ever seen. Articles posted and shared months beforehand can resurge with one or two shares at a later date.
- Highly favors link posts—much like Facebook and Instagram. After all, LinkedIn gets an SEO boost when it’s seen as a resource, too.
- Only share technical content. LinkedIn was developed as a professional networking tool, so make sure you keep it that way. Tailor your links and images to your members, colleagues and target audience with that in mind.
- Participate in LinkedIn groups. Groups are one of the most under-utilized tools for professional networkers and I highly encourage requesting invites for relevant groups, like the American Bankers Association group, and even starting your own.
This all sounds great but it’s a lot of work for little return, right? Wrong. Taking an extra 20 minutes to both properly optimize your links or size your images will do wonders for your SEO and overall social authority. Google registers clicks and engagement on each social platform associated with your web page, which means the better you perform on social media, the better your site does on SERPs (search engine results pages).
As with images on your site, optimizing for social platforms is as simple as intelligently naming your file and including descriptive captions. Even though one image won’t work for all social platforms, resizing multiple graphics for your social accounts will quickly become part of the content creation routine.
Want to go the extra mile and improve your image quality? Try sizing up for crisper images (responsive sites will auto-resize your photos to fit the width of your screen regardless of pixel width). By increasing the width of your images to 1.5 or 2 times the width of your content feed, your images will appear higher quality. You can also try improving your overall image composition. Did you know your native language dictates how you view images? For example, I subconsciously focus on the top left corner of images because English is read from left to right, top to bottom.
A note about SNAPCHAT: what started as a silly video messenger a few years ago has now become one of the most popular social media outlets in the world. Not only are companies paying for sponsored, location-specific filters on photos and videos, they are snapping original content in the form of micro-video blogs. Companies like Buzzfeed, National Geographic and The Food Network have their own channels with 6-10 minutes of new content every day. I’m not saying financial institutions should immediately add Snapchat to their social wheelhouses, but it should definitely be on your radars.
Katharine Shindoll is Digital Marketing Coordinator for Geezeo, a personal financial management (PFM) solutions provider dedicated entirely to financial institutions. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online training in digital, mobile and social media from ABA.