By Jenny Watz
Social media is a cornerstone of most companies’ marketing and customer service departments. It’s a cost-effective way to share information, engage with your audience, and build brand awareness. Banks have been diving into the social media pool with some necessary caution surrounding reputational, legal, and operational risk. Believe it or not, that’s the easy part. Once the risk factor is worked out, the next challenge is figuring out a successful strategy.
There are several key components of strategic social media. One of the most important is goal setting.
After all, when it comes to social media, confidence is key. And having a strong idea of what you want to accomplish online will help build that confidence. Start by asking a few questions.
Why do you want your bank to be on social media?
According to the ABA State of Social Media in Banking report, the top 3 reasons banks use social are:
- Community engagement
- Deepening relationships with existing customers
- Thought leadership/brand awareness
Your goals could include one of these or all, but if you don’t know, you might have a harder time streamlining your social media, measuring its effectiveness, and defining your voice.
Purpose plays a big part in a successful social media presence. When you know what your goals are, and you define what success means to you, you have a direct point to which to direct your process. Knowing what to track becomes clear, as does your ability to track your success.
In a perfect world, what would be the outcome of your social media presence?
Would you have a certain number of new customers? See an increase in online conversations discussing your bank? More conversions on your website directed by social media?
You’ll find it helpful to have some regular processes in place to help you test and measure what works best to help you achieve your goals. While you can determine your own best-practices when it comes to tracking, here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
1. Track the times of day that you post. Find out when your audience seems to be most vocal and interactive with you. Don’t worry if a few of your posts at the beginning come up short. The only way to know what times don’t work is to post a hearty sampling at all times of day. In general, good times to post are:
- Facebook – Weekdays, between 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
- Twitter – Weekdays, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- LinkedIn – Morning, lunch, and evening (when people are checking emails, etc)
- Instagram – Weekdays, anytime
2. Organize a social media calendar. Keep track of what you’ll be posting when. This is a great place to note when some upcoming events at your company are taking place, as well as community events that you might want to highlight. Download this content calendar to use as an example.
3. Schedule some time for measurement. Reflect on the past week or month to see what was helpful or engaging to your audience, as well as what they ignored completely. Don’t use this time blindly. Schedule your measurement time in advance and have a list of items you’ll want to measure. Start with some high-level key performance metrics that will reflect your goals. For example:
- Goal: Community Engagement
- Measure: Comments, Likes, Reactions, Replies, Mentions, Post Clicks, Link Clicks
4. Determine a baseline against which to compare your progress. Maybe you start with zero—and build from there. Don’t make aggressive baselines that you will have trouble hitting from the get-go. No one likes being set up for disappointment.
5. Build other regular checkpoints into your calendar as well. Use them to dive into each of your goals to see how you and every other member of your team are faring when it comes to social media. How often you collect measurement data is up to you. Collect weekly data on specific campaigns; measure monthly and quarterly for an overall view of social media performance.
Once you have your social media goals in place, you’ve successfully positioned yourself to start creating, packaging, distributing, and repurposing social media content.
At this point, you’ll need to create a customer persona and establish their pain points. Are you targeting millennials? Baby boomers? Gen X? Defining who you’re talking to takes the guesswork out of what content to create and share. In our next article, we’ll discuss best practices for posting.
Jenny Watz is the content and community manager for Gremlin Social, a company that combines social media marketing with compliance tools to make it easy for banks to master the social media landscape and build business using social networks. Gremlin Social helps ensure safe use of social media communication while maximizing social marketing campaigns, guiding strategies, and monitoring return on investments. Email: [email protected].