Social Media Strategy: Best Practices

By Jenny Watz

Once you’ve decided to incorporate social media into your marketing mix and have done some strategic goal-setting, it’s time to develop a plan that will help you achieve those goals. By now, you know why you want to be involved with social media—and what you hope to accomplish with your presence on social media channels.

Your reasons may be in sync with the top reasons other banks use social media, as detailed in the ABA State of Social Media in Banking report. These include:

  • Community engagement
  • Deepening relationships with existing customers
  • Thought leadership/brand awareness

You need a plan to communicate with your audience.

Social media is about building and maintaining relationships, and you will need to speak your audience’s language by creating a dialogue that is compelling, relevant, and authentic. In order to do this, you need to know who your audience is. Establish customer personas and understand where their pain points are to effectively communicate with them and address their needs.

Establish customer personas.

Defining who your customers are is critical to effective execution of your communication strategies. A consumer persona is a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customer. So how do you create a consumer persona?

Use data to develop a persona based on the following information:

  • Demographics
  • Lifestyle behaviors
  • Pain points
  • Hopes and dreams

One of your consumer personas may look something like this:

Keep in mind that you will have more than one consumer persona. By building your personas, you can better understand who your customers are and where they spend their time online. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and other channels can be effective means of getting your messages through to your audiences.

Create content.

Where do you start? Since you’ve developed customer personas, you have a better understanding of what interests them and what concerns they have. Make sure the content you develop is useful to your audience. Whether it’s a short tweet or a white paper, your content should address your customers’ specific needs.

Some examples of content include:

  • Blog posts
  • Articles on financial planning, loan or mortgage preparedness
  • Community outreach events
  • Specials or promotions

Once you’ve created content, it’s time to start posting.

Post your content.

Create a content calendar to determine when you’ll post content, which channels you’ll use, and the types of content you’ll disseminate (blog post, infographic, video, etc.). Your calendar should include local and seasonal events. Also, plan for some lighter content to create a pleasant experience for your customers.

Maintain a consistent presence on your social channels. Certain times of day may resonant better with your customers, so understand your personas to determine when they’re most likely to be engaged online.

Don’t forget advertising.

Paid advertising is an option on social media channels and can be a cost effective way to increase your reach. Some options include:

  • Facebook Ads – These ads are targeted to a specific audience and can be focused on location, demographics, interests and other factors. This can be a good option for targeted campaigns.
  • Boosted Posts If you want to promote an event, blog post or certain company news, a boosted post can help you reach a wider audience for as little as $5.
  • Promoted Tweets You can promote your message on Twitter through Promoted Tweets, and you only pay if someone engages with them.
  • LinkedIn Sponsored Updates You can use this option to target a specific audience and reach people outside of your network to feature some of your best news and content.

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].  

Online training in digital, mobile and social media from ABA.