By Emma Fitzpatrick
The content you publish. The voice you cultivate. The way you respond to customers. On social media, all these elements work in tandem to help you form a better relationship with your followers.
At the end of the day, isn’t what we’re all working towards? We want our customers to feel like they know us and love us. Social media, which is all about creating and cultivating a community, is one of the best ways for banks to accomplish this.
Academic research backs this up, too. A study done by the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business showed that customers who engage with companies on social media are more emotionally attached to those brands, resulting in a 15% stronger brand relationship. That deeper connection also means followers are more satisfied, loyal, and willing to recommend your business.
And get this. The more customers develop a relationship and emotional connection with a company, the more they humanize you. Customers think of you less like a bank that delivers a service and more like a friend, who has a distinct personality and identity they connect with.
Jumpstart this process by proactively humanizing your bank on social. Here’s how.
- Start with brand personality.
Can you describe your bank in only three to five words?
And remember—those words shouldn’t explain what you do. They should describe how customers think of you.
Dove, for instance, might be described by some consumers as accepting, genuine, and kind. Dove is like the friend you call when you need a pep talk. They always have your back and remind you to “be true to yourself.” Nike, on the other hand, is all about being persistent, driven, and determined. You’d call them if you’re on the verge of giving up on a big project.
If you need some help defining or refining your bank’s personality, ask these questions of your leaders, employees, and customers. Figure out who you are and then distill your essence.
- What are the three words that make your company unique?
- Why do people pick you over your competitors?
- What do you want people to feel after they use your service?
- Imagine your bank as a person. How would you describe yourself to a stranger?
Feeling a bit stuck? Google “brand personality quizzes” or “brand personality exercises” to get inspired.
- Know what people want.
As you’re crystallizing your bank’s personality, step back and pinpoint how people want you to act.
Sprout Social talked to 1,000 people to define the top characteristics consumers want from companies on social media.
- Honest (86%)
- Friendly (83%)
- Helpful (78%)
- Funny (72%)
Other research suggests that sincerity, competence, excitement, and sophistication are most important to improve customer satisfaction, with sincerity being at the top of the list.
In essence, it comes down to three things: Tell the truth. Be eager and ready to answer questions. And have fun!
- Make it real.
As you would guess, the easiest way to personify your brand is to choose an actual person to bring your brand’s personality to life (i.e., a spokesperson). Think of how memorable and effective Progressive’s Flo or Dos Equis’s The World’s Most Interesting Man is.
Using a spokesperson can close a significant gap (up to 16 points) between initial brand preferences, according to Elon University research.
Plus, then, you can designate that person as the “face” of your social media marketing as well. That will be a huge help for creating person-first content, like on Instagram Stories.
- Showcase your personality in the right way, in the right place.
According to that same Sprout Social study, people want to see your personality shine most on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. The study also pinpointed other ways to increase consumer sentiment.
In addition to compelling copy, use these proven tactics to make people feel more attached to your bank:
- Use more video clips and GIFs to illustrate your message.
- Respond to questions promptly. It’s all about connecting!
- Jump into conversations with followers in the comments.
- Be politically correct. You don’t want to offend your fans.
- Make fun of your competitors.
- Use slang, which doesn’t make you seem cool, but out of touch.
- Talk politics (especially considering the current climate).
Emma Fitzpatrick is a Philly-based freelance writer and marketer, whose specialties include content marketing, social media marketing and short, snappy writing. Pick her brain at firstname.lastname@example.org.