Instagram can be a foreign place for banks because they don’t really understand how it plays a role in capturing attention and driving engagement.
First, Get Started.
There are many ways you can use Instagram. You can use it for building brand, engaging customers, prospects and partners in your community and winning new business. But it starts with having an active IG account.
Being active daily on IG with content that is centric to the bank’s message and cohesive in nature provides your audience(s) a sense of social proof. They see you are active and engaged and it makes them feel like you can fit in their life or business. If you don’t have an account or it’s not active, that first impression will be sour and could last in their minds for a long time.
1. Post great content
Instagram is very much a visual platform and should be treated as such.
Consider the narrative of the message you are sending with each post but also consider that it’s visually appealing. If you are personally using IG, think about how you use it as a user. You are scrolling through looking at images of beautiful things – food, places, people and art of every kind. There is a story behind everything that gives the image some depth and resonates with the user.
Your content should have a consistent thread through every post.
For our clients we generally pick three pillar messages and create content around those exclusively. For one of our banks their pillar messaging is Technology, People and Product. This gives us the basis for content we’ll create and then we have to figure out how to tell those stories consistently in a visual way.
It’s more than just posting the local event updates. Save that for Facebook.
The caption needs to be geared towards immersing them in your story, your company story, your customer story, your employee story. Immersing the reader into your narrative is extremely important.
Your customers and prospects want to feel connected to your company.
Instagram may not be the primary driver of leads for your company, but it can most definitely provide weight to your overall social proof. This is where people see that you are engaged on lots of levels and appreciate the fact that you have a vibrant/active company culture.
2. Targeted Ads
The simple truth is that most of the social platforms require paid ads to get reach to your audience. Organic posts don’t do much anymore besides adding to your page so when they land they see you are active and engaged.
To get started with paid ads, just boost some of your existing posts. It’s a great way to test the waters and see what kind of response you get before biting off a bigger paid campaign.
For a community bank, boosting to their local community area can be a good start. Create a post that has a targeted message and possibly even a specific call to action. Boost it from Instagram pushing it to your surrounding area and set your audience demographics. This is casting a wide net but will give you an initial idea of who wants to engage with your content.
Once you have boosted a few posts, you are ready to graduate to creating paid campaigns through the Facebook Business Manager platform.
This gives you many more targeting options which will allow you to put a specific message in front of a specific audience. The more specific the better.
This is a great way to get attention and start the process of getting engagement (likes/follows/comments/shares). Consistently pushing paid posts in front of your prospective audience allows new people to become aware of your brand and decide if it’s a good fit for them at some level.
It also allows you to start one to one conversations with people who have actively engaged your page and your content.
3. One to One Engagement
There are several ways to engage users on IG. If you are running paid ads, as we’ve mentioned, you’ll have people engaging with your content and your page and you’ll get notified of these interactions. This is the part where someone from your bank needs to dedicate time to just “being social”.
This means spending time clicking through to pages of users who liked your content and engaging them on their page and their posts. You would be surprised at what simply leaving a heart or smile emoji in a comment on a user’s post will do for them AND for you.
Other ways to find targeted users who would be a good fit to follow and engage with you are to search related hashtags, find related users and look at their followers or searching posts for related locations. A simple one to get started is searching the location and hashtag of your city and looking through the recent posts. Clicking through to users who are a good fit for your audience and engaging on their pages will create interest from them. This usually results in them coming to your profile and checking out your content and sometimes even following you.
It’s really a simple task to do but the key to this is consistency and authenticity.
If one of your internal marketing team members were to spend an hour a day engaging users various ways, you would definitely start to see your follower count and overall content engagement go up. And the best part is that you are actually building meaningful connections with people who could bank with you. You are introducing them to your brand and adding value to their lives.
After working with numerous banks over the years, I can tell you that most community banks don’t do stuff like this.
This is why you will dominate Instagram.
If you are struggling to find a place to start, take a look at some other banks that are posting great content and getting high levels of engagement. It will give you some ideas on how to launch better content for your brand.
Second, push out some simple boosted posts and see what kind of engagement you get.
Finally, ask someone from your marketing team to spend an hour a day engaging people and businesses in your community through Instagram. Trust me it will pay off!
If you are seeking expert advice on how to dominate Instagram, contact Signal Media Agency and we can help you work it out.