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Save Time and Transform Your Bank's Facebook Presence

By Matt Cunard, Sr. Digital Marketer

“Is Facebook even worth it for community banks anymore? Don’t all the changes the platform is making that kill organic reach make it a lost cause?” We get these questions on a weekly basis from bank marketers frustrated with the lack of reach and engagement they’re receiving.

Bank Marketers are Frustrated

But there’s so much more to social media for a bank than the reach of your posts. For a relatively small investment, you have the ability to engage an audience that is local to your market, digitally connected via their mobile device and integrated with social media. A powerful social media presence has the ability to boost the awareness of your brand, increase customer loyalty, drive new customer growth and bring new business to your bank. However, it requires an intelligent social media strategy.

Defining success for your bank’s Facebook efforts is about more than how many people you’re reaching. Success in social media today means understanding the limitations of the current environment, utilizing smart production strategies and dabbling in social advertising strategically.

“It seems like social media is turning toward a ‘pay to play’ model.” I’ve heard this numerous times, and it’s true to an extent. Facebook has not been shy about stating what will and will not show up in users News Feeds.

In a June 2016 update, Facebook VP of Product Management Adam Mosseri stated that “Facebook was built on the idea of connecting people with their friends and family,” noting that these posts are given preference over business posts. Therefore, it is imperative that you look at your social content strategy differently.

But before we go anywhere near tactics, understand this: you’re playing in a completely different social media environment than even as recent as two years ago. Following the same old processes and posting content that gets no engagement is a waste of time and effort. The rules of the game have changed, and you must adapt quickly or risk getting left behind.

That’s why it is crucial that you be smart in how you expend your energy and budget.

 

Think Smarter When it Comes to Content

We know that Facebook wants to show content that best fits with what each user enjoys. That means our content needs to move people to not just like, but comment and share with their friends. The more amplification our content receives, the more of our audience we’ll reach organically. However, you don’t have to break your break to produce this type of content.

These are some of my favorite strategies for creating compelling content while maintaining efficiency.

 

1. Embrace Evergreen Content

One great thing about personal finance is that there are basic tenets that never change: the need to save, understanding credit, knowing how interest works and so on. “Evergreen content” is content that has a longer shelf life because it’s always relevant. This means you only have to create a piece of content once, but it can easily be used again and again without spending time generating a new idea.

 

2. Forget About One and Done Content

For every piece of content you have (photos, blog posts, links to articles, etc.), write 5-10 variations of the accompanying post text. This gives you 5-10 new posts all from one piece of content. Since all of your followers are not active at the same time, this approach allows you to spread content out over numerous days and times in order to reach more of your audience.

I also love taking a larger piece of content on one medium and breaking it down into smaller bits. If you’re writing a blog post that includes a numbered list (just like this one), you can break each number out into its own graphic post. The main ideation is done, you just need the graphic to go with it.

 

3. Experiment with Posting Times

If you search Google for “best time to post on Facebook” you get 147 million results, so there’s no shortage of expert opinions on the matter. But the ideal time to post your content for your followers may differ from popular opinion. You need to find out when most of your audience is active on Facebook, which is surprisingly easy using Facebook Insights.

You can also try putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. If you post something at 1:30 p.m. on a Thursday, what are the chances they’ll see it? If most of your audience is at work, the post won’t perform well. So, while popular wisdom may say that the best time to post is Wednesdays between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., you may find that posting in the evening works better for your audience.

 

4. Experiment with Different Types of Content

Posting the right form of content for what your audience wants is also crucial for increasing organic reach. Facebook provides detailed post performance data that is vital to measure what’s working. Analyzing this data takes a little time, but will pay off.

My suggestion is to create a spreadsheet with the following columns running horizontally:

  • Day of the Week
  • Time
  • Post type (photo, video, link, text, etc.)
  • Reach
  • Engagement

Your vertical rows can be an abbreviated description of the post, i.e., “Birthday announcement for Carrie.” From there, examine each post for the following:

  • High reach, but low engagement- signifies that your timing was right, but the content didn’t strike a chord.
  • Low reach, but high engagement- your content was more on point, but your timing was off
  • High reach and high engagement- jackpot! These are your “unicorns” (more on that in a moment)

This type of analysis gives you valuable data to build toward the ultimate end result: the right type of content at the right time that earns higher engagement, and therefore more organic reach.  All of this great content is also the basis for social media advertising because great ads start with fantastic content.

 

Make the Most of Social Ads (Huge Budget Not Required!)

I know you may shutter at the thought of spending money on social media. But remember: you’re in a different environment now that requires high-quality content AND strategic spending to reach the desired audience.

 

5. Identify Your Top Content, Then Put it to Work

One strategy I really like for social ads is finding your high-performing content in terms of reach and engagement (what digital marketing influencer Larry Kim calls “a unicorn”) and promoting it. But in order to identify your unicorns, you have to post a lot of content.

For this experiment, you’ll want a month’s worth of content in order to provide enough data. This is where evergreen content, writing multiple post copy for each piece of content and breaking longer form content into bite-sized chunks will help. Organize all of your content in a spreadsheet that includes what day and time you’re going to post. Then, use Facebook’s Scheduler feature to schedule all of your content in advance.

Once the month is up and all of your content has been published, it’s time to dive into Facebook Insights to see which posts performed best. Next, promote those specific posts. Even $5 or $10 per post can provide great results depending on who you target with your promoted posts. However, you don’t want to target just anyone.

 

6. Be Picky About Targeting

Your spending needs to be strategic. When working with a small ad budget, it’s best to be as specific as possible with targeting to focus on the people most likely to become to your follower and your customer, if they aren’t already.

Facebook offers an abundance of targeting options. Demographics (age, gender, geographic location, etc.) are great, but look at interests, behavior, job titles and other deeper level targeting methods to find your core of potential customers.

 

7. Re-Engage with Remarketing

Facebook also offers remarketing, which is a great choice if you’re driving traffic to your website. Your ads will be served up to past website visitors when they come back to Facebook to re-engage them. Remarketing helps people become more familiar with your brand and the services you provide. It can also increase engagement and conversions while cutting ad costs, which is perfect for a small budget.

 

In Conclusion: Work Smarter So You Don’t Have to Work Harder

The upside of a high-performing social media presence is too good for your bank to pass up: greater brand awareness, increased customer loyalty, and yes, more business.

Understanding that social media has changed greatly in the past five years means you have to utilize the data available to you to inform your social media content strategy. Plus, smart content production strategies help you do more in less time. When combined with strategic social ads, you’ll begin to see truly awesome results in both organic and paid reach.

We’re in a period of adaptability where the biggest budget doesn’t necessarily win. The reward for banks and bank marketers who are agile enough to adjust and work smarter is a distinct competitive advantage over their less nimble counterparts.

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