Plansmith Blog

Social Media 101: How to Get Your Community Bank Started

Posted by Danielle Slowey on 2/17/15 4:30 PM

Although social media has been around for a while now, business profiles are still relatively new. Many financial institutions are still finding their way to the social media arena. As social media keeps growing in popularity, it is important that financial institutions climb on the bandwagon as well.

I have been on various social media platforms for my own personal use, and have created profiles for multiple businesses. I can honestly say that it is easy to create your profiles and get going. Here is how you get started!

1. Pick Your Platforms

Let’s be serious, there are so many social media platforms to choose from. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram…the list goes on. Here’s the good news – you don’t have to be on all of them. In fact, you should only pick a few to start with.

So how do you choose which platforms to be on? Use what your customers and prospects are using. The most popular ones are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If you decide you want to be on additional platforms later, go ahead. Just make sure you have the time and personnel to manage all of them, and that you have content for each platform.

2. Create Your Profiles

Creating your profiles is pretty easy. Each platform will walk you through step-by-step in creating your new profile. Remember to include:

  • Profile Picture/Cover Photo
    Use a profile picture that represents your financial institution (your company name/logo). Your cover photo can be anything from something seasonal related to a promotional banner.
  • Description of Your Company
    Add a brief description of your company. You can add when you were founded, and/or something that sets you apart from other financial institutions.
  • Contact Info
    Include information on how you can be reached. Add your phone number, a general email address, your website, and your main location’s address (for Twitter, just include your website).
  • Like/Follow Other Companies
    Liking and following other companies is not only a good way to try to get those companies to follow you back, but you can find valuable information on their pages that you can share. Follow your clients’/local companies, associations you are a part of, and organizations that you support.
  • Start Posting!
    Now you are ready to start sharing updates about what is going on at your company, pictures and videos, important information that your clients/members may want to know, events, you name it! *TIP: Most of your updates should not be self-promoting. For more posting ratios, read this article.

If you get stuck, each website has their own help section.

3. Manage Your Profiles

Getting your financial institution set up on social media is not enough. Now comes the fun part – managing your profiles.

  • Social Media Manager
    The first priority is finding the person who is going to manage your sites. Some companies hire a person specifically for this position. However, smaller companies usually don’t need to do this. Find someone who is interested in social media and has the time to keep up with posting and monitoring the platforms.
  • Posting and Updating
    Like I said before, there are many different items you can choose to post. Try to post at least once a week at the minimum to stay in front of your audience. Update your cover photos periodically to showcase your newest incentives or community giving. Buffer has a great post on what to post and when for different platforms.
  • Monitoring and Responding
    It’s important to monitor any comments, reviews, or responses on your pages, both positive and negative. Thank people for following your pages or giving you a compliment, and gracefully address complaints and negative feedback. Do notignore them. Have a plan in place for how you are going to handle criticism.
  • Reporting
    Make sure to track your page visits, new followers, comments, and likes via the insights on each platform. You can see how many people have clicked on your links, how many people your posts have reached, what time they are looking at your posts, and your follower demographics. This can help you decide what is working and what is not, and what types of posts your audience is interested in. You can also schedule posts (on Facebook) so you can get in front of your audience when they are most likely to see your posts.

4. Build Your Following

If no one knows you are on social media, how will you get followers? Send an announcement email or mailer to your current clients, put the icons with links on your website (the new trend is in the top right hand corner of your webpage), add the icons to your company mailers and emails, add a message to the signature of your personal emails.

You can also promote posts or advertise on each platform. Pricing is different for each, so make sure to do your research. Starting a contest or promotion also helps to get followers. Be creative! You can offer to donate to a charity for each new like you get, give away a prize, you name it. The social media world is your oyster.

Don’t worry if you don’t end up getting 1,000 followers overnight. It takes time!

Bank Director had a great article on engaging your customers/members as well. Check it out!

5. Compliance

Make sure that your financial institution is staying compliant when using social media. In December 2013, the FFIEC issued a guidance on Social Media. Be sure to review it and pass it along to whomever is managing your social media presence.

BONUS: Here are some good sites to look at for more ideas and help with Social Media:


Social Media Examiner

Sprout Social

Topics: community bank strategy, social media for community banks, social media, community bank budget software, community bank marketing strategy, community bank budgeting

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