Social media is booming. Period.
I remember the days when Facebook was just a way for college students to connect. Now everyone can get an account, as well as businesses. Along with that, there are numerous platforms to join (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest to name a few).
Community banks and credit unions can benefit from using social media, and here’s why:
It Improves Your Search Engine Optimization Rankings and Brand Recognition
Google and other search engines may be calculating their rankings using social media as a significant factor. Having social media pages makes your company look legitimate and trustworthy to search engines. If you want to rank using certain keywords, posting to social media is to your benefit. The more you post, the more likely you will show up on the top in search engines.
The Harvard Business Review polled businesses on their social media use. Many found that using social media drove more business to their site and increased brand and product awareness among prospective customers.
It Attracts Prospective Clients/Members
Every social media profile you add is another path leading back to your site, and every piece of content you create drives new visitors to your site. When you build a following you’ll have access to your customers and prospective customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Everything you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit.
Don’t forget that your followers are able to share, like, link to and comment on your posts. Not to mention, the sharing of your posts will help your SEO as well (see point #1). That means you are able to reach people that were not already following you. This attracts new users and causes them to learn more about your bank or credit union, and possibly turn them into a customer/member.
TIP: If you are looking to attract millennials – this is your chance! They are all over this social media stuff.
It Builds Customer Loyalty
Once you start posting on social media, you are no longer just a bank or credit union. You are an organization that shares valuable information, and a company that they can connect with on an emotional and practical level.
Social media is a communication channel. It is a way for you to engage with others, just like talking to someone on the phone, in person or via email. You can share news about promotions or new hires, new products or special incentives, your community involvement, pictures, you name it! Essentially, it consistently puts you in front of your audience and makes your business more "human" and relatable.
According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media platforms enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. The report concludes "Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal."
It Provides Better Customer Service and Insights
Social media is extremely beneficial for fielding customer comments, concerns, and questions. Customers can easily and conveniently communicate directly with you, and you can quickly answer them in a public format that lets other customers/members and prospects see your responsiveness.
This is also an effective way for you to see what you are doing well, and what you need to improve. It’s a great way to immediately see what your customers think about your company, a new product, etc. (and you can see what they are saying about your competitors). You can even create polls on some platforms, or encourage your followers to write a review. Just make sure you have an action plan set in place on how you will respond to negative comments in a positive way.
It Decreases Marketing Costs
Writing a tweet, Facebook update, or any other posts on the various social media channels is free. It’s free to create an account, and manage your analytics. Of course, you can advertise and promote posts, which comes with a price. However, it is still cheaper than sending out thousands of mailers or producing a TV commercial.
If your community bank or credit union hasn’t already, it’s time to climb onto the social media bandwagon. If you have joined the social media crowd already, make sure you are spending time on the sites and have a social media plan in place.