Consumers and businesses are spending more of their time on Instagram. In fact, there are currently over 77 million users within the United States using the platform. And over 70% of U.S. companies will use Instagram for business in 2017.
What does this mean for community banks and credit unions?
Local banks and credit unions can build an audience, expand their reach, and bolster community engagement simply by creating an account and effectively using Instagram as a channel.
Why your FI should be using Instagram as a platform?
There is a lot to gain for financial institutions when it comes to Instagram. Outside of the massive audience, it's where your target customers are spending their time.
Statistics are great, but the real reasoning behind getting active on Instagram now comes down to three main points:
- Instagram humanizes banks and credit unions - giving them an edge over megabanks
- It’s a great resource for business development & community engagement
- Building a successful Instagram channel isn’t rocket science
Instagram gives banks and credit unions an edge
Instagram is traditionally thought of as a place to look at beautiful art, design, delicious food, and puppies. However, banks and credit union’s have a unique opportunity to stand out.
The key: Humanize your bank or credit union by showcasing yourself within the community.
Banks and credit unions can put their face to their name by:
- Sharing pictures of staff behind the scenes
- Highlighting friendly customers
- Showcasing themselves within the community
Doing so not only breaks the perception that financial institutions are boring but highlights a key point of difference between community financial institutions and megabanks.
Megabanks have big marketing budgets that enable them to tell stories, but they don’t have the finger on the pulse of their community like local banks and CU’s do.
Highlighting your employees, customers, members, and community through consistent content shows potential customers that you are more than just a financial institution. You’re a significant part of the community.
Instagram for community engagement & business development
Instagram users under 25 yrs./old spend more than 32 minutes a day on Instagram. Users over 25 yrs./old spend more than 24 minutes a day on the platform.
As a financial institution vying to get the attention of the highly-sought after “millennial”, this number should excite you.
But to actually hold their attention requires playing the long-game.
Megan Kongaika, AVP of Montana-based Altana FCU warns “The minute you try to sell them, you lose them. It (Instagram) should be relationship development.”
Luckily, banks and CU’s are sitting on a goldmine of content opportunities and Instagram is the perfect platform to show them off.
Use Instagram to:
- Highlight local businesses
- Showcase community events
- Share content from the community
- Engage with your community daily
By utilizing the above tactics banks and CU’s can grow their audience, build goodwill, create local relationships, and even drive business development leads.
Succeeding on Instagram as bank or credit union
It’s easy to set up a social media profile. The hard part is actually staying committed to its growth.
Instagram is no different. To better understand the key’s to successfully building an Instagram presence as a bank or credit union, we sat down with three institutions who are tackling the platform head-on.
The main takeaways from this conversation include:
If you can post at least one piece of content to Instagram a day, you are in business.
Run out of ideas?
- Take a fun Boomerang around the office
- Snap a pic from outside your branch
- Ask to share a community members post and tell their story
- Steal one of Kasasa’s Instagram posts
Keep the look consistent
Toni Mathews, Executive Strategist, and community manager at Trailhead CU curates the credit union's profile by sticking to one filter. She uses the app VSCO for filters, and always frames her pictures with the app, Afterlight.
Follow your community
To succeed on Instagram banks and CU’s should actively follow:
- Local restaurants/businesses
- Regular customers/members
- Local organizations – Ex. The high school football team
- Local newscasters
- Influencers within your community (bloggers, foodies, and more)
If you have five minutes throughout the day hop on Instagram and like their posts – it’s as easy as a double-tap.
Get employees involved (early on)
It’s not realistic to think you can capture every event or hilarious office moment by yourself. Aim to get a few social ambassadors within your financial institution to help with your content efforts.
Emily Mays, Marketing Director at Community Spirit Bank preaches consistency when it comes to building your ambassador team. Check in frequently, and remind employee’s day-of to send pictures as they take them.
Tag your location
Posts that location tag receive up to 79% more engagement than those that do not.
If you’re at an event tag the venue. If you’re at home or at the office consider tagging a popular destination in town. This will give you the most views on your post since users are searching for that location.
Instagram is the one social platform where you should really go all in with hashtags. They allow 30 per post.
Create a note on your phone and add about 25 hashtags to it. This way you can easily cut and paste when it comes time to post.
Of your 30 hashtags, be sure to include:
- At least one branded hashtag for your institution (Ex. #FreedomInstitution)
- Local hashtags – look to local influencers for ideas (Ex. #Austin #ATX #ATXeats #ShopLocalATX)
- Money related hashtags (Ex. #personalfinance #moneysaver #budgeting)
If you search for hashtags on Instagram the top bar lists popular related tags. Also look at what other popular accounts around town are using.
Utilize Instagram stories
Instagram stories allow you to post Snapchat style photos, Boomerangs, and 15-second clips that live on your profile for a day.
This added feature presents new opportunities for creating engaging content.
- Highlight office fun
- Share stories from a community event
- Share your money tips
- Ask money-related questions to employees (Ex. What’s one money tip you wish you knew in college?)
Megan Kongaika of Altana FCU has even experimented with “day-in-the-life” series. She recommends having less tech-savvy employees contributing to the day-in-the-life to send pictures directly to the social managers to keep quality consistent.
While you should always aim to play by compliance rules, the risks associated with experimenting with Instagram stories is low, since they only live for 24 hours before being deleted.
Toni Mathews confessed in a recent Instagram Panel that she posts to Trailhead CU’s Instagram Stories when she’s out and about the town on the weekend.
Design apps make content creation easy
Apps like Canva, PicMonkey, and more make creating images as a non-designer easy. If you’re new to them, check out this blog post.
All September long we are hosting Social Media Month – a free all-digital social media conference tailored directly to community banks and credit unions wanting to get more out of their social efforts.