Traditional advertising channels like TV, print, and radio are quickly going the way of the dinosaur, but advertising trends in banking seem to be lagging. Digital advertising spend eclipsed that of TV all the way back in 2017, yet many financial institutions still spend the bulk of their advertising budgets on channels that provide little opportunity for customization, measurement, and direct customer engagement.
Even banks that are investing in digital typically aren’t investing enough. Your typical company only spends about 35 percent of its marketing budget on digital campaigns, according to Financial Brand Forum. For some, that might sound like a large chunk of the budget, but, in fact, it’s not nearly enough. According to the Financial Brand Forum, banking providers should be allocating, at minimum, half of their marketing budgets to digital channels — with social media being a core area of focus.
At Gremlin Social, we believe that harnessing the collective reach of your employees’ social media presence offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect more deeply with consumers, position employees as thought leaders in their communities, and, ultimately, build trust with customers that translates to positive business results.
Returns That Can’t Be Beat
Traditionally, banks built their customer relationships in person, typically at the branch level. But as consumers have stopped visiting physical banks as much, banking leaders have been forced to re-evaluate how they engage potential and current customers. Quite frankly, traditional advertising media won’t deliver the returns you need.
For example, it costs anywhere between $3,000 and $23,000 a month to rent out a billboard. Naturally, there will be “impressions,” but that kind of engagement is short-lived and impersonal. Analog media buys don’t allow for tailored, two-way messaging, and that frustrates consumers. Consider that the Financial Brand Forum found that 50 percent of consumers feel bothered when companies don’t deliver relevant, personalized experiences.
When banks commit marketing budgets to social media, however, their efforts pay dividends. For one thing, social media is more cost-effective than traditional media buys. For every $28 companies must spend to reach 1,000 people on TV, they need only spend $2.50 to reach the same number of people on social media. And thanks to modern tools, it’s easier than ever for banks to track the performance of their social media posts and adjust their strategy to ensure marketing dollars are well-spent.
More importantly, however, when banks invite their employees to participate in their social media marketing efforts — a strategy called social selling — they ultimately build stronger, more sustainable customer relationships. Here are three reasons you should shift your marketing dollars away from traditional advertising and more toward an employee-driven social media strategy in 2019:
- You’ll reach new audiences. When a brand hands its social identity over to employees, its products and personality are broadcast to a more receptive audience. Case in point: When Whole Foods wanted to compare social media engagement numbers, it conducted an experiment. The company had employees share a branded post to their personal social media accounts and shared the same post to the company’s own page. Employees’ posts received eight times more engagement than the post on Whole Food’s account, even though the content was the same. If Whole Foods had stuck to posting on its own page, it would have limited its reach significantly.
- You’ll validate employees. Research by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research found that as many as one in five employees believe they go the extra mile for their companies but aren’t adequately recognized for it. Without tangible validation, employees will stop putting in the effort to help their companies succeed. When you tap into internal employees to distribute relevant, interesting content on social media, you not only extend your brand’s reach, but also help employees feel they contribute to driving your company forward.
- You’ll humanize your brand. What better way to connect with humans than to embrace the humanity of your organization on social media? Social selling makes your posts more visible, more engaging, and more shareable. This humanization adds trust and credibility to your brand name. When 72 percent of people trust posts shared by friends and family, putting your employees first on social media differentiates your voice from competitors.
Make 2019 the year that social media becomes a core component of your bank’s advertising and marketing budget.
Stay tuned for part two in our “Calculating Costs” series, where we’ll articulate how banks can manage the social media activity of employees at scale.