For years banks have followed the same approach of purchasing a certain number of newspaper, television and radio ads each period. Banks knew what they were getting from their marketing budget and were happy to take mediocre returns on investment because it was the safe option.
Year on year, the financial services industry have been significantly increasing their budgets for digital ads. From 2014 to 2015 there was an 18.9% increase, up to $7.3 billion. This figure is only going to increase in the years to come.
The traditional forms of bank marketing are no longer playing it safe, they are actually risky and loss makers.
A lot of banks have seen growth stagnate as they continue to pour a large portion of their marketing budgets into traditional methods like print and television advertising. Banks that have been adopting more modern approaches have been galloping ahead in their stead.
This is why Avidia Bank decided to take a different approach and focus on going deep and organic with digital, which yielded some substantial results.
Avidia Bank’s Digital Transformation
We will take Avidia Bank, a community bank based in Massachusetts as a case study.
Unlike many areas of the financial services industry that are slow and inflexible when it comes to areas like customer engagement, Avidia Bank has used social media to achieve significant results.
Between July and September 2015 their new digital marketing strategy yielded them an increase of 13% in their mobile app sign-ups, a 10% increase in Facebook followers and positive sentiment of 83% for their Cardless Cash program.
Let us have a look at what exactly they did to achieve these significant results.
1. Going Beyond Just the Product
While most people understand that there is a lot to be gained by going digital, many banks tend to leave things at their product level without going any deeper.
This is something Avidia Bank avoided as they understand that institutions in the financial services sector have to be aware that now more than ever, the ways in which banks communicate with customers is changing.
People no longer want to take the time out of their day to meet a bank manager in person or deal with an automated phone line. Instead, they want immediate contact channels.
Avidia Bank knew that the most convenient option for people when it comes to communication is through their phone. This is where people spend most of their time on social media, so it makes sense to go where the attention is.
You want to go to your audience with your marketing methods, not the other way around.
This is why Avidia become one of the early adopters of using Periscope for banking services. This is a live platform which they used to have live Q&As.
These streams were held regularly throughout the day in different places. They used this medium as an opportunity to educate customers on how much more efficient the use of mobile banking is than using ATMs. They were also able to discuss any other concerns that these viewers had.
It didn’t stop here either, as they would record these live streams and re-purpose the content across their various social media platforms. This is a time efficient and effective way to pump out regular, good quality content.
2. Streamlining Social Media Management
While Avidia were fully aware of the great impact that social media could have on their business, they also understand that it can be a resource consuming effort on a daily basis to ensure that fresh content is being pumped out on time.
This is why they made sure to use social media management tools like Hootsuite to integrate all of their social media accounts onto one platform. This allowed them to instantly analyze trends, industry news and interact with their customers.
It also allowed for content to be uploaded in bulk and scheduled at certain times of the day to make it a more efficient process.
They were even able to identify influencers who would be beneficial for their business through Hootsuite.
There was a case study released by Nielsen Catalina Solutions which showed that influencer marketing delivered an additional $285 worth of sales per 1000 view, which was an x11 ROI compared to other digital media.
Avidia managed to increase their engagement on Twitter by 101.3% in only 3 months by engaging with the appropriate influencers.
3. Getting Employees Involved
Avidia Bank understood that a key part of social media is engaging with customers on a human level rather than coming across as a giant, faceless organization.
They put in place “Avidia Smarties” which is an employee advocacy program. Through this, the idea was to get their employees to try and drive the reach of the brand by showing them love and exposing their own personalities on social media.
This was started after the staff had gone through formal training to show them how to use the Hootsuite platform and the best way in which they could expand the brand reach. They could derive content from the management platform to quickly share with their personal networks.
By attaching a story and adding some personality to your marketing, it is a lot more likely that customers are going to engage with you and develop a strong sense of loyalty to your bank.
With the example of Avidia Bank, it is easy to see how simple and straightforward effective social media strategy can be for serving the needs of your customers.
Times have changed and now is the perfect moment to implement these features into your digital strategy or even re-write your whole approach.