In the never-ending quest to do the very best by our customers, it is our job to meet them where they are. Increasingly so, they are on social media. We then trudge through the muddy waters of all the options to decide which platforms to utilize. It is a bank marketer’s task to listen through a lot of noise and discover what works best for us – what works best for our customers – in our uniquely individual markets.

Regardless of the social media platform(s) we’ve chosen to embrace, we have an extra  challenging job because after all, we’re a bank.  We’re not sexy, exciting or even a little fun. If we had a Tinder account, no one would be swiping right for us. (If you don’t get that joke, go Google it. I’ll wait.) Alas, we have a job to do and we’re going to be great at it!

While I’m fairly certain you have at least a Facebook and/or Twitter presence, we as an industry haven’t utilized the “all visuals” social media platform, Instagram, as much as we could.  Instagram was developed as an app and while you can see your Instagram account on your PC, you can’t do anything with it so you’ll need to operate it from a mobile device.  While posting on Facebook and Twitter about bank sponsored events, employees, the weather (everything but banking, of course) how about popping that picture up on Instagram too, or in fact, first? Why first, you ask? One word:  FILTERS. You know the word, “Selfie”. This is where the Selfie really took off.  It makes us all amazing photographers. Want to smooth those forehead wrinkles and give your eyes and extra twinkle?  Filters.  If your team is anything like mine, they want to see the pictures before they go out.  They’ll learn to trust you more when they know you have tools to make them look even more lovely than they already do!

So, why Instagram?  With a user base of 400 million active users, it is our visual platform.   Where I use Facebook to connect with clients and future clients and Twitter to connect with cohorts in the industry, Instagram (a Facebook owned company since 2012) has been the perfect platform for me to connect and engage with the business owners and entities in our community. As a community bank, it allows us access to them in a unique way. While I might not see the posts of the pages I like on Facebook, the algorithm on my Instagram feed works a little differently and I’m much more likely to “see and be seen” in this arena.  Of course I’m able to post images of our staff, fun events we’re sponsoring, holiday greetings, bank hours announcements  and more, I’m able to like and comment on the content our community is generating.  Instagram’s users tend to be a younger group and while we might not get them on Facebook or Twitter, we are more likely to engage with them and them with us, here.  Just like Twitter, hashtags are heavily utilized and searched so it’s important to use quality ones in your posts. Unlike Twitter, there is no character limit when commenting.  Additionally, Instagram allows video posts. Recently they have upped the allotted run time from 15 seconds to 60 seconds!   One recent and very welcomed upgrade from the developers was to give us the ability to manage multiple accounts within the app vs. logging out and back in to switch. This includes changing form your personal account to your business account with a simple drop down. You can also link your other social media accounts so that when you post to Instagram, it can post to them as well.

As time passes it’s important with social media, as with literally everything, to stay abreast of the next “big thing” coming down the pike in the digital space. As I do my own listening, I’m hearing business people like Gary Vaynerchuk talking a lot about using Snapchat for business.  The jury is still out as to whether or not Snapchat will float in our market…  Nevertheless, we’ll keep watching and listening, testing, failing, learning and trying again in the hopes of showing our customers that we do this for them- because we really do want to give them the best banking experience we can.

What’re your thoughts on using Instagram as a marketing tool in the finance industry? Let us know in the comments section below!