Instagram has reached over 500 million monthly users and the growing popularity of the platform has stemmed from the community’s love for capturing and sharing incredible images from all over the world.

But it isn’t just consumers that love it. Brands aren’t holding back either, and are adopting Instagram into their marketing mix. But for brands that aren’t visual in nature, like banks and credit unions, how do they adapt to this type of social channel?

Here are a few ways to make your bank a visual brand.

Concentrate on Culture

Community banks and financial institutions may not sell visual products, like JCrew of Warby Parker, but they sure have unique and attractive company cultures. Heck, that’s what brings your customers back, right? Profiling employees and your work environment does two things. First, it makes your company more appealing to job applicants. Second, it creates transparency that builds trust with potential clients. So while you’re attracting new business, you’ll also be welcoming in top talent that might otherwise look somewhere else.

Focus on Goodwill

Showing that your bank or credit union is key to acquiring new business. In a study by the Journal of Consumer Research, corporate responsibility leads consumers to believe products are better quality. They attribute this to the “benevolent halo effect” where positive attitudes toward a company translate into positive beliefs about the company’s products. So instead of just writing checks and attending charity events on behalf of the bank, share it with the Instagram community, your bottom line will appreciate it.

Let Celebrations Commence

Community banks and credit unions all celebrate certain holidays and festivities. Whether that be shop local Wednesdays, community bankers month, small business week, or many others – the key is to celebrate these not only in person but online. Take pictures at these celebrations and post them to Instagram.

Leverage User Generated Content

Let your brand lovers do the work for you. A good way to do this is to leverage a contest or give-away in exchange for photos and visual content. To do this, be sure to create a brand specific hashtag and promote it on other platforms as well. Make sure to build the contest around a solid legal structure, with rules for entry. All the content from the entries can be saved for a later date. This means that not only do you award a lucky winner a prize, but you also have crowd-sourced for tons of visual content and saved yourself hours of time – everybody wins!

While these things aren’t directly pushing products and services, developing a creative strategy for Instagram will affect your bank or credit union’s bottom line.

In fact, Instagram has been reported as blowing other platforms away when it comes to delivering highly engaging content. A study by Forrester revealed that the top brands’ Instagram posts generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%. That means Instagram delivered these brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.

With numbers like that, Instagram should be climbing to the top of your bank’s to-do list, and quickly!


Is your FI already on Instagram? If so, what advice would you offer to those FIs still contemplating whether they should be on Instagram?