Today’s post comes from Victor Gaxiola, Social Media Subject Matter Expert at Actiance.
I worked recently with a regional community bank and shared how to leverage key demographic search criteria using Facebook and LinkedIn advertising platforms. The purpose of the exercise was to illustrate how you can identify and narrowly focus on the audiences in your market area that are likely to use your product or service. What was originally a population of 161,000,000 users on LinkedIn was narrowed down to 7,589,245 by focusing on metro area populations only. On Facebook, we were able to narrow it from 3,692,700 users in a metro area to 158,660 and could further refine the search down to 16,580 users by including keyword terms.
Why did I do this? Well, I was looking at Social as part of the whole picture for the community bank- it would be very challenging if not impossible to do the same micro targeting using a newspaper or television ad. The revelation of the exercise was that smaller companies with limited budgets can compete with larger institutions by focusing on their key audiences and use social tools to add value and attract potential new customers. By targeting their advertising to only those audiences that are likely to use their products or services, they avoid advertising to anyone that is outside of their market. As more financial institutions embrace social media tools to micro target their key audiences, the easier it will be for them to address the unique needs of their customers and provide the level of service and attention they deserve, and expect.
The advantage that smaller community banks have over their larger and better funded counterparts is their ability to connect with their customers on a local level making a more immediate impact and difference in the lives of those in their communities. Using a social channel provides these community businesses the opportunity to showcase how they are engrained in the community and give back to the citizens they serve.
One bank that is getting it right is Key Bank. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Key Bank originally started its Facebook page as a way to talk about its community involvement. It has recently launched a second Facebook page focused on the bank’s program to support female entrepreneurs. They also have four Twitter handles, each serving a unique audience and specific purpose. Their primary handle (@KeyBank_help) provides customer service support and assistance. Another (@KeyBank_news) provides hard news and updates and another (@KeyBank_thrive) focuses on their community and philanthropic efforts. The newest Twitter handle (@Key4Women) was launched to support female entrepreneurs and their Key4Women forums. A recent review of their online content on both platforms illustrated how in tune they are with their customers. They also strike a fair balance mixing business related posts and community involvement communications. By controlling their online messages and engaging with their fans and followers, Key Bank presents itself as professional, engaged and with a human face. In total, the bank has over 4000 fans on Facebook and nearly 2000 on Twitter, and we understand they are working on developing a YouTube channel for video content.
In addition to their social presence, they have also embraced fun and exciting social events to their content mix. To commemorate the bank’s Neighbors Make The Difference Day, employees of Key Bank, including their CEO Beth Mooney participated in a flash mob at the Tower City Center food court in Cleveland. That’s right, their CEO participated in a flash mob. How cool is that!??! As a social media early adopter, it is refreshing to see senior level support in any social initiative. Any business that is considering a social strategy is best served if their senior leadership is supportive, and Beth Mooney is a great example of one that understands the power of the medium. If you watch the video, you’ll note that Mooney is front and center leading the troops in an entertaining stomp-like rendition. It must have been a fun day. In short, Key Bank has found a way to leverage social media to add value, connect with customers, and provide numerous channels for feedback and engagement.
Although the larger, national banks are more likely to be in the headlines for their activities, it is in many cases the smaller community banks and credit unions that are finding ways to leverage their social media presence beyond a customer service or branding channel. Early adopters of social media enjoy the distinct advantage of having their voices amplified while others ponder how to participate. The early lead in social will be short-lived, however the value of the relationships they develop in consumer preferred mediums will have a lasting effect in consumer loyalty and connectivity. Those that “get it” like Key Bank, will continue to reap the benefits of online presence and influence.