With more time at home in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are turning to social media more than ever before. Now at an all-time high, social media use is an avenue for staying connected with loved ones, political engagement, shopping, and so much more. While financial institutions seek to take advantage of this massive, concentrated audience, the tension of general economic unrest can make it tricky to navigate the best ways to connect. According to a study conducted by The Financial Brand in April, most prominent financial brands saw a drop in their social media sentiment scores immediately following shutdowns due to the pandemic.
However, that’s no reason to shy away from social media. Some financial institutions have seen overall gains in their brand sentiment by carefully listening and responding, building positive awareness through empathetic messaging, and becoming a community resource for education and advice. Below, we elaborate on how to master these strategies and boost your brand awareness while being sensitive to what’s going on in the world and in your account holders’ lives.
Listen, Acknowledge and Respond
As with any successful conversation or campaign, it starts with listening. With a social media engagement increase of 61 percent during the first wave of COVID-19, social media is a goldmine of insights into what your customers care about right now. People are talking about what they want and need regarding their finances, and you can’t afford not to hear them. Simple social listening exercises, such as searching for hashtags related to financial topics, can bring you a wealth of information about how current and potential customers are feeling and how they may respond to messages you are looking to put out.
Also, note that some customers may be facing challenges navigating the digital realm of doing banking. As questions or frustrations may be posted on social media, be ready to respond promptly as a form of customer service. It’s likely that many of your customers can benefit from being able to see your responses.
Social media is also a great way to connect with your account holders directly, and to show others that you’re doing so in a thoughtful way. Take the time to respond and do it with empathy. Tone and voice are important here -- acknowledge that these are difficult times and don’t hesitate to show vulnerability.
Focus on Awareness Rather than Conversions
During a time when many people are facing financial uncertainty, pushing new products and services may feel a bit insensitive. Instead, focus on using your social media platforms to create positive awareness for your brand.
One of the ways to do this is by uplifting your community and sharing what you’re doing as a part of it. Give a shout out to your local business members and encourage people to do business with them. Bump up inspirational posts and community happenings that bring encouragement.
Share how you are donating time or funds to relief organizations. If you’ve developed relief products or are offering payment deferments, highlight them and provide some reassurance of your willingness to help your customers through this time.
Post about corporate responsibility, such as how you’re helping your employees through this tough time or amplifying your customer service to make things easier for account holders. Showing your values and human-ness makes it easy for people to connect with your brand.
Become A Resource for Education and Advice
Advice and educational messages are highly appreciated by social media users right now. Particularly regarding finance, gathering advice and developing a plan can help people feel more knowledgable and in control of their situation. Offer tips about budgeting, saving, and spending money wisely. Develop content around how to decode financial lingo so that customers feel empowered to make informed decisions.
These posts can be in the form of an Instagram image carousel, with a key tip on each image, or a live-streamed conversation with a finance expert, depending on the platform you use and the audience you’re most hoping to reach.
Through this kind of helpful social media, you’ll gain trust from your followers, and, hopefully, they’ll return to you as a source of expertise.
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