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Social Media Marketing For FIs: Engagement Matters! [Case Study]

Yes! Financial Institutions should be posting memes, throwbacks, and other off-brand social media posts. Ditch those brand and reputation worries because when it comes to engaging on social media, your product and service posts alone just aren’t going to cut it. 

Often our clients will ask what is the importance of engagement posts (memes, throwbacks, etc.) for their financial institution’s social media marketing success. The obvious answer is that social media is MEANT to be fun and engaging. People go there to be entertained and interact with friends and family!

But recently we had a client that wanted to test this theory and decided to share content that was less focused on engagement and more focused on financial products and branded content. This change in strategy had some pretty expensive consequences.

Three Month Trial

Over three months time, the post frequency and the type of content shared on Facebook and Instagram shifted while the budget stayed marginally the same. In other words, these results are driven solely from a drop in ORGANIC (aka – FREE) reach and people not engaging with content as often.

Also, these are results from 3 consecutive months. The first month was the original strategy, posting 1 -2 times a day and a  majority of the posts being shared were fun, engaging content. Months two and three, posts were infrequent and shared mostly financial specific content.

Here are the results:

Average 28-Day Engagement Rate

Month One: 118.68%
Month Two: 40.91%
Month Three: 26.01%

Month One: 6,602
Month Two: 2,238
Month Three: 1,913

That is an engagement decline of OVER 92% in just 3 months and 4,689 LESS daily engaged users per month! Furthermore, with the engagement audience shrinking, paid website click ads started showing fewer conversions even with an increased budget.

Cost Per Click: Budget: Total Clicks:
Month One: $0.84 $509.62 608
Month Two: $0.96 $544.19 578
Month Three: $1.08 $588.08 546

As you can see from month one to three, the cost went up 33%, the budget went up 13% and the actual clicks STILL spiraled down by 62 clicks!

What we took away from these results? If you’re not engaging your social media audiences with entertaining content, and simply post content about yourself, your products, and your services – no matter how helpful and valuable you believe they are – your social media marketing spend start to look like this:

The Business Value of Entertaining Posts 

Increasing engagement with entertaining posts is a tactical approach to an effective social media strategy. It results in the ability to deliver product and service messaging cost-effectively. The more that people engage with your posts, the more often Facebook shows them your content, which means you can cycle in posts about products and services and they will be delivered to consumers,for free or at a lower cost.

Facebook, in particular, is ranking its perceived value of content against all other content to determine what it should display in a person’s news feed.

Facebook determines value based on prior engagement and delivers content from a company page to the people who interact with it the most. If a member, customer or fan is consistently engaging with your content, Facebook will continue to show them your posts.

As you can see, posting only about banking products and services will not drive engagement. This is why posts like memes, throwbacks, and unofficial national holidays are regularly part of social strategies. 

Additionally, it has been proven that people who frequently engage are more likely to click on sponsored content (ads) from that company because they’re familiar with the brand. If you were to spend $500 to show an ad about auto loans to your engagement audience, more people will click on the ad than if you spent $500 to show the ad to an audience who have not engaged with your content, even if it’s appropriately targeted (we have seen up to a $0.67 per-click savings on some client accounts).

The Business Impact of Not Engaging

Absent an engaged audience, your content is not being effectively delivered in consumer news feeds. Simply put, it will cost more money to get your message in front of consumers. And because they haven’t engaged with you, often or at all, your content is no different to them than all the other sponsored content in their feed.

You don’t want to become just another company with a paid ad interrupting consumer social feeds.

I know for some institutions it can be difficult posting “off brand” content on social media, I understand that feeling. However, in order to be successful, you must play by Facebook’s rules. They have undergone many algorithm changes in order to ensure an enjoyable Facebook experience and have made it clear they favor content that users consider valuable and engage with. 

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