How Banks Can Turn Marketing Budget Cuts Into an Argument for Social Selling

by | Oct 20, 2020

Long before COVID-19 and all its associated impact, banks were already witnessing the great migration to self-service models. Between 2017 and 2022, research from CACI predicted that visits to physical branches would drop by 36% and mobile transactions would surge by 121%. When the pandemic temporarily shut down in-person banking services, this trend only accelerated — and we shouldn’t expect it to reverse once the pandemic subsides. 

At the same time, marketing budgets are tightening under the financial weight of COVID-19. In fact, Gartner found that 76% of marketing leaders expect budget decreases due to the pandemic. As a result, banks need to rethink their marketing strategies and budgets. It would be a mistake to dig your heels into the conventional tactics you’ve used for years. 

Community events are largely on hold, meaning you’re losing that in-person connection opportunity. And with more people staying home, advertising techniques like billboards just won’t deliver the ROI you need. Social media is the best way to reach your audience at scale. Use these steps to leverage social media to meet people where they are, optimize your reach and spend, and shield your bank from hefty penalties.

1. Embrace the shift to social media.

The use of social media is up across the board: A poll conducted between late March and early May found that approximately half of all U.S. adults were using social media more frequently when compared to pre-pandemic rates. People want the brands they follow to be using social media now, too. According to the “2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Trust and the Coronavirus,” 84% of respondents want brands to use social media channels to help build a feeling of community and give social support during this time.

Now’s the perfect opportunity to invest more in social media. It’s the best way to safely and efficiently get your brand to the forefront to build and nurture relationships. The potential reach is enormous, and when you develop a strong social selling strategy with your employees in the driver’s seat, you’ll see up to eight times the engagement on branded posts. 

Numerous studies confirm that people trust people much more than brands. Employee-shared social posts spread faster and further than the same posts shared on brands’ pages. Embrace your customers’ desire to interact on social media by empowering your financial advisors, loan officers, and other employees to interact with them on the bank’s behalf.

2. Invest in paid social advertising.

Organic social media is incredibly valuable, but you can fire up your efforts by using paid social tactics. With unparalleled targeting capabilities and maximum ROI, paid amplification could help your brand and your employees efficiently reach and engage prospects. What’s more, paid social advertising allows you to stretch your marketing budget further by segmenting and targeting specific types of consumers with relevant messaging.

On average, it costs about $2.50 to reach 1,000 people through paid social media advertising. It can cost up to 10 times as much to reach as many people through television ads and other traditional methods. With people spending more time on social media, every dollar spent on paid social advertising will be well worth it.

3. Leverage software to maintain compliance.

The more involved banks get with their social media marketing efforts, the more complex it will become to manage their strategy effectively. Wasteful spending on inefficient paid advertising is one risk, but a more significant one is violating compliance rules and having to pay exorbitant fines.

A robust social media policy is an important element in staying compliant, but you can use social media software to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. For example, our software helps smooth out approval workflows and captures and archives all branded social media activity in accordance with crucial electronic communication regulations.

The onset of the coronavirus necessitated a total transformation in bank marketing — one that’s driven by social media. Savvy bank marketers will jump on board now and get more value for every marketing dollar they spend by investing in a broader, digital-first strategy of social media advertising.