The news: Nine in 10 banks believe social media is important to their banks, and 88% are very active or somewhat active on their social media accounts, according to an American Bankers Association survey.
Only 12% of respondents said their social media accounts were dormant or not very active.
Where are banks posting? Banks most prefer Facebook at 95%, followed by LinkedIn (75%) and Instagram (62%). The next most popular are X (formerly known as Twitter) at 41%, YouTube (39%), and blogs (19%).
To achieve the marketing goal of “meeting the audience where it’s at,” the bank must first, as always, identify its target audience.
What are banks using social media for? Top uses for their posts include communication (89%), recruiting (75%), financial education (71%), marketing and sales (59%), and customer service (57%).
Digging a level deeper, the survey found that when banks were asked to rank a list of 10 purposes their social media campaign serves, community engagement topped the list at 19%.
As bankers are always aware of working under regulators’ eyes—47% of respondents identified compliance mandates as a challenge they had to surmount to run effective campaigns—they found community engagement was the most compliance-safe and powerful use for social media.
How important is social media in banks’ marketing budgets? For most banks, social media requires the least investment out of their “never-enough” marketing budgets. They see it as having an outsized return on investment compared to the required spend.
Nevertheless, 22% of survey respondents named their budget as the biggest challenge standing in the way of achieving their objectives through social media.
Banks recognize that beyond direct efforts, their social media presence generates more local media attention, creating a knock-on effect of mentions, free advertising, and even interviews.
Our take: Since a large number of customers no longer visit the bank branch, social media has become an imperative, as one of the few channels that let banks and credit unions to reach that audience segment and maintain a sense of community connection. More than 23 billion people are currently accessing social media worldwide, some visiting six or seven sites every month. This large and fast-growing audience spans all generations and is accessible, through a little creativity, at a relatively low cost.