Is your FI on Instagram? If not, it definitely should be. After all, Instagram is one of the fastest growing platforms used with social media marketing for Banks and Credit Unions today.
The audience on Instagram skews much younger than Facebook, most being between the ages of 18-29, which makes it an excellent platform for your Financial Institution to reach younger potential new customers. This is especially important after Facebook changed their targeting rules for financial institutions and removed the ability to target ads by age. But ads on Instagram naturally reach a younger group of users.
However, if you’re going to use this new social media platform, it’s important that you avoid the most common mistakes. Here’s a list of the top 5 mistakes we see regularly on Instagram:
When creating an account on Instagram, you have up to 150 characters to use to describe your bank or credit union. Make sure your description is complete and straightforward. Also, make sure your website is listed, since this link is click-able directly from your profile.
We also recommend that you change the link in your profile when you share relevant content from your website, as this is the ONLY hyperlink on the platform that so it’s the best way to send people to your website. Refer to these links in the relevant posts with comments like “link to blog in profile above.”
Hashtags are a great way for your Financial Institution to categorize its posts. Hashtags help Instagram users find content when they search for a specific hashtag or topic. Make sure you are using at least 5–7 hashtags per post, since this will increase your chances of popping up on someone’s search, which will likely help result in new followers.
Your hashtags should also be specific enough so that your content doesn’t get lost among the 500,000 or so posts tagged with something too broad like: #photo.
For example, Landmark Credit Union is doing a great job using appropriate hashtags. In this post they tagged the location, their CU, and the charity they are donating to.
You should also pay attention to trending hashtags and piggy-back on those when appropriate. For example, fun seasonal hashtags (i.e. #marchmaddness, #cincodemayo, #july4th, etc.) are a great way to get more visibility and have fun on the platform.
When Instagram started out, it was a platform primarily for artists and designers because the content was focused around sharing quality photographs. This still continues to be true, however, more and more businesses are using Instagram to promote their products and services, which may not be related to the arts at all.
But it's important to keep in mind that Instagram engagement is still driven by quality of the images you are sharing, so make sure your content is aesthetically up to par. This doesn’t mean that every photo needs to be taken by a professional photographer, but the image should be clean and clear, and should evoke some type of emotional response from your followers.
Instagram is not the social platform to share canned, overly produced graphics. The occasional quote image is fine, but make sure your financial institution is also sharing REAL photos of customers, members or employees, doing REAL things.
Behind the scenes photos are hugely popular because people want to see what goes on in the real world. You might also try fun graphics that share the benefits of banking with your CU!
A good example of behind the scenes images from a CU is Numerica Credit Union. Their content is fantastic! Lots of behind the scenes shots and videos of employees having a good time at work.
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We all love a cute photo of a puppy, but how is the puppy related to your CU? How about if the puppy is visiting a branch? THEN the photo works!
When sharing content on Instagram, you should keep in mind how it relates to your business and how can it benefit your followers.
A main goal for banks and credit unions is to attract new members/customers. Verve Credit Union posted a cute picture of onesies to promote new accounts.
This kind of a post is also a good opportunity to update your profile webpage link to your new account webpage for your FI (this should also be mentioned in the post description like “new account link in profile”).
Remember that none of the descriptions in Instagram are hyperlinks, even when you share a full url, so it’s essential to change the link in your profile regularly and then refer to these links in your posts. Or you can create a link-tree or landing page with all your shared links and images to make clicking through easier.
One of the main purposes for your financial institution to be on Instagram is to drive traffic to your business' website, and this works best with the hyperlink in the main Instagram profile.
Instagram has two offerings:
1. The app for your mobile device and 2. The desktop version.
However, the desktop version has major limitations because you cannot post an image from your desktop, only view and comment. However, if you use a third party social media software (Hootsuite is one we love!) then this would allow you to post from your desktop.
Regardless of how your bank or credit union posts to Instagram, most individual users access Instagram from their mobile devices only. This is why it is critical that your FI’s website is mobile responsive.
Also, make sure your website has a link to your Instagram profile! This lets your customers and potential new customers know that you are on Instagram so they can follow you.