5 social media trends for banks to step up their social engagement strategy

Naveen Mahadevan

September 8, 20227 min read

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Social media has transformed how businesses engage with audiences. The proliferation of social platforms in recent years has changed shifted consumer behavior and expectations.

“Digitally impatient” customers demand to be heard, understood, and valued. To drive stronger, sustainable, profitable, and mutually beneficial relationships in this digital-first world, knowing your customers inside out and engaging with them on their terms is important.

Leading banks and insurance companies worldwide have started to heed the call — by prioritizing transparency and two-way engagement through social channels to meet and surpass customer expectations. These social banks, are aligning their social media presence with their organizational mission and goals. Plus, they keep refining the infrastructure needed to process customer data into actionable insights to connect with and serve customers in meaningful ways.

But most financial services institutions have only just begun to embrace social media as a marketing and customer service avenue. And their slapdash approach has only added to their woes — lack of engagement and stagnant social media following.

Thus, new and emerging banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) players must capitalize on the current social media trends, create communication strategies that resonate with audiences, and foster a data-driven culture that puts customers first to stay competitive.

We used Sprinklr’s proprietary AI to analyze the Facebook, Instagram, and X, formerly Twitter posts of the world’s leading 50+ banking and financial institutions published between August 2021 and August 2022 across their 100+ social accounts. With the resulting data, we’ve hand-picked five key insights to help you chalk out your customer engagement strategy for the current and upcoming year.

Table of Contents

1. Demand generation and brand awareness are the top two key brand objectives

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No surprises here — most successful brands prioritize demand gen and brand awareness campaigns over other objectives. The importance of picking the right social network for rolling out these campaigns can’t be overstated.

X, formerly Twitter is the go-to social network for almost all brands, followed by Facebook and Instagram. This correlates to 71% of X, formerly Twitter users using the platform to get news.

The chart also highlights how unpopular sales-driven posts have become among brands. This trend jives with the increasing wariness among consumers of pushy sales tweets and Facebook posts.

This indicates that consumers largely follow brands on social media to converse with them and know more about their favorite brands. Therefore, listening to your target audience and creating social media content that caters to their needs would bode well for the long haul rather than going all out with sales-driven or thought leadership posts.

Brand awareness content garnered over 4M likes and 1M+ comments and was shared more than 150K times in the last twelve months.

2. Encouraging, pleading, and gratitude are the top three tones of voice in social media content

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Posts that spur the audience to take action, make an appeal, or convey a feeling of gratefulness get more traction than those tinged with regret or inquisitiveness or laden with facts.

Social media marketing includes building a tribe with mutual interests. Hence, publishing content that encourages users to take action can boost engagement in this volatile economic climate.

In addition, when your audience is on the fence, deciding to do business with you, such posts can get you in their good books, and you eventually gain a (returning) customer.

Most brands could adopt a different marketing tone next year. Though, you can never go wrong if you continue listening to your customers. Put out empathetic messages and emphasize transparency, truthfulness, and timeliness while keeping an eye on brewing sociopolitical crises.

3. Motivational content is published 6x more than informative ones

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Motivational content, when used strategically, can boost social engagement. Yes, having a solid strategy behind your posts is key — posting content that supports the mission and purpose of your brand will be more beneficial in the long term than just mindlessly pitching your services on social media.

As with all things in life, moderation is key. The content you post, apart from being motivational, should be goal-oriented because there’s a good chance people may like or share your post but not engage with it as intended. Thus, if your objective is to drive your audience toward conversion, the relevance of content becomes much more important than the tone of messaging or the platform used.

Text-based content was published 12 and 20 times more than content with photos and videos, respectively, in the last twelve months.

4. Consideration-related posts drive more engagement than other journey stages

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People have been using social media for years to learn more about their favorite brands and research brands they potentially want to do business with. Naturally, brands have started to capitalize on this trend.

For instance, Robinhood, an online discount brokerage firm, published a short and sweet explainer video on how to file income tax using its app on Instagram earlier this year. The post is both timely and valuable. Such content can help you move people from the consideration to the purchase stage of the buyer’s journey faster.

On the other hand, awareness posts don’t receive a great deal of attention from social media users. While it’s true that 81% of consumers research before buying, most of them rely on search engines and dedicated review sites instead of social media.

Despite the low traction, awareness posts can help get the word out about your newly launched product or service. But of late, consideration posts are faring considerably better than other journey stages in terms of engagement.

5. #sustainability is the most widely used non-brand hashtag by brands

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Do you dream of building a sizeable social media following? Of course, you do.

One of the tried-and-true methods of cultivating customer loyalty is to build your brand around the social interests of your audience. Lately, sustainability has become the talking point among socially aware consumers because of the increasing threat of global warming and climate change.

Sustainability is linked with protecting our planet and leaving a better place for future generations. It has been part of the collective consciousness for over two decades, but the global pandemic has made society more attuned to it. More and more consumers are doing business with, advocating for, and supporting organizations committed to sustainability.

Does this mean your brand should embrace sustainability as a corporate imperative?

Well, that’s something for your top management to decide. But it certainly wouldn’t hurt to talk about it on social media.

Creating engaging content on topics your audience cares about will amplify the reach of your posts and increase loyalty, but not without careful planning and execution.

Also, what’s trending today may not be relevant a few months from now. For instance, #covid19 was the most popular hashtag in 2020 and early 2021, but that isn’t the case anymore.

6. BONUS: Global pre- and post-pandemic social media trends at a glance

There’s a marked difference in how banks and other financial institutions approach social media now vs. before the pandemic. As far as user engagement is concerned, likes and shares have decreased while comments have spiked significantly.

The table below highlights key differences.

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Before you revamp your social media strategy…

You may be tempted to think incorporating these five tips into your social media strategy will help you gain a loyal following overnight.

Well, not quite yet.

You have to be judicious in using social media to promote your brand. You must know which tips will work for your brand and when to implement them. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time increasing engagement and possibly make it difficult for your followers to relate to your brand.

Social Customer Care Benchmarking Report: 2022 Financial Services Leaders

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