Banks Want More Than Pretty Faces From Facebook
By Tara Hershberger
Special To Banker & Tradesman
But it’s important to measure the value of social media marketing activities to make sure they are producing the results banks want.
Social media is an effective way to reach a more affluent, tech-savvy demographic, and establish and reinforce a brand across all generations. A brand’s involvement in social media can start conversations about relevant products and services and engage people who may not frequent branches. Lead generation benefits include improving search engine ranking, increasing traffic to websites and increased word of mouth referrals.
According to eMarketer, in 2011 the top four ways chief marketing officers measure the value of social media marketing activities are through site traffic, conversions, fans/members and positive customer mentions.
Site Traffic – Social sites provide critical inbound links to a brand’s main website. Websites should have Google Analytics or another analytics program installed which provide a detailed view of which sites are referring traffic to your website. Site statistics can then track where visitors go on the site and how long they stay. From this information you can also see where people drop off, as well as those who follow through to a conversion.
Conversions – Conversions are completed desired actions. On a website, that action might be to open an account, apply for a loan, or download a form. On social sites such as Facebook or Twitter, a conversion might be represented by someone who clicked on a link in a story and then signed up to attend an event. Use tracking links, which add extra coding through the URL address, to monitor and report results for entire campaigns. Google’s URL Builder, or URL shortening services such as bit.ly, provide link tracking.
Fan/Followers – Building fan and follower counts is important because the larger the audience, the greater the amplification of messages and opportunity for engagement. These are among the easiest metrics to find and gather, but should be reviewed in combination with other metrics. Consider also looking at user and interaction statistics to provide additional insights. In Facebook, for example, fan demographics, top cities, and interaction information is readily available to any page administrator.
Number of positive customer mentions – Sentiment can be measured, often as positive, negative or neutral. The tool search.twitter.com can find tweets of a particular attitude based on keywords which can be searched instantly. The site socialmention.com provides a sentiment ratio of positive to negative mentions, along with links to sources it finds. Both tools are free and readily available.
Revenue, which was only measured by 29 percent of Chief Marketing Officers last year, is now being measured by half of CMOs. If there ever was a honeymoon period for social media, it is now over. With 80 percent of all companies and 75 percent of financial institutions using or planning to use social media this year, social media is now an accepted part of banks’ overall marketing plans. As such, it should be accountable, just like all other marketing initiatives.
Social media should be understood as a long-term effort which takes time to build, and is not generally campaign-based. A consistent approach will often yield the most favorable results over time.
The bulk of the costs of a social media effort come in the form of time, whether internally or through an agency. The numerous community banks with which we have worked have redirected resources from traditional media sources, such as yellow pages and newspapers, to make room for an increasingly critical social media effort.
Tara Hershberger is media/public relations director at Pannos Winzeler marketing. Email: tara at pannoswinzeler.com