Last year brought us evolutions to generative AI, the launch of a new social media platform, and a ton of evolution in the way of digital transformation for community banks, credit unions, and financial brands. So, what can we expect in the year ahead? Here are our predictions.
The rollout and quick evolution of tools like ChatGPT has paved the way for marketing teams to short-circuit everything from promo and customer engagement emails to optimized landing pages. But, marketers beware. Truly effective content is uniquely human–hitting on the personal, relatable elements that stop the scroll and engage users based on a common problem, relatable pain pain point, or shared need. And–especially in a world of ChatGPT and generative AI–your content has to connect in a more human way than ever before! Expect to see more time savings from AI in year ahead, as platforms become more effective and powerful, but you can also expect to see brands using compelling storytelling. This includes visuals that engage and connect, and narratives that highlight uniquely human stories behind the work they do to impact their customers and communities. What does that look like? It looks like activating the humans behind your brand to share compelling experiences and stories. That means mobilizing brand ambassadors and influencers, surfacing and sharing customer case studies, activating employees, engaging partners, and highlighting community members.
More from Threads
Back in July 2023, Mark Zuckerberg and company brought us a new, short-form social media platform: Threads. It launched on the heels of a number of changes at Twitter, including announcements imposing limits to user experience, massive staff layoffs, and abrupt algorithm and pricing changes. Its launch was disruptive from day one; in fact, some even dubbed it the “Twitter killer.” But, while Threads saw a record-breaking adoption surge in its first days and weeks, the platform has been less effective at sustaining daily active users in its first couple quarters. Even so, Zuck and team appear to be making good on promises for more advanced features in a series of rollouts and updates that have already broadened the scope of its core feature set to include the things users have come to expect for short-form platforms like X (Twitter). We’re not sure what will happen with Threads in the year ahead, but we expect growth as new features emerge and as it continues to establish stability and trust among users and major brands.
Strategic Social Selling
With the Fed signaling a promising outlook for rates in the year ahead, community banks, credit unions, and financial brands will undoubtedly be turning focus to business development–including renewed focus on loans within personal and commercial banking product lines. That will necessitate effective social selling strategies that help these organizations activate their lenders and sales agents, while keeping them compliant and on-brand. This, of course, ties back to the emerging focus on humanizing content. Indeed, the more effectively brands can amplify the voices of their brand ambassadors and sales agents, the more authentic social selling becomes. It’s a fine line, though–especially when it comes to compliance. The right technology can make this easy, creating workflows that help organizations surface content that features the human experiences behind their products and people, while ensuring the narratives, imagery, and content that highlights those stories are compliant and on-brand.
Speaking of great stories, narrative-driven content is more important than ever. In fact, when it comes to showcasing products and services in action–from creative lending solutions to commercial teams willing to go the extra mile–storytelling is perhaps the most effective marketing tactic in a financial brand’s toolkit. Expect to see great stories at the heart of campaigns in the year ahead. From social media campaigns that leverage video to humanize not-so-widely-understood content like fraud services and treasury management to customer highlight pieces that humanize the experience of purchasing a first home or getting a business (read: dream) off the ground. Savvy marketing teams deploy this content across channels, with a combination of paid and earned positioning that drives traffic back to their websites and makes people want to reach out to their client-facing teams.
Answers to What Gets Googled
Search engine optimization will continue to be top of mind for financial brands reaching high-potential customers (like Gen Z and other widely underbanked demographics) in the year ahead. In addition to stories about real people that stop the scroll with compelling and relatable headlines and graphics, look for practical content that helps financial brands inform and educate. Indeed, financial brands are optimizing their content by structuring educational pieces around what gets Googled because, well, that’s how most people find the answers they’re looking for. So, how can you figure out what’s getting Googled? To get the most impact on every customer feature and maximize marketing dollars, work with experts (like the team at Social Assurance) that offer a combination of experience in your industry niche and cross-channel content services.
Home Federal Bank of Tennessee, a 23-location community bank headquartered in Knoxville with an asset size of about $3 billion, included a long-form educational piece about FDIC insurance on its website in response to heightened online searches on the topic in 2023. The move increased web traffic from search engines like Google (maximizing SEO), while tying into bigger-picture efforts to convey safety and soundness amid market volatility.
An Emphasis on Trust
There’s no doubt about it: 2023 was a particularly volatile year for the banking industry. Even amid unpredictable economic conditions, a renewed interest in regulatory measures following a series of market events, continuing mergers and acquisitions, and disruption from fintechs, consumer sentiment remained steadily positive. Through it all, a core focus emerged: trust. Expect to see a heightened emphasis on trust in the year ahead. That includes both brand trust and personal trust. Financial brands will need to continue to show their stability and soundness, keeping an eye toward reputation management. This means keeping a finger on the pulse of how consumers feel, what people are saying online and on social, the accuracy of information about your locations/products/services in search directories, and more.
Make an Impact
Ready to dive into a more effective strategy for storytelling, monitoring, reputation management, social selling, or something else in the year ahead? Social Assurance can help. Our teams are uniquely equipped with a combination of technology, expertise, and content services to build and implement sales and marketing programs that move the needle. Contact us at info@socialassurance or use the form below to learn more.Get in Touch