LinkedIn Marketing Guide for Community Banks & Credit Unions
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Most contemporary businesses understand the need to maintain an active social media presence. However, LinkedIn tends to get overlooked compared to social titans like Facebook and Instagram. If you think LinkedIn is only used for recruiting purposes, you’re missing a major prospecting opportunity.
LinkedIn is unique in that it is comprised entirely of professionals and company accounts. These users are always interested to learn about their industries and find solutions to the challenges they face. For banks and credit unions, LinkedIn has a wealth of potential customers, particularly when it comes to promoting commercial deposit accounts, financing options and business services. By optimizing your presence on LinkedIn and providing informative material that will be valuable to a commercial audience, you can engage with these professionals to generate interest in your brand, promote your content, and build a new source of leads. Read on to discover best practices for engaging with a professional audience on LinkedIn.
Optimize your Profile
The best place to start with optimizing your presence on LinkedIn is your profile. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your company’s profile:
Profile Cover Photo: This is the largest visual on your page, so you should use this as an opportunity to reflect your brand or local market. You may wish to create a photo montage of happy customers, your team of associates or community events that you’ve hosted or sponsored. Be sure to use the correct image size: 1536 x 768.
Logo: Your logo is arguably the most important image on your LinkedIn account. Other users will see your logo whenever you post content, send a message, or comment on an update. Maintain a consistent logo across social media platforms in order to establish your brand footprint online. Once you’ve added your logo, take the time to evaluate it. Does your logo stand out from the rest of your page? If not, try adding white space in the background. Finally, make sure you size the image correctly as well: 300 x 300.
Tagline: Also known as a slogan, a tagline should communicate your bank’s mission and services in a short, memorable phrase. In your LinkedIn profile, you can add your bank’s tagline or slogan beneath your cover photo. This gives visitors a succinct first impression of what you do. For example, do you specialize in business banking? Offer a first-time homebuyer program, or a service created especially for the local communities you serve? Whatever makes your bank unique, highlight it in the tagline.
Overview: On the “About” tab of your page, write a full description of your bank’s history, current strengths, community involvement, and what you offer to both potential customers and employees.
Website Link: Make sure to link back to your bank website. As with any link pointing back to your website, be sure to use the full https://www version of your URL whenever possible.
Jobs: Posting current job openings will drive more traffic to your page. It’s also an opportunity to reinforce your image as a local bank that employs people in the community. If you recruit new employees often, you might consider paying for a LinkedIn Career Page (a premium feature from LinkedIn Talent Solutions).
Branch Locations: Add your bank branches to the “Locations” section of your profile. Visitors will be able to click off-site for directions to each location.
Create Showcase pages
Your Company Page is the main site for your bank on LinkedIn. Here, you engage with multiple audience segments, from employees to existing customers and prospects. A LinkedIn Showcase Page enables you to target and engage with a niche audience. This can be especially useful for banks that have specific industry solutions or separate divisions like this Showcase of Citi Private Bank.
Connect with your Employees
Connecting with existing employees is a best practice for LinkedIn. Most importantly, it increases exposure for your bank among your employees’ connections. How many of your employees currently have LinkedIn accounts and are connected to your bank? You can encourage employees to join the site and connect with your business page by holding workshops on profile optimization and/or offering free professional headshots for employees to use on LinkedIn. Make LinkedIn engagement part of your company culture and reward employees who are active on the site. As a best practice make sure to define acceptable/unacceptable representation of your brand and consider providing employees a repository of content they can share (especially lenders).
Connect with Existing Customers
Encourage your customers to follow your company page for updates, news, and useful insights. To help your customers find your page, add a LinkedIn icon to your website header/footer, employee email signatures, and corporate email communications. To accelerate page followers from existing customers, consider using LinkedIn Ads to reach existing customers by using Matched Audience targeting.
Leverage LinkedIn Groups
Is your bank facilitating any Groups or encouraging lenders to join relevant conversations? If not, you’re missing an opportunity to build awareness, engagement, and leads from extremely specific audiences. To find relevant groups, use the regular search bar to look for business and professional groups from your region and surrounding metro areas, local chambers of commerce, banking/finance groups, and anything else related to your bank’s specialties. LinkedIn identifies search results as group, company, or individual, so searching is easy. After reviewing the group’s page to ensure a good fit, simply click on the blue “Request to join” button near the top of the page.
Once you’ve identified relevant LinkedIn Groups, encourage your lenders to participate with some regularity by posting helpful content, responding to members’ posts and questions, and more. As with any other networking tool, what you get out of it largely depends on what you put into it. If you are too self-promotional, you may get deleted from the group or simply ignored. Your team should always be focused on adding value and helping others.
Facebook events are a popular feature for businesses looking to promote their events online and gauge the public’s interest. LinkedIn now has a similar feature. Create LinkedIn Events to promote your live events on the LinkedIn platform and invite connections to join the event. Event Organizers and attendees can send invitations to their own connections and invite them to attend. This increases the reach of your online event, and will hopefully translate into attendance at your live events. You can also use this feature to host virtual events, such as online workshops, seminars, or product demos.
Publish Regular Updates
So, what should you put into LinkedIn to maximize what you get out of it? As we’ve mentioned, no one likes a self-promoter who only talks about themselves. There’s nothing wrong with occasionally mentioning your bank’s latest offers or promotions, but the primary goal of your updates should be to produce content that your ideal audiences would find interesting or useful.
If you already post regularly on other social media accounts, like Facebook, you can post much of the same content and updates on LinkedIn. For example, if you posted a long-form article on your bank’s blog, you can also publish it on LinkedIn Pulse, a personalized business news digest that provides content for LinkedIn users’ homepage feed and through a weekly email digest. There are no guarantees as to how many LinkedIn users your Pulse post will reach, but it’s a great opportunity to establish your bank as a thought leader within the industry.
Question: How often should you publish updates on LinkedIn? Answer: As often as you have something useful or interesting to share.
As a best practice, encourage your lenders to spend 15 minutes per day on LinkedIn and to monitor their Social Selling Dashboard:
Share Content with Individuals
As with any social media platform, LinkedIn offers the ability to share content individually, as well as with your entire audience of followers. So keep your contacts in mind when you post updates. If you know someone who would benefit from a piece of content you’ve created, it might be appropriate to share it with them in a personalized direct message, instead of just hoping they’ll see it in your news feed. This makes you look helpful and considerate, while also introducing the possibility of a deeper conversation. Here’s a template you can use:
“Hi [NAME], I noticed you’re interested in/working on [TOPIC]. I thought you might find this article I wrote on [WHAT YOUR ARTICLE IS ABOUT] helpful. Good luck with [THEIR GOAL] and let me know if I can answer any questions about [TOPIC]. Best Regards, [YOUR NAME].
With InMail, you can see when or if someone has read your message. This is a casual way to discover the impact of your content sharing with individuals. If someone has read but not responded, you may want to follow up.
With LinkedIn Ads, you can pay to deliver your email to specific audiences on LinkedIn at scale.
Promote Helpful Resources for Businesses
Do you have a content marketing campaign for your website and social media platforms? Anything you post on your blog can also be shared on LinkedIn. As you create your editorial calendar, include resources for businesses, especially local ones. What are the most common problems faced by small and medium-sized business in your community? You can position yourself as the bank that offers solutions.
In these articles, highlight the specific products and services you offer that will help companies solve problems. For example, you could create a guide to withstanding seasonal cash flow shortages and publish it in the winter months when lawn care services and other seasonal businesses don’t take in much or any income. At the end, include a call to action inviting businesses to learn more about the solutions you offer, such as a business line of credit.
Promote your business blog posts and long-form articles on your LinkedIn account and push them out to all of your Groups, as well as any relevant individual contacts. Again, distributing content to select audiences on LinkedIn can be done at scale by using LinkedIn Ads which we’ll cover next.
LinkedIn ad campaigns can be expensive, but advertising on this platform allows you to reach a highly-targeted audience of professionals. This could be especially helpful for promoting business products and services. While most social media platforms allow advertisers to target specific users based on behavior or demographics, LinkedIn is especially effective for targeting users by job title and industry. You can even limit who sees your ads but uploading an exclusion list of company names or customer emails.
LinkedIn ads also allow you to select an objective, such as generating brand awareness or encouraging viewers to visit a specific landing page. The platform customizes your ad campaign according to your objectives, and will even capture leads directly with embedded forms that appear within the ad. LinkedIn’s self-service advertising platform currently includes three types of ads:
Sponsored Content: Native advertising that appears as a single image, carousel, or video in LinkedIn feeds.
Sponsored InMail: Send personalized messages to prospects through LinkedIn email.
Text Ads: Ads that appear in the sidebar of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn also offers remarketing, so you can target (or exclude) people who have previously visited your website. To learn more about LinkedIn Ads, check out their Ad Tips & Best Practices page.
Post to SlideShare
LinkedIn owns SlideShare, which is a platform for infographics and presentations. You can put your best PowerPoint or Google Slides presentations online to share with your followers and potential leads. SlideShare is compatible with any presentation software, making it easy to upload your content. Use this tool to create visual guides and presentations to share on other social media outlets. SlideShare receives nearly 4 million visitors on a daily basis. Here are the best tips for using it effectively:
Go for quality over quantity. Even if the idea itself isn’t original (most aren’t), find a new way to cover it. What unique perspective can your bank offer? If a piece of written content has done especially well on other platforms, consider repurposing it as a SlideShare presentation.
Invest in good stock images and fonts. You don’t want your presentation to look like a teenager’s school project. Avoid comic sans and other overly familiar fonts. Don’t put too much text on one slide; break it up to one idea at a time. Finally, take the time to find decent stock images, which doesn’t have to be an investment of money, just effort.
Be mobile friendly. SlideShare receives most of its user engagement through the app. So think small—as in screens—and use clear photos, good typography, and a larger font size.
If you’re like most financial marketers we talk with, you’ve got a long todo list and could use some extra marketing firepower. With an exclusive focus on digital marketing for financial institutions, our team has the experience to become a true extension of yours. Contact us today to talk more about LinkedIn Ads, marketing automation, content marketing, SEO, and more!
Let’s make sense of your financial institution’s approach to digital marketing.