Social Media Marketing

Social Media Photos Release Best Practices for Banks

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Social media platforms have become a powerful and cost-effective marketing tool for many Financial Institutions (FI’s). Posting pictures of people, whether customers or employees, helps create a more personal and relatable brand image. It allows your bank or credit union to engage with their audience, showcase their products or services in real-life situations, and foster a sense of authenticity (related resource: The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Banks and Credit Unions).

In addition, posting pictures of satisfied customers alongside their testimonials or reviews can enhance credibility and trust. Seeing real people enjoying a product or service can influence potential customers’ perception and decision-making process. In this article, we’ll share tips to help you create a social media standard operating procedure for your local FI.

When it comes to matters of social media photos and permissions, many financial institutions have a general overview of what should be done. Others may have limited instructions for collecting release forms or rely on “this is what we have done before” to handle the issue when it comes up. Still others are unsure how to handle the matter entirely. According to our research, here is how local banks are handling the issue of social media photo release forms.

New Hire Onboarding

The most common practice among community banks and credit unions seems to be having employees sign photo release during new hire onboarding. Similarly, you could add a photo policy to your employee handbook and have new hires consent by acknowledging they read the policy.

Alternatively, some banks include an option to opt out or to select “for internal use only.” You can also send an email for approval each time you use an employee’s photo instead of having a blanket release. However, consider whether your marketing department has the resources to take this more labor-intensive approach.

Community Events

Extra concern should be taken with community events where pictures or video might include parents with their children. Although there is no expectation of privacy at public events, many banks are wary of posting photos of children on their social media accounts.

To streamline the photo release process at public events, you could bring a tablet with an online form for people to fill out.

Special Considerations

Bank employees who work in certain departments, such as collections, may have concerns about safety and be more averse to having their information available on social media.


If you want to shoot video to use on social media, you could post signs in the area where you’re filming. If people choose to walk through the area anyway after seeing the signs, they are automatically consenting to possibly being in the background.

How To Create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

While there are benefits to posting pictures of real people as opposed to stock images, it can get confusing when the procedures for doing so are unclear or non-existent. Creating an SOP can help your FI follow legal and ethical guidelines, respect privacy rights, obtain consent, and handle personal information responsibly.

What is an SOP?

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are written instructions for how to complete routine tasks in simple steps. While a set process can help guide individuals, SOPs are very granular – adding more detail, specific assignments, and workflows. In other words, a process tells you what to do and an SOP tells you exactly how to do it. Common SOP formats include checklists, step-by-step lists, hierarchies, and flowcharts. They can be documented via analog or digital methods.

Why are Standard Operating Procedures important?

Clearly written SOPs are essential because they eliminate uncertainty about how best to complete assignments, which in this case means taking and posting pictures online. Put simply, anyone within your FI should be able to produce a standardized outcome for any routine task by simply following the instructions.


Even though creating SOPs can be time-consuming, they end up saving you a ton of time in the long run. Having an SOP in place eliminates unnecessary questions and streamlines the workflow.


Standard operating procedures (SOP) make sure that employees perform all tasks and activities in a consistent manner. If everyone is doing a task in their own way, it’s not only inefficient but can also result in adversities.

Ensures compliance standards are met

Having standard operating procedures in place ensures that FI guidelines are followed and met properly. SOPs put measures in place so that employees comply with relevant laws, policies, and regulations, while avoiding any sort of litigation or risk.

Improved communication

Communication is key in business. Many employees report not being given clear directions and even some managers are not comfortable communicating with the employees in general. SOPs provide a clear reference when communication may still be unclear.

Maintains FI Knowledge

Current employees are bound to move on to other companies, retire, get promoted, or go on a vacation, taking their knowledge, skill, and expertise with them. An SOP allows you to preserve key organizational knowledge so that knowledge doesn’t leave the organization if an employee does.

Onboarding and training

A study conducted by The American Society for Training and Development (ATD) found that companies that offer comprehensive training have a 218% higher income per employee than those with less comprehensive training. If you have clearly defined standard operating procedure documents in place, it’s easier to onboard and train new employees and saves a ton of time and effort.

Getting Started

Specific procedures may vary depending on your financial institution and jurisdiction. Here are some general SOPs for social media photo usage to consider:

Obtain consent.

In general, you can take photos of people in public places without their consent. If you post pictures from a public gathering, you can post those photos without the specific permission of the people you captured on camera. However, there are some exceptions. It’s important to note that while it may be legal to take and post photos of people in public places without their consent, it may not always be ethical. Before posting pictures of customers or employees, it’s a good idea to obtain their explicit consent. This can be done through a consent form or by seeking their verbal or written permission.

Inform people about the posting.

Clearly explain how the pictures will be used, where they will be posted, and for what purposes. Display signage or provide notices informing customers or employees that photographs may be captured within the premises and may be shared on social media platforms or other channels.

  • Respect privacy rights. Ensure that the images captured and shared do not infringe on individuals’ privacy rights. Avoid capturing or sharing sensitive personal information such as financial details, addresses, or any other information that could potentially harm individuals or violate their privacy.
  • Secure storage and access. Safeguard the stored pictures and ensure restricted access to them. Implement appropriate security measures to protect the pictures from unauthorized access, loss, or misuse.
  • Use for intended purposes. Limit the use of the pictures to the purposes for which consent was obtained. Avoid using the images for unrelated or undisclosed purposes without obtaining additional consent.
  • Maintain a record of consent. Keep a record of individuals who have given consent, along with the date and purpose for which the consent was obtained. This documentation can be valuable for reference and auditing purposes.
  • Allow opt-out. Provide individuals with the option to request the removal of their pictures from public display or online platforms. Respect their decision and promptly remove the images upon request.
  • Train employees. Educate employees about the SOPs regarding posting pictures of customers or fellow employees. Make sure they understand the importance of privacy, consent, and the potential consequences of mishandling personal information.
  • Comply with local laws and regulations. Familiarize yourself with the relevant laws and regulations in your jurisdiction regarding the use of individuals’ images and personal information. Adhere to these laws to avoid legal issues. You can look up your state’s privacy laws and always consult with your company lawyer.

Please note that these SOPs serve as general guidelines. It’s crucial to consult legal professionals or experts in your specific industry or region to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and best practices.

Need help with social media? Contact us!

Balancing the benefits of sharing visual content with the privacy and rights of individuals is essential for maintaining a positive and trustworthy brand image. Having an SOP helps to take the guesswork out of taking and posting pictures online and protects both the individual and the FI. If you want to learn more about how BankBound can help your FI with social media marketing, contact us to start a conversation!