The COVID-19 pandemic is taking us all on a roller coaster. As a financial institution, your brand must be steady, solid and trusted through thick and thin. These times are feeling pretty thin for many individuals and businesses. So do some smart investing in your social media to show customers and the community that you have their backs.
Move beyond “our drive-thrus are open”
It’s time to move beyond the “our drive thrus are open” and “here’s how we’re cleaning the ATMs” messages. You’ve informed people you’re open for business and how they can bank with you in person and online. They get it.
Now’s the time to show your leadership and reassure them that you have solutions. Using paid and organic social media strategies are one of the fastest and least expensive ways to do it.
Here are 5 ways to build your currency of trust through online media:
1. Inform and proactively help on SBA loans and grants
While the government is just unleashing the details, you can keep your customers—and potential customers—informed as these details unfold. Start posting and sharing what you know now‚ and update regularly.
An especially on-the-ball banker we know is getting her customers lined up and ready to apply. She's working with them on as much of the paperwork and required documentation as she believes will be needed right now. So as soon as they can officially apply, they're several steps ahead and getting relief sooner.
2. Show support for the nonprofit community
One credit union we admire is encouraging donations to local nonprofits by matching community donations dollar-for-dollar up to a certain limit. They have a big push on social media that’s getting high engagement. An additional benefit: board members, volunteers and fans of these beneficiaries share the social posts on their own feeds. This delivers more publicity for the institution as well as the nonprofit. Since many nonprofits are especially hurting now, this is win-win-win. It’s feel-good and doing good.
3. Purchase from small business customers
Another bank we admire is supporting its restaurant customers by ordering takeout from them and having lunch delivered to essential businesses for their employees to enjoy. Since many essential businesses like emergency personnel, health care workers and others are under tremendous stress, this is another feel-good activity that’s an all-around win.
And just like the example of nonprofit support above, taking care of both restaurants and essential employees is heartwarming. It's something people love to share because they want to show their neighbors how much they care—even at arm's length. Now, they're part of your circle.
4. Don't forget online bill pay
This service may be old-hat to you. But many of your older customers haven’t yet dipped their toes into the digital bill pay waters. Consider creating a step-by-step HOW-TO explanation so customers can get started. If it seems too complicated, consider doing it in parts, or show a preview on your social media, then let customers sign up for a Facebook live or a YouTube tutorial.
You could do similar HOW-TOs on person-to-person payments like Venmo, getting your bank’s app on a phone or other ways to bank digitally. Many of your customers need this demystiied. It's easy for you to help.
5. Extended payment terms or late fee forgiveness
Is this something you can offer to help out customers who have lost their jobs or seen greatly decreased income? If so, start letting people know how you’re planning to do it. Give them some hope and help right away. Your sincere desire to support them in this difficult time will deepen their trust in your brand over the long term.
Be genuine, caring and unique
Make sure you're monitoring and responding when people engage, post questions and share. Have you struck the right chord? Are you responding quickly with your own caring brand voice? Say thank you. Readjust your approach if needed. Be human.
When you take the time to think about how you can help customers and community—aligned with your brand and purpose–you'll build the trust that lasts a lifetime. That's value money can't buy.
For help with a strategic approach to creating your own currency of trust through social—and traditional media—contact Martha Bartlett Piland