5 ways to improve your Instagram game

Some community banks are building brand awareness and customer loyalty by posting on Instagram. Learn how to make your content irresistible.

By Robert Lerose

“When you think about community banking, it’s so much about the relationships that you build with your customers,” says Amanda Rowe, senior vice president of delivery at Pannos Marketing.

Instagram is the en vogue social media app for posting photos and videos to connect with your customers, put a human face on your bank and reinforce its deep roots within the community. While Facebook and Twitter allow you to post images to raise a post’s profile, Instagram puts pictures and videos front and center—so make them count.

Ready to get started? Here are some tips.

1. Use at least one hashtag per post so people can find your content easily. Start simple, like #communitybank or #banklocally, and then try more locally relevant hashtags. Click on a hashtag to see how many posts have used it. More posts mean more engagement.

2. Don’t make your posts all about banking. Instead, post something that shows you’re involved in your community. Stephanie Fitch, assistant vice president and marketing and digital strategist at $400 million-asset Frederick County Bank in Frederick, Md., posts about volunteering activities, local places where employees eat and neighborhood companies that its president visits. She also posts fun hashtag holidays, like National Milkshake Day, “tagging a local business where you can get a milkshake to make touchpoints in the community, and show people that we’re part of Frederick County and more than a bank.”

Quick stat

1 billion

Number of Instagram users as of June 2018

3. Post content that engages people. Don’t just post an infographic with dry statistics about how much people should save for retirement. “I would write: ‘What do you have saved?’ Or, ‘Does this match your goals?’” says Sarah Bacehowski, president of Mills Marketing. “End with some sort of question. One engagement tool is likes [Instagram uses hearts]. If people are liking your post, you can assume they’re agreeing with your question.”

4. Show some personality. Julie Croak Waddle, digital marketing manager at $475 million-asset FNB Community Bank in Midwest City, Okla., started the #FNBJokeMonday Series. She posts a new joke every week that has something to do with money. “Being young, I know that I am broke sometimes, so I posted: ‘I went to the ATM and it printed me a coupon for ramen noodles.’” See more examples at @fnbcommunitybank.

5. Use video whenever possible. “Ten seconds or less,” says Bacehowski. “It doesn’t have to be professional. It can be an iPhone video. It just needs to be real.” Instagram’s new IGTV section is especially designed to showcase vertically shot videos from smartphones.

Robert Lerose is a journalist in New York.