Make LinkedIn work for your community bank

LinkedIn isn’t just for finding jobs anymore. Community banks can use the platform to make human connections with customers and other businesses.

By Erin Anderson

Many companies are just waking up to the possibilities that a strong LinkedIn presence can unlock for their brand. For community banks, experts say LinkedIn offers exciting opportunities for strengthening industry and customer connections and branding.

“The common misconception is that LinkedIn is for people looking for jobs,” says Ben Pankonin, cofounder of digital solutions firm Social Assurance in Lincoln, Neb. “That’s simply not true anymore. LinkedIn has become a powerful tool for anyone who wants to stay relevant and connected within their business community.”

Quick stat


new professionals join LinkedIn
every second

Source: LinkedIn

Jay Sedgwick, an account executive at WebbMason Marketing of Hunt Valley, Md., agrees. “I see [LinkedIn] taking a page from the Facebook and Twitter playbook. It’s warmer and more welcoming than it once was.”

That shift in tone is an open invitation for community banks to focus on telling human stories in their social posts. “People want to hear about your bankers, your president, the local football team you sponsor,” Sedgwick says. “They don’t care about your rates or your FDIC logo. They want to know everything about you that’s soft, personal and community-oriented.”

But even organizations that get the tone right can fall short of reaching their customers. To combat this, Pankonin says community banks should create a structure to allow their employees to represent their brand and share their message on LinkedIn. “You need to coordinate what the bank as a whole is talking about with what individuals out in the community are posting as well,” he says. “If you can do this, you amplify your message and your engagement.”

Best practices for using LinkedIn

“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for building a social media presence on any platform,” Sedgwick says. But his best practices include:

  • Post three to four times a week, always. Never let a week go by without at least one post.
  • Every post should include a photo or a video.
  • Make sure to hit the following topics each week: banker news, profiles and testimonials; industry news and community events.
  • Test early and often. Don’t guess what content and images you think will perform. Let the data (likes, shares and comments) tell you.
  • Be consistent with whatever rhythm you adopt. Consistency builds customer loyalty and confidence in your brand.

Sedgwick also notes that people are more inclined to watch an entire video on LinkedIn than they are on Twitter or Facebook. It’s also a great place for longer copy. And your extra effort won’t get lost in the noise as quickly. “After 15 minutes on Twitter, a post loses 50% of all the engagement it will ever see,” Pankonin says. “On LinkedIn, a single post might capture new engagements up to a week later.”

Erin Anderson is a writer in Minnesota.