We’ve all seen them. Social media campaigns that you send to your friends. That you talk about for days. That you can’t wait to see more of.
What do all those social campaigns have in common? They stem from companies that everyone knows, everyone loves and everyone remembers (think Nike, Apple, and Gatorade). They’re huge companies, with large creative teams.
But what about the unusual suspects? Small businesses in more conservative fields, like finance and insurance?
According to a survey by Verizon, two thirds of the small businesses they surveyed use social media for business purposes. And that number will continue to grow, since “social media is a good and often inexpensive way for a small business to make an impact.”
But making a social impact is tricky when your product isn’t as alluring and newsworthy as the iPhone5. You’re inherently not as “exciting” but you’re just as important, and your needs are still the same: to draw in consumers. Here are some of the best financial-based companies that are on social media – and how they’re getting it right.
Who are they? BNP stands for Banque Nationale de Paris, one of the largest banks in the world.
How social are they? It has two Twitter accounts, a Facebook page, LinkedIn page, YouTube channel, Flickr and a blog.
What sets them apart? “Hello Bank.” The French bank had a pretty great idea to promote its new mobile banking service on Tumblr. For one month, BNP brought in different artists to design a unique piece of art. Every piece incorporated the word “hello.” It’s kind of what Yahoo did a few months ago, when they released a different logo design every day for a month in the run-up to its official new logo release.
It was a way for a bank, which can be perceived as stuffy, to get artsy and get social. Kudos.
Who are they? One of the nation’s largest car insurance companies.
How social are they? Very. “Flo,” Progressive’s spokesperson, has been a staple in commercials and all across their social media platforms for a good while now (since 2008 actually).
What sets them apart? Speaking of Flo, she’s pretty much the driving force behind Progressive’s social presence. Now, people are divided on Flo. Some find her annoying, some love her humor. The point is, it really doesn’t even matter if you like her or not – she kills it on social media. Her Facebook page averages more than 1,000 likes & 100 comments per wall post. She also has her own Twitter account, @ItsFlo, where she runs viral campaigns like “Dress Like Flo” around Halloween.
Let’s shift gears a little and do a little comparison between three of the biggest banks in the country: Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citibank.
They are all pretty much neck-in-neck. So who wins out on which social platform?
Facebook: Bank of America. BoA’s Facebook page has just over a million likes. Citibank is next in line with 770,000+ which is followed by Wells Fargo with 534,000+.
Twitter: Bank of America. Once again, BoA takes the cake with roughly 230,000 followers. But this time Wells Fargo is second with 46,000+ followers, and Citibank rounds it out with 42,000+ followers. The twist? Wells Fargo actually has more mentions on social media than Bank of America.
Bottom line, financial services and insurance companies will never be Nike. They won’t be Apple, and they won’t be Coca Cola.
They won’t have flashy, uber-inspiring campaigns. But they will answer questions, introduce new tools and provide a service.
What they get out of being social is consumer trust. They’re perceived as more dependable and more likable – something that’s important when your money is involved.
Alexis Caffrey is a freelance writer with a focus on technology, new media, and design. In a former life she was a graphic designer based out of New York, NY. She actively (some would say obsessively) follows entertainment news and pop culture. You can reach Alex via her email.