What Social Media Tells Us About The Bank Audience

Social media data

Understanding your retail customer is important when it comes to bank marketing, product design, and sales. While most community banks know what their average customer looks like regarding age (greater than 35 years old), gender (male), education (college degree) and average household income ($67k), the current state of social media and data analytics can uncover a wealth of insight. We take a look at some of the stronger correlations and discuss some ways to take advantage of the huge amount of data on social media.  


The Conversation That You May Not Be Seeing


Say what you will about social media, but one huge advantage is the fact that it allows banks to listen in on conversations in unprecedented volume. At any given hour of the day, there are thousands of conversations taking place in the U.S. about banks and banking products. The conversation is growing each year, and while 2017 wasn’t as big as 2016 due to financial reform and the election, there were still over a half million conversations about banking taking place out in the open. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, in that order, all can provide banks an excellent source of marketing information that can be used to make your sales marketing and product design more effective. 


For example, a common theme is this notion that banking is part of “adulting.” The 20 to 30-year-old crowd often consider having multiple accounts, a mortgage, a line of credit or other banking product a rite of passage. Banks would do well to mine this sentiment and design a marketing campaign around this concept. 


Social media and banking


Sentiment and The Affinity of Bank Customers


By analyzing the data, one line of analysis is looking at sentiment and correlations. No surprise, in 2017, there was about 20% more negative comments than positive comments on social media. For the most part, retail customers complained about mistakes; fees; not honoring checks; wait time and physical branch issues in that order. Also, to no surprise, during this negative sentiment, a credit union alternative was often brought up.


Bankers should understand the scope of this sentiment as when social media users talk about financial services in general; they are 434 times more likely to also discuss a credit union. This is, by far, the largest correlative affinity in social media which can be leveraged either through comparison marketing or by educating staff to be prepared to discuss the pros and cons of a credit union alternative both on and offline.


Below are some other common positive and negative correlations to financial services on social media: 


Social media affinity


As can be seen above, conversations around retirement, hedge funds and a particular blogger with financial advice are all highly correlated to banking conversations. Conversely, the average person talking about banking is 33x less likely to also be into anime and 6x less likely to be talking about music. This helps bankers understand who is likely not your customer.  


Understanding affinity correlations are particularly important when designing products and marketing campaigns. Having education and conversations around retirement, the stock marketing or real estate will only serve to boost the power of that campaign. Alternatively, we would not leverage anime imagery or pay for Justin Bieber to be an influencer, but you most likely already knew that.


This data also supports a common technique that some bank marketers use which is to monitor the conversations with popular financial bloggers such as a Suze Orman and see what topics are trending in order to design a social media or digital marketing push to take advantage of that sentiment. This is a great way to gain visibility and boost campaign effectiveness.


Next Step: Driving The Conversation With A Retail Banking Customer


While understanding the affinities of the average social media-using banking customer is important for marketing campaign design, there are certain words on social media that carry more power and elicit more conversations. In our next article on this topic, we look at aggregate social media data another way and highlight the 25 words and phrases that are likely to generate a conversation with the average banking customer.