When it comes to developing a social media strategy, lenders must determine how to get their message across in the right channel – in less time than it takes to read this paragraph.
The stakes are high because 3 billion people worldwide are active on social media, and consumers are spending an average of five hours per day on mobile devices, said Kathy Ruble, executive director of marketing at Ally Financial, during a session at the American Financial Services Association’s recent Vehicle Finance Conference. Yet consumers’ average attention span is only eight seconds.
To that end, social media content should “grab the viewer and get their attention,” Ruble said. More importantly, “if I get their attention, will they act on it?”
A key consideration is to make content so relevant that consumers feel like it was personalized for them. “I need to be looking at my feed and thinking, ‘How did they know this is exactly what I was looking for, or exactly what I was interested in?’” she said.
Specifically, the message should be precise and easy-to-understand. “It’s got to be snappable, little bite-sized nuggets that I can digest quickly and understand what that message is and why it’s important to me,” she explained.
Earlier this year, Ally Financial launched an auto finance trivia game, called “Counting Cash,” during the North American International Auto Show. The six-installment trivia game was hosted by Danny Koker, star of the History Channel show “Counting Cars.” Questions were posted to Ally’s Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube pages, and participants had 48 hours to submit answers for the chance to win a $500 gift card. One of the questions — a Jan. 28 video posted to Twitter asking what percentage of Americans had an auto loan in 2017 — generated 2,903 views, 254 comments, 116 “likes,” and 52 retweets. One consumer was randomly selected to win of the many who correctly wrote in to answer 43%.
That kind of data is critical when developing a social media plan. “It makes no sense to put a post out there and have no idea of what the impact will be,” Ruble said. “You have to know how to improve it or when to scrap it and start all over again. Every idea has to have a measurement plan associated with it.”
Lenders must recognize that, often, social media plans will fall short. “You’ve got to not be shy about getting out there and exploring new methods, new platforms, new technology,” she said. “And more importantly, don’t be afraid to fail. Because we don’t ever hit it out of the park every time or the first time. There are going to be failures, and there are always great learnings from some of those failures.”
A few other suggestions from Ruble:
- Every marketing idea should contain a social element, even if it’s a small percentage of the promotion. “Social media is a playground for innovation,” she said.
- Keep experimenting. The process must be fluid and ongoing.
- Focus on each platform’s ability to reach, target, and measure effectively. Audit the competitive landscape and rank social channels based on objectives and results. “Do your homework and learn what works best for your brand, your product, your service,” she said.
- When you find a strategy that works, run with it. But pay attention, because eventually the approach will get stale and you’ll have to refresh it.
- Recognize the importance of influencers. Try to find ways to leverage their expansive networks to bring added value to your brand.
- Create a journey that your customers want to finish. “It won’t always happen, but that’s got to be the goal,” Ruble said.
Check out one of Ally’s video trivia tweets below:
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Get your ultimate car trivia knowledge ready! Reply to us with #sweepstakes and your answer to @DannyCountKoker‘s question for the chance to win $500. Enter by 1/30 at 11 AM ET. #NAIAS2018 No purchase necessary. Rules: https://t.co/MsRBUhSv35 pic.twitter.com/LmKEUCz9CJ
— Ally (@Ally) January 28, 2018