Three Types of Content That Work For Financial Services

My first job way back in 2009 was to start the Twitter and Facebook channels for a Texas based credit union. They were thrilled to have a new way to communicate with their members. After a great deal of internal fanfare, I began posting and gave myself a crash course in personal finance along the way.

Then the reporting began. Were we being talked to? Was our audience growing? Were our members asking us for assistance on social? Not so much. In the last five years a strong audience eventually developed, but at the time it felt like I was shouting into the wind.

How have financial institutions on social media changed in the last five years? Using public APIs, could the data uncover outliers relative to their peers?

To this end I used this list of the Top 100 Banks on Twitter from The Financial Brand, a banking industry blog. I queried their last 1,000 Tweets and threw out replies and Retweets from other accounts. When limited to only direct public communications I had around 48,700 Tweets to analyze. The majority of these institutions have an average 50,000 followers. I would have died to have this kind of audience!

From this data set, I looked at the individual content items that overperformed each institution's average. This view helped me surface three content themes that consistently over perform for financial institutions.

Social Good




The two examples come from RBC and Scotia Bank, but this type of content was consistently near the top. Not only were they letting their followers proactively contribute to good causes they were also able to spread their association. Most companies have charitable interests and this is a great way to extend that vision to a larger community. (See a great idea for a financial services social good campaign in our 2015 Holiday Lookbook.)




Through existing sponsorships or marketing campaigns, financial institutions can share exclusive benefits with their customers through giveaways. Providing unexpected rewards is an easy way to drive engagement with existing customers and create new relationships.

Community Interests


USAA is bank that is dedicated to serving members of the Armed Forces and their immediate families. Perhaps it is no surprise that their highest performing content is around veterans’ holidays. They are speaking directly to their audiences lives.

This speaks to my experience at the credit union. Many financial institutions have limited charters and this can be a huge benefit from a content perspective. It can very clearly define an audience and allow more effective messaging to their interests. My best performing content was always highlighting that which was happening directly within where we were chartered.

There is always something to be learned when applying frameworks like this to industry specific data. Instead of  getting distracted by the volume of interactions our larger competitors had, I should have taken an approach like this to my credit union’s content calendar. I could have removed months of trial and error from my content creation process.

Using data to inform your social marketing efforts is smart. That’s why we created the Smart Social Report, a data-rich report that highlights the State of Social with deep dive sections on social care, Tumblr, real-time marketing, and Instagram.

Jason Smith's picture

Jason Smith

Jason Smith is a Senior Analyst at Spredfast and works to find the underlying story the data is trying to tell. When he isn’t breaking APIs and making charts he can be found playing music around Austin. Follow him on Twitter for general nonsense and various complaints.