How do you promote “boring” products and services, like banking, insurance and finance, if you’re a B2B or B2C marketer?
Rachel DeGrand of Hausmann-Johnson Insurance, Leslie Osman of Park Bank and Spencer X Smith of AmpliPhi provided attendees at the July 17 Social Media Breakfast Madison event thoughtful ideas for doing just so. The event took place at the at The Lone Girl Brewing Company’s beautiful new event space in Waunakee, where the trio focused on giving back—not products and services—for social media campaign success.
The presenters urged that by giving your employees the opportunity to contribute to causes they care about, their efforts will help build positive brand awareness for the organization. And according to our speakers, this approach really works!
Spotlight Others to Build Brand Awareness and Support
Leslie emphasized that brand is a lot more than advertising. “Brand is culture, benefits to employees and the customer experience,” she said. “Advertising is the cherry on top.”
Speaking of culture, Hausmann-Johnson (H-J) and Park Bank each give each employee $100 per year to donate to the organization of their choice. Employees take a photo related to the nonprofit they’re supporting and share it on social media, along with why they support their specific cause.
Leslie reported that through this process, Park Bank found out what’s important to their employees. In fact, they learned that about 30 percent of employees helped fun schools with their $100 donation. “Our employees are passionate about helping youth achieve,” she said.
The charitable giving campaign increased employee engagement with the brand, she explained. And more importantly, made employees feel good and provided needed funds to local organizations.
Help Employees Maximize Publicity
Both Rachel and Leslie agreed that their organizations help employees who need guidance on how to promote their $100 contributions on social media during charitable giving events.
In their social media posts, Leslie explained that employees will highlight the achievement of their selected nonprofit and indicate that they’re happy to be a part of that effort.
Spencer noted that many (boring) industries face tough compliance rules regarding promotion of products and services. The good news is that regulators can’t forbid photos of employees participating in a benefit walk or other charitable events.“They’re not talking about products and services,” he said.
Build Momentum with Charitable Giving Posts
These marketers focused on amplifying messages on Facebook regarding charitable giving. Besides benefiting partners and involving employees, the charitable giving campaigns also increased online engagement.
Through the use of social comparison tools, Leslie observed that many of the bank’s competitors concentrate their posts on products and services. Park Bank draws more engagement with its posts about charitable giving and customers’ successes—without having to “always be selling”.
When supporters needs services, Osman said they can visit the bank’s website to learn about them.
Rachel concurred with that viewpoint. Through their social posting, H-J is building its audience. “When you do have a post about your services,” she said, “you’ll have an audience there—and maybe they’ll pay more attention.”
Use Multiple Channels to Celebrate Your Customers’ Success
Both H-J and Park Bank use a variety of social media channels and media to promote charitable events and their customers’ successes.
For example, Park Bank helped fund The Sylvee, Madison’s newest live music venue. They created a testimonial video focused on The Sylvee’s owners and their goals for the new space. The video only features the bank’s logo and website at the end of the production.
Spencer praised H-J for its before and after promotion of the Melody’s Hope for Children Tailgate, held each year at the H-J parking lot, 700 Regent St., Madison, Wisconsin. All proceeds go to the American Family Children’s Hospital to support patients and their families. H-J promotes the event through video highlights, an online auction and guest appearance by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Bucky Badger mascot. During the day of the event, H-J features the day’s festivities on Facebook Live. Sponsors offer key support. After the tailgate, publicity continues with thank yous and follow-up videos.
Rachel said that employees volunteering at the event frequently post on social media. There’s even a contest recognizing the best photo and post that includes the hashtag: #tailgate4hope.
A Recruitment Tool
When it comes to recruiting, company culture matters. Social media postings about community involvement demonstrate that firms care about giving back. Rachel said these posts helped recruit high-quality applicants to join H-J. The firm has won several awards for being a Great Place to Work.
Social Media Campaign Goals
Some SMBMad attendees may wonder how to get leadership buy-in for promoting charitable activities on social media. Spencer encouraged participants to research charitable leaders and organizations who are active on social media and showcase them as role models.
Rachel said marketers should focus on storytelling and find the social media channels that align with their purpose.
Leslie noted that the bank earmarks only 10 percent of its marketing budget for social media. In developing their campaigns, the marketing team asks themselves, “What are we trying to accomplish and which channels best fit?”
See You at SMBMad in August
Special thanks to the panelists and all in attendance!
Join us next month for Podcasting: Reach Your Audience and Build Community Worldwide. Presenting will be Neil Mathweg, Realtor and “I Love Madison” podcaster. Unlike most months, the event will be held the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 28 at the Goodman Community Center: Brassworks. It’s an official Forward Fest event.
Leslie Blaize wrote this post on behalf of Winbound, a content manufacturing marketing firm. Winbound provides an all-in-one content marketing and conversion optimization package specifically designed for small manufacturing and industrial marketing departments.