Vintage toned Wall Street at sunset, Manhattan, New York City, USA.

Financial Companies Jump on the Instagram Bandwagon Too

When we think of trademark positioning on social networks, the idea of the almost strictly visual nature of Instagram and companies that belong to the world of finance, such as banks, credit card companies, etc. don’t go hand and hand.

However, the growing popularity of this particular social network and the search for these companies to win the favour and business of younger generations has led to interesting initiatives from brands with financial products who have little to no photographic presence.

Everyone wants to be on Instagram

Woman in her mid-20's and her Golden Retriever enjoy a summer sunset on a mountain overlooking a lake in Kelowna,  British Columbia, Canada.

The leading photography based social network has been revealing shocking data in recent months related to its popularity. Specifically, in April 2017 Instagram announced that it had reached over 700 million users. What is even more impressive is that in the last two years it has doubled its user base. In addition, adding to its record trophy case, they have announced that their growth has skyrocketed (due to a series of beneficial decisions), from the 600 million users they had in December 2016, gaining 100 million new users in the first four months of 2017.

Putting things into context, Instagram has double the number of users that Twitter has followers, though it has a long way to go to catch up to its parent company Facebook, which has over 2 billion users.

Hence, large financial companies do not want to miss out on their share of the pie. Whether as a strategy or because of the complexity of selling financial products through a social network, financial companies have chosen to associate their brands with experiences through Instagram. The attractive content being shown seeks, above all, to appeal to young people through their values and lifestyles.

Financial Brands on Instagram

Of the current financial brands using Instagram, one of the most interesting is American Express. The credit card company posts content on Instagram that would never be associated with their products, unless it includes the recognizable AmEx card subtly. The objective here is to offer experiences to connect with the user, who through interaction, can connect with the brand itself. No one wants to see advertising as it is, hence us living in the era of ad blockers, much less on their Instagram feed. What people want to see is an experience, and companies such as American Express, with their connections and resources, can produce this while slipping in a connection to their brand, either by having a product or a cue in the picture.

A similar case is the one we see with MasterCard. The company has been using experiences for years, such as their television ads with the “For everything else, MasterCard” campaign. In that phrase is where it seems to address their Instagram account with over 60 thousand followers. In fact, in the profile description it says, “Connecting people to Priceless possibilities”, implying that experiences are priceless.

Of course, they also a lot of sponsored event content, which is very common among brands on Instagram. There are, however, certain ways to do this correctly, and MasterCard has proven not to abuse or overemphasize their logo too much. In fact, some content from them is purely aligned with experiences such as the image below.

It must be said that not all financial companies are as well established in their social media marketing as MasterCard and American Express. The ability to connect people through nearly pure visual content to products as complex as financial services/products is not to be taken lightly. Finding that silver lining between experiences and the product that is to be sold is where companies are investing in, because this is where younger generations can find a connection with the brands they use in their daily lives.

Too complicated to implement?

The idea seems simple enough, take an experience, throw in a cue that relates to your product and immediate recognition, right? Unfortunately, it is much more complicated than this. Finding the right experience and relating it to your product can be extremely difficult, and many companies go for the trial and error method, which in some cases do more harm than good in the long run. If you seem to have it down, congrats! If you need a little help, don’t hesitate to drop us a message and we will put you on the right path!

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