Nowadays, there’s still a lot of confusion around hatching up a manageable social media strategy and even more so for traditional corporate brands, who are finding it hard to fit into our hyperconnected social world. Should you use all social channels or stick to a single medium and do it properly? Instagram is perhaps the trickiest new platform of them all, because users expect outstanding content, especially if you’re a brand disrupting their personal feeds. The nature of one’s industry comes to play here. Banking is neither exciting nor visually appealing.

However, the pressure to keep up with changing consumer behavior (undeniably influenced by our social presence and the way we consume data) is enough of a good reason to give Instagram a go. Prior to taking the leap, start from identifying a purpose for your page and the amount of resources you’re able to invest in order to reach your KPIs. Analyze your market, culture and audience in order to highlight an important topic in your channel and the value you’re able to offer in return for disruption.


Based on our analysis of different Instagram pages from all over the world, we can identify four distinctive categories:

1)         Instagram page as a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look into the bank’s world.

Page showing the humane side of financial institutions. Posts featuring or curated by employees, photos of fun outdoor activities and other sponsored events. Minimal amount of content about the bank’s products. This strategy works from a branding point-of-view.

Examples: Scotiabank (Canada); OCBC (Singapore);

2)         Instagram page as a supportive channel for current promotions.

Posts with heavy branding center around current big campaigns and short promotions. The strategy works well in Asia (and to some extent in Russia), where users seem to appreciate informative posts. Western markets are trickier and overly pushy posts don’t work.

Examples: DBS (Singapore); Societe Generale (France); Sberbank (Russia); VTB (Russia)

3)         Instagram page as an effective elongation to customer service.

The main idea is to support day-to-day customer service i.e. respond to very specific enquiries in the comments section, provide information on opening hours, heads-up on scammers, practical information on financial safety, moneysaving tips etc. Obviously, it’s a big commitment as posts need to be frequent and comments monitored hourly. A couple of studied banks have actually implemented a special email handle for Instagram enquiries. Again, works well in Eastern markets.

Examples: Sberbank (Russia); VTB (Russia);

4)         Instagram page with no clear purpose/mixed content.

The most common case these days – having an Insta page just for the sake of it. No clear strategy can be identified, heavily branded content clashes with lighter posts, messy frequency. Just a few posts draw massive engagement. Clearly, different type of content has been tested resulting in a very ‘colorful’ page. Can be justified if comments are monitored effectively and users are provided with answers to their banking related questions (meaning some value is offered). Western banks fall under this category. Users evaluate each piece of content individually, photos with 40 likes can be easily followed by superstar posts with 800 likes. It really depends on the type of content the bank puts out.

Examples: Royal Bank of Scotland; NATWEST (Scotland); Royal Bank of Canada; BNP Paribas (France); RABOBANK (the Netherlands);

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