Regions Bank Foregrounds the Lives of its Customers on Social With a Local Focus

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Since Regions Bank created its Facebook page in 2011, its posts have gone from getting around 30 likes or engagements to several hundred on average. Instrumental to that success has been the company’s focus on local targeting, something it’s been able to achieve without fragmenting its social media presence and by using some of its own first-party data.

Street Fight spoke with Regions’ head of social media, Melissa Musgrove, to learn more about how the company has shaped its messaging to resonate with customers across the 15 states in which it operates.

How do you incorporate location into Regions’ marketing strategy?

In social, taking that local angle is really important. Regions is a regional banking institution across 15 different states, and that includes a lot of areas that are very different from each other that have different dynamics. In social, we want to be able to tell the stories of our communities in a way that feels authentic.

We send our community managers out to different special events where we live tweet. We make it more about our communities and less about Regions.

I know that you have the Regions Bank Facebook page, but will you have region-specific Facebook pages, too?

That’s something we have debated in the past, but Facebook—and all social media—has really evolved so that you don’t have to have specific presences for different geographies in order to be relevant. Fragmenting your social presences in that way can almost work against you. We work out of that main branded Regions Facebook page, but then we target our posts using the robust targeting that Facebook offers and also using first-party data from Regions to target certain messages to certain groups, including geography.

Tell me about what successes you’ve seen with that, or what types of campaigns have worked well for Regions.

When Regions is opening a new branch and we want that community to be aware of that, we try to make sure that those posts include imagery and the way locals would talk about the brand in that area. We see share-ability of posts like that. Special events or certain community volunteerism and outreach activities—those posts tend to go viral, too. For the special events, the volunteerism opportunities—we’ll send the social teams out there to cover them, and we see huge amounts of engagement. A lot of the times we’ll partner with schools and nonprofits to share that social content.

What specific technologies does your marketing team use? Any third party tools you use to get any data on your consumers?

We don’t really share the names of the partners that we work with. Working with tools and technology is a big part of what we do in social. It helps us from a listening perspective; you can’t be effective in social if you’re not gaining insights and adapting your social strategy on a day-to-day basis.

You’ve been talking about some of the campaigns that you’ve launched with volunteerism. Once you get that initial engagement through a campaign, what do you do to make sure that people continue to engage?

I think it looks a little bit different depending on the campaign, depending on the type of post, what our objectives are for that initiative. In terms of social, our goals are to drive revenue for Regions, to foster loyalty and deepen relationships with existing customers and prospects, and to deliver extraordinary customer care.

Regions is also the official bank of the SEC. We’re constantly going out to football games and engaging with people through social but also with onsite activations. It’s a great marriage of the passion that people in the south have for SEC football as well as financial education and smart money management. We’re having all these engagements in real time at the tent, we’re engaging with followers on the content we’re creating while the game is happening—and before and after—and [we’re] combining that with our branded products, like our SEC credit card. For a campaign like that, our KPIs are around driving engagement and driving revenue through the cards. We’ve done that several years, and we see growing engagement every year.

You’ve also got your Regions app. How is that important to you for reaching customers, from perhaps a marketing perspective?

Our mobile app enables us to connect with customers and provide services and information to them on the go. That’s really the focus of the app right now, to do all your everyday banking needs wherever you are.

What role does your work in social media play in your overall multichannel strategy?

A lot of brands make the mistake of looking at their marketing brands in a silo. At Regions, we’ve really worked hard not to do that. Social media is integrated into the overall digital and traditional ecosphere of marketing. Sometimes our campaigns are socially led, and other digital channels are secondary to that. And sometimes it’s vice versa. We think of it in terms of the customer journey, crafting experiences that meet their needs and that are fun—more than we think of it as marketing touchpoints and channels.

Back in 2015, content marketing was a big part of the brand following the distrust fomented during the financial crisis. How has your content marketing strategy changed since?

Our content marketing strategy is the bread and butter of what we do in social. It’s so important to be relevant in social media through content. If you’re talking more about you and your brand than your customers and what they care about, then none of your strategies matter. We think about our customers’ lives and the big events taking place in their lives. We focus more on the consumer and their needs than the brand and the messages we may want to push out ourselves. That’s a huge part of how we think about content at Regions, and it’s a big part of what’s helped us be so successful.

A big focus area for us coming out of 2017 into 2018 has been thinking about the next step that customers are taking with regards to their finances. We talk a lot about “your financial next step,” and maybe that’s a small step happening today, or maybe it’s a big step: sending your kids to college, retirement, buying a home. It enables us to tell really powerful stories about our customers. For us, being able to hand the microphone to our customers and let them tell stories about their lives—for us, that’s the best thing ever.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Kate Talerico is a staff writer at Street Fight.