Banks around the world are rolling out various versions of Cardless Cash—or mobile phone access to your money at ATMs. This trend is a big step toward digital innovation for the financial services industry. What happens when one bank executes a social marketing campaign around the launch to stand out above the rest?

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    Increase in mobile app enrollments

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    Positive sentiment for Cardless Cash

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    Boost in Twitter engagement during the campaign

About Avidia Bank

Avidia Bank formed in 2007 with the merge of two longstanding American banks, Hudson Savings Bank and Westborough Bank. It is now a $1.2 billion community bank headquartered in Hudson, Massachusetts. We spoke with Mike Allard, Chief Marketing Officer, CarrieAnne Cormier, Retail Operations and Strategy, and Kate Cwieka, Marketing Specialist at Avidia Bank.

The best way we can promote mobile banking is by marketing where our customers are. More likely than not, they are on social media on their phone, so it’s a natural extension to download our mobile banking app and use it wherever they may be.

Michael Allard
Chief Marketing OfficerAvidia Bank

What they did

How to use social media to successfully launch a product

“There’s a transformation taking place at Avidia Bank,” says Cormier. “Having top-down support of social media marketing has positioned us among brand leaders in our industry.” The chief marketing officer’s top goals for social media marketing are to drive brand love, sales leads and web traffic, and customer advocacy. With Allard’s support, the marketing team created a comprehensive digital campaign strategy to market the launch of Avidia Bank’s Cardless Cash product.

“We’ve always been early adopters in digital banking, but we’ve basically kept our updates to ourselves because change comes with the territory of staying current,” says Cormier. “Giving our product launches the marketing they deserve is part of our differentiator, positioning our brand among other innovators.”

Cardless Cash is a new feature available in mobile app form, which allows customers to draw money from ATMs and branch locations directly from their smartphone. It reduces the transaction time from one minute to 10 seconds and reduces the risk of security and fraud issues because no card data is transferred. Not only is it more secure, but it’s more user-friendly and just plain cool.

How they did it

The social media strategy behind a product launch campaign

A majority of their marketing strategy revolves around social media, with some traditional marketing, such as in-branch posters, signage, and swag t-shirts—all with download app codes. With the launch just around the corner, Avidia Bank shared a teaser social media post saying that something exciting was coming and asked whether customers were ready to go #CardlessCash. That one post was their top rated content for the month, with 2,030 impressions and 70 engagements.  

Cwieka and Cormier did a live Q&A on the young but popular social network, Periscope, where customers tuned-in and asked questions in real time—a first among most banks. They also hosted a fun battle on Periscope between ATM versus mobile app to show the difference in time and convenience. The team repurposed this engaging content on other social networks to increase their reach.

Using Hootsuite to publish content and engage in secure conversations

Their social media strategy relied entirely on organic social, rather than paid ads, but they did do some influencer targeting. This was because the launch was the first of its kind for the bank and they wanted to see how much growth they could gather organically. Using Hootsuite, they found social media influencers in financial services and reached out to them directly to let them know about the campaign.

Avidia Bank’s marketing team used Hootsuite to publish campaign content every step of the way. They created streams to monitor #CardlessCash, brand mentions, industry conversations, and general news. Because streams refresh automatically, Cwieka could easily see relevant conversations, jump in, and connect with customers directly.

With Hootsuite’s integration with Proofpoint Social Media Protection, a pioneer in social media security and compliance, the team can feel confident that all social engagement with Avidia Bank is happening on Hootsuite. With Proofpoint, any non-compliant messages or commentary will trigger a warning and enable the team to respond quickly and mitigate risks of poor quality engagement. Proofpoint automates the review and remediation of content by monitoring for brands risks. These risks range from inappropriate language to compliance violations and security risks like malware and phishing links. Proofpoint allows the Avidia Bank team to take real-time action to protect its brand on social.

Employee advocacy program to increase reach and brand love

Avidia Bank has an internal employee advocacy program called Avidia Smarties. This is one way for them to grow their brand love, show the human side, drive reach, and have real personalities respond on behalf of the bank. Avidia Smarties are people who work in various branches and departments of the bank and are socially savvy and interested in driving business with social.

The Avidia Smarties are required to go through Hootsuite University training before they become ambassadors. As ambassadors, they have access to the organization’s Hootsuite dashboard and can pull on-brand content from a central Content Library to share on their personal channels. During the Cardless Cash campaign, Avidia Bank’s marketing team uploaded pre-approved content into the Hootsuite Content Library for Smarties to share and help promote the launch.

The results

Avidia Bank has seen a 13 percent increase in mobile app enrollments since introducing Cardless Cash. To the surprise of stakeholders that believed the solution favored millennials, Cardless Cash adopters ranged from ages 17 to 79, with a median age of 41.

Social media posts normally see around 700 impressions with an engagement rate around 3 percent. The teaser post alone had 2,030 impressions and 10.13 percent engagement rate.

In just a few months of the post, they doubled their Twitter followers and had a 10 percent growth in Facebook followers. Sentiment around the campaign was 83 percent positive, which, for a new banking product, is overwhelmingly affirmative.

Avidia Bank’s Twitter engagement saw an overall 101.3 percent boost from the time of the Cardless Cash launch in July to September.

Trying out content on new social networks like Periscope shows the bank’s willingness to innovate and meet young customers where they already feel comfortable. Overall, the campaign was a major success in building brand love and employee and customer advocacy.

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