How to stand out on social media in ‘boring’ industries – Richard Cook

Richard Cook, Social Media Manager at Monzo Bank
How can you embrace the true essence of social media in industries and companies that aren’t known for it? Richard will offer practical tips for smashing social 🙂

Table of Contents

👍 Compliant doesn’t have to mean boring

Richard operates in the banking sector. There are a lot of rules to say what he can and cannot say.

For a lot of us, that would mean content that is boring, bland and sterile: playing it safe. Even without regulation – a lot of us exist in this space on social (I know I do sometimes!).

But, Richard asserted: “compliant content can still be beautiful, funny, and inspiring!”

How do you do that? To start, Richard stated that the best content is content that looks like it was made by a person, and made for the channel it’s being shared on. Simple, right?

The other condition was the content needed to look like it belongs on social media, not a T&Cs document. We can do so much better than ‘here is the information’ – that’s the creative challenge!

💡 Reminder: Your customers are more creative than you

Don’t forget that you’re not in this alone. User generated content is a gold mine and probably way better than anything than we can think of alone.

Richard recommends searching for what your customers are doing to interact with you already: their reviews, speaking about your product/service online and in forums, and saying to you directly through customer service channels.

You can also seek inspiration from what they’re saying about the industry in general. If you’re a house builder – what are people saying about buying a house online? If you’re selling glue – what excellent YouTube videos exist from people using glue in their projects? Are there any failures or successes you can highlight?

The truth is for almost all industries, there are people speaking about what you do in one form or another. It’s not always ‘entertaining’ content, but it can be ‘interesting’ to people who are seeking the thing that you do in that moment. That’s very much the opposite of boring.

🗣 Speak to customers in their own language

Are your customers super professional or a little more laid back? Making social media interesting is about speaking to people how they speak with one another. Reflect their language!

Here we’re thinking about tapping into conversations that matter to your customers, so keep an eye out for the things your customers are speaking about right now. That could be lockdowns, sporting events, whatever! If you can find a way to link it back to your business in a meaningful way – that’s certainly a start.

This point doesn’t just apply for B2C. One of the quotes of the session was ‘behind every B is a C’. This means to say even if you’re selling to a business, you’re still selling to a person in that business. Treat and speak to them in a tone that matches!

😑 There are no ‘boring’ topics, only boring content

It’s not a done deal. Something that feels exciting can be boring and something that can feel boring can be interesting.

Take what you have and run with it. Richard used the example of credit scores: hardly ‘trendy’ but Monzo will take this topic and create threads, carousels and TikToks about credit scores. They will break the concept down. Make it digestible, and remove all the jargon – explaining like you would to a friend. 

Richard asked the question: If your brand was a person, what would their personality be? 💥💥💥

🗞 React to what is happening

One source of inspiration is what is happening out there in the real world.

As Eddie Shleyner highlighted in his talk with TMM earlier this year ‘creativity is taking two seemingly unconnected things and bringing them together’. 

Take Monzo’s bank card and the recent heatwave. How about a post about 10 ways to use your bank card in the heat?

Is WhatsApp down? How about using Monzo and their bank transactions reference function as a way to send a message to your friends (example in the video!). This again links to the idea of user generated content, too!

One way you might find this connection is in your business data. Is there anything you have knowledge on related to the news that would work on social?

👀 Look inside and outside your industry for inspiration

Finally – don’t just limit yourself to your industry for inspiration.

What principles can you learn from innocent or Ryanair? Is there something they are doing that you can adapt for your own social activity in what they’re posting or how they’re using the different channels?

Closer to home, search the most popular hashtags in your industry – what is proving successful? Is there anything you can do here to take the example and adapt for your own content? There is inspiration everywhere!

This is just a starter for ten. As mentioned at the beginning, Richard bought a bunch of visual examples that really bought the talk to live. Check out the full video right here 🙂

Hat tip to Abi Robinson, who’s notes were really useful in bringing together these bitesize takeaways to you today!