Social media secrets for community financial institutions
Social media secrets for community financial institutions

Social media algorithms can seem like a mysterious mix of magic and rocket science.

You might have as much luck picking winning lottery numbers as predicting the next TikTok trend. But it’s easy to see how much people engage with the platform. According to Statista, adults in the United States spent on average 52 minutes a day on TikTok in 2022. That's expected to reach 58 minutes a day in 2024.

Social media platforms continuously refine their algorithms to keep people scrolling. Your financial institution’s social media strategy needs to keep up. While some tactics apply to multiple platforms, each algorithm requires special considerations to see real results.

In this article, we break down ranking signals and best practices for six of the leading social media platforms. You can use the quick links below to jump to a specific platform. 

Let's shine some light on how the major social media channels’ algorithms work. So, you can post content that’s more likely to reach more account holders and members of your community. 


The Facebook algorithm determines what people see every time they check Facebook. It scores content and then arranges it in descending order of interest for each individual user. This process happens every time a user refreshes their feed. 


Ranking signals 

Familiar sources 

Facebook’s algorithm collects data on how users interact with posts from other accounts. That includes likes, follows, comments, shares, and friend requests. More interactions with a particular profile or page indicate greater familiarity with that account. If a user is more familiar with an account, Facebook will serve the user more posts from that account. 


Preferred media 

Some people prefer to kick back and press play. Others would rather read at their own pace. Facebook’s algorithm pays attention to the kind of content that appeals to users. If you watch a lot of videos, you’ll see more videos in your feed. If you like a lot of photos, you’ll see more photos. 


Engagement probability 

If Facebook’s algorithm thinks a user is inclined to like, share, or comment on a post, then that post is more likely to appear in the user’s feed. How does the algorithm determine that probability? Look at the user’s history. Facebook will serve users posts that are similar to what they’ve engaged with in the past. 


Interest generated

Facebook values interaction between accounts. We’ve seen how Facebook identifies posts that appeal to specific users. The algorithm analyzes this data for commonalities across posts and elevates those that are more likely to spark conversations between users. 


Best practices 

Produce meaningful content. 

Think about the kind of content your friends and family share with you. What made them think a particular post was worth talking about? What convinced them to stop scrolling and read every word or watch the entire video? Chances are it was content that they found new, interesting, and informative. Your financial institution should aspire to create helpful, compelling content. 


Be accurate and authentic. 

Genuine posts tend to rank higher. Facebook is constantly working to reduce the ranking of posts that could be considered misleading, sensational, or spammy. This matters even more for community banks and credit unions. You want consumers to feel confident about trusting their money with your financial institution. Make sure your posts are truthful and easy to understand. 


Respond to your audience. 

If a person takes time to leave you a comment, make sure you reply. By starting conversations, you’re showing the algorithm that your account is likely to generate interest. You’re also making people feel heard, which gives them more reason to engage with your content — driving another ranking signal. 


Encourage favoriting. 

Ask your followers to add your financial institution’s page to their “Favorites” list. This will ensure they always see your content at the top of their feeds. Don't worry. Direct calls to action are common on social media. Just remember not to overwhelm people with this request. Consider saving it for your most meaningful content. 



You’ll often hear the Instagram algorithm referred to as a single concept, but there are actually multiple algorithms at play. Instagram's algorithms work toward one goal: to make you stay on the app longer by delivering content you'll find relevant and interesting. 


Ranking signals 

Post information 

Instagram looks for characteristics that tend to generate more interest. Is the post a photo or a video? Videos receive greater engagement than photos, so IG’s algorithm will give more prominence to posts with videos. When was it posted? More recent content is likely to be more relevant. How many likes does it have? People pay attention to popular posts. 


Profile information 

The source of a post can be as important as the post itself. That’s why Instagram also uses profile information to rank content. How often do people engage with content from a particular individual or organization? IG rewards posts from popular profiles with higher rankings. 


User activity

IG pays attention to how people behave on their platform and serves up content that appeals to their individual tastes. Does a user prefer to watch videos or view photos? Do they follow trending topics? How often do they log in to their account? When are they the most active?  


Interaction history 

IG analyzes how people interact with other profiles. If a user likes, comments, saves, or shares a piece of content, IG will serve them more posts from that profile. If you interacted with someone’s content before, you may be more likely to do so again. And more interactions mean more time in the app. 


Best practices 

Increase reach with Reels. 

Reels are great for raising awareness of your financial institution’s brand. IG recommends posting Reels that are entertaining, inspiring, or experimental. Use text, camera effects, and filters to add visual flair. Avoid using blurry, low-resolution video and recycling content that’s clearly from another app. 


Ask for engagement. 

Use your captions to ask people questions and encourage commentary to get the conversation going. But before you do, ask yourself if this is content someone would save and come back to again. Make sure your request is worth their time, so they’ll feel excited for your next post. 


Add hashtags and keywords. 

Social is the new search. Gone are the days Google reigns king. According to HubSpot, 29% of Gen Z and Millennials combined prefer social media over search engines. So, you should start optimizing your social media content for search if you haven’t already. Use hashtags and keywords to help your desired audience find posts from your community bank or credit union. 


Encourage favoriting. 

Sound familiar? Not surprising since Facebook and Instagram operate under the Meta umbrella. Our advice for Facebook also applies to Instagram. Ask people to favorite your financial institution’s profile. IG has an entire feed dedicated to favorites! And favorites show up higher in the regular feed. 


Twitter (X) 

Think of X’s algorithm as a central brain that powers what we see on Twitter and how we see it. These decisions are based on many factors, including location, virality, personal interests, recency, and rich media. 

X might seem a little... turbulent these days. Its algorithm is no exception. Ranking signals and subsequent best practices can change like the weather. 


Ranking signals 

Sourcing tweets 

X’s algorithm starts by finding 1,500 potential tweets to display in a user’s feed. This is a mix of in-network and out-of-network posts. In-network tweets come from accounts you follow. Out-of-network tweets come from accounts you don’t follow but share similarities to your in-network tweets. 


Ranking tweets 

X has a source of potential tweets to include in a user’s feed. What’s next? The platform’s machine learning model ranks the 1,500 tweets based on the likelihood the user would engage with them. The greater the possibility for engagement, the higher the tweet appears in the feed. 


Filtering tweets 

The algorithm removes tweets from accounts the user either blocked or muted, as well as tweets that have already been viewed. X also increases author diversity, so the user doesn’t see consecutive tweets from the same account. X then aims to balance the number of in-network and out-of-network tweets. 


Mixing tweets 

We've discussed in-network and out-of-network tweets, as well as blocked and muted accounts. But there’s one type of content we haven’t mentioned yet. Ads. X’s algorithm mixes filtered tweets with sponsored content, applying the data it has gathered about the user to deliver relevant ads. 


Best practices 

Verify your account. 

The once elusive blue checkmark can now be yours with a monthly subscription. Going blue will give your financial institution’s account a boost, but the benefits don’t stop there. You’ll also unlock text formatting and the ability to edit tweets. Plus, you’ll receive fewer ads in your own feed. 


Tweet about trends. 

X’s algorithm gives a 1.1x boost to tweets on trending topics compared to trend-free tweets. But you’ll want to be careful about which crowd you follow. See which trending topics make sense for your brand. How can you contribute to the conversation as a community financial institution? 


Add rich media. 

Tweets with media receive a 2x boost compared to those without! That includes photos, videos, and GIFs. You can use media to make your financial institution's tweets more informative and entertaining. It’s also a chance to show your brand’s personality. Have fun with it! Who doesn’t like a good meme?


Follow accounts carefully. 

If you follow a lot of accounts without having many followers of your own, X will penalize your financial institution’s account and limit the reach of your tweets. Bots and spam accounts aren’t very popular. Monitor your follower-to-following ratio to make sure your account doesn’t get dinged. 


Use links sparingly. 

X will penalize anything that could be considered spammy — and links often are. Prioritize tweeting zero-click content. This is content that provides value without making users leave the platform. Only add links when it’s absolutely necessary for your community bank or credit union.  



TikTok's For You page, FYP for short, is the first page you encounter on TikTok. It’s filled with recommended videos that get more accurate as you spend time on the platform. 

TikTok serves a mix of content from creators you follow and those you've yet to discover — emphasizing content relevance over creator popularity. This blend of familiar and new content makes the platform keeps users coming back for more. 


Ranking signals 

User interactions 

TikTok’s algorithm makes recommendations based on how a user interacts with content. Interactions include accounts followed, comments posted, videos liked and shared, and videos added to favorites. This is the most important signal for how TikTok ranks content. 


Video information 

TikTok recommendations are also based on the kind of content you tend to seek out on the Discover tab. This includes video details like captions, sounds, hashtags, effects, and trending topics. TikTok analyzes this information to serve users videos that appeal to their individual tastes. 


Device and account settings 

TikTok also looks at your device and account settings. These factors include language preferences, location, device type, and any categories of interest selected by new users. While this information plays a role in the algorithm, it isn’t the main driver of what appears in a user’s feed. 


Not recommended content 

So, we’ve seen what drives recommendations. Let’s go over what TikTok removes from users’ feeds. TikTok will not recommend spam, duplicated content, videos a user has already seen, videos a user has marked as “not interested,” and potentially upsetting content (like graphic medical procedures). 


Best practices 

Go Pro. 

Switch to a TikTok Pro account. You can choose a Creator or Business account. Doing so won’t help get your videos on the For You page, but it will give you access to metrics and insights that can help guide your financial institution’s strategy. 


Find your people.  

Subcultures exist throughout TikTok. Find the one that’s right for your financial institution. Tapping into one of these communities will help you create wider exposure for your brand. You can do this by exploring relevant hashtags like #FinanceTok. Speaking of hashtags... 


Add hashtags and captions.  

TikTok doesn’t cap how many hashtags you can use. But there is a character limit for captions. We recommend three to five hashtags as the sweet spot for boosting discoverability. Make sure to include keywords in your captions as well. A survey by Adobe found that over two in five Americans use TikTok as a search engine. 


Use trending sounds and media.  

TikTok commissioned a study to understand what drives trends on the platform. One finding shows why brands should pay attention to trending topics. 67% of TikTokers say they prefer brand videos featuring popular or trending songs. Participating in trends will help your community bank or credit union land on the For You page. 


Make videos for TikTok.  

Recycling commercials isn’t going to cut it. Luckily, a cell phone is all you need to make a TikTok. Your videos should be around 12 to 15 seconds long. Make sure to shoot in 9:16 vertical format. Try TikTok’s built-in features like effects and text treatments. And always include sound. 



YouTube’s algorithm drives 70% of what people watch on the platform. It delivers distinct recommendations to each user. These recommendations are tailored to users’ interests and watch history and weighted by information about each video like performance and quality. 


Ranking signals 


The YouTube algorithm tries to match factors like titles, tags, content, and descriptions to a user’s search query. The closer this information matches a query, the more relevant the video appears to the algorithm. Relevant videos have a greater chance of appearing higher in search results. 



YouTube’s algorithm favors videos that show signs of high engagement. If people have been engaging with a video, chances are new viewers will too. Engagement signals include watch time and watch percentage (how much of the video was watched), as well as likes, comments, and shares. 



The YouTube algorithm also looks at signals to determine a channel’s expertise, authority, and trustworthiness on a given topic. YouTube aims to elevate content and creators who provide real value and reduce the risk of spreading misinformation that could be harmful to viewers. 



YouTube also factors personal preferences and patterns into ranking content. The algorithm does so by tracking users’ search and watch history. If you tend to watch videos from a particular creator (shout out to Debt Free Millennials), YouTube will serve you more content from that channel. 


Best practices 

Research keywords. 

It’s a Google product after all. Include relevant keywords for your financial institution in titles, descriptions, and in your channel’s About section. Use accurate, concise language that people already use when they search. Think about how you search for videos on YouTube. 


Make enticing thumbnails. 

A thumbnail is the first image you see for a video. It’s a critical opportunity to convince people to stop scrolling and click play. Upload a custom thumbnail that appeals to your target audience with captivating imagery and catchy titles. Don’t have a designer on staff? Try free-to-use online tools like Canva to edit thumbnail templates. 


Embed videos elsewhere.  

Cross-posting your YouTube videos on your financial institution’s website and other social media platforms can increase views and inform success metrics. If you’re planning to repurpose YouTube videos for TikTok, make sure the shorter clips can stand on their own. Remember to adjust the aspect the aspect ratio to 9:16. 


Find your niche. 

Become a source of knowledge on a subject and people will keep coming back to you (and the algorithm will reward you). For example, 15.5% of the platform’s user base is between the ages of 18 and 24 according to Sprout Social. As a community financial institution, you can provide younger consumers with fundamental financial skills. 


Turn TikToks into Shorts. 

Shorts are YouTube’s answer to TikTok and Instagram Reels. And the new format is working. YouTube has said that Shorts now see an average of over 70 billion daily views since launching in 2021. Make the most of your short-form videos by uploading them to Shorts. 



LinkedIn’s goal is to prioritize relevant, high-quality content and promote engagement. The more time you spend on the platform, the better the algorithm will work for you. 

LinkedIn is not a platform where you should expect your content to go viral. It’s about sharing knowledge and updates with people who care about that information and can use it to advance their careers. 


Ranking signals 

Spam filter 

LinkedIn’s algorithm analyzes grammar, links, frequency, tags, and hashtags to evaluate the quality of your content. Spam and low-quality content are less likely to appear in users’ feeds, while high-quality content is more likely to be promoted. 


Meaningful engagement 

LinkedIn will push content to a few followers during the “golden hour.” This is one hour after a post has been published. If the post receives a lot of engagement on content right away, LinkedIn will then push that content to more users. Meaningful, however, matters. Try to provide thoughtful commentary. 



LinkedIn’s algorithm values connections. It’s a platform for professionals to network after all. The more closely your profile or page is connected to a person, the more likely it is for that person to see your content. 



LinkedIn understands its user base is busy. Clogging feeds with irrelevant content would be a waste of time. That’s why the LinkedIn algorithm recommends posts that align with the user’s interests. LinkedIn determines interest based on the groups, pages, hashtags, and people a user follows. 


Best practices 

Avoid outbound links. 

LinkedIn wants users to stay on LinkedIn. The algorithm won’t prioritize posts with outbound links as much as posts with rich media. If you believe posting a link is necessary, do so in the comments section. 


Post at the right time. 

Remember the golden hour we mentioned? We can’t stress enough how important engagement is during the first hour of a post. Publish when you know your target audience is online. This may take some trial and error to dial in the perfect time. Make sure to note when posts that receive high engagement are published. 


Be strategic with tags and keywords. 

Tag relevant companies and individuals in your posts using keywords and hashtags. But not in excess. Unlike Instagram or TikTok, LinkedIn will penalize posts that use too many hashtags. Use them carefully or your financial institution won’t pass LinkedIn’s spam test. 


Address popular topics. 

We’ve seen community banks and credit unions raise awareness on LinkedIn by posting about key topics. These include tips for scaling a small business, a breakdown of your corporate culture philosophy, behind-the-scenes moments at work, and takeaways from an inspiring conference. 



As you can see, each platform’s algorithm has unique nuances when recommending content to users. Keep these distinctions in mind when you’re planning your social media strategy. However, there are overarching themes that local financial institutions can follow for all channels. 

Social media platforms promote meaningful content. The more people interact with a post, the more likely platforms will be to promote it. You can (and should) ask people to engage with your posts. Joining trending conversations, showcasing your expertise, and speaking with authenticity will make your content more appealing to members of your community. 

Want to learn more about a specific platform or discuss ideas for your social media calendar? You can always schedule a consultation with our marketing team. 

What’s Kasasa?

Kasasa® is an award-winning financial technology and marketing services company dedicated to helping both community financial institutions and consumers experience what it means to "Be Proud of Your Money." We're known for providing reward checking accounts consumers love, the first-ever loan with Take-Backs, relationship-powered referral programs, and ongoing expert consulting services to community financial institutions.

By working exclusively with community banks and credit unions, Kasasa is helping to strengthen local economies across the nation, building a virtuous cycle of keeping consumers' dollars where they can do the most good. Our mission is to power a network of financial institutions in all 50 states offering products and services that are clearly beneficial for the consumer and the institutions offering them.