By: Abe Kasbo
Activity and productivity are not the same, and nowhere does that resound truer than social media. We’re looking at best performing banks on Twitter, and here’s what we found. Bank of America is the clear leader in the breadth and depth of its Twitter activity far outpacing its competitors who in themselves are well-recognized brands. For example at almost 672,000 followers, Bank of America has almost 561,000 followers more than its closest Twitter and market rival, Wells Fargo.
The numbers here speak for themselves. We know banking is a heavily regulated industry which presents particular challenges for banking brands on social media. We also know there are creative and compliant strategies banks can deploy to achieve business communications goals via social platforms.
For banks, as with other businesses, social media properties like Twitter and Facebook are simply “rental properties.” No business owns the medium, heck, businesses don’t even own the audience in some respects. But aggregating relevant audiences makes it more efficient for banks to communicate with their customers.
Social media strategies must sit well within integrated communications strategies of banking institutions and must reflect three things:
1. The audience – Clearly!
2. The bank’s brand and culture – Naturally!
3. Both the bank’s and the audience’s business aspirations – Certainly!
The business case to be made for social media in banking is the “immediate” access to an audience that’s “attached” if not addicted to technology. Assuming there are communications strategies in place to integrate with offline mar/com efforts, the audiences built on Twitter and other sites can be invaluable. Banks should conduct cost benefit analysis as to the value that can be generated from building audiences in the digital realm, which is more readily quantifiable than other media at this time. Banks should be aware, if they don’t already know, that social media is a double-edged sword of financial and resource efficiencies and inefficiencies. Yet, meaningful digital connections between bank and customer already transcend so many communications channels, including PR, customer service, branding, advertising and more.
Regardless of the numbers here, the more interesting question from our perspective, is how banks are delivering value to their online audiences to keep them there, and more importantly, grow customer accounts. But that’s a discussion topic for another day.