RBI‘s 100 Most Liked Institutions on Facebook table shows that the financial sector is still focusing on the site to interact with its customers. With an average rise in ‘Likes’ of 66%, it has been a strong showing for the financial sector.
Visa finished top of the table yet again with a total of 19.8 million fans, a rise of 19% compared to last year. MasterCard finished second with 13.4 million fans, a rise of over 25% year-on-year.
While these two remained triumphant again, some institutions saw remarkable rises in the amount of ‘Likes’ they received with both State Bank of India and Intesa Sanpaolo increasing their total fans by over 1000%. The region with the biggest risers was the Middle East and Africa, with six of the ten most improved banks in this realm from this region.
The bank with the highest rating was HDFC in fourth place, closely followed by Banco Bradesco and ICICI, with 6.8 million fans, 41% more fans than the previous year.
The highest placed UK-based bank was Barclays in eleventh, a slight drop from last year. The lender saw a 21% rise in fans to hit 4.3 million.
Why are banks looking at Facebook?
What possible purpose could banks have for Facebook? It seems a step outside of the market’s comfort zone.
However, social media is a constant in modern life. Recent research from Innovalue reported that almost 2.1 billion people are now engaged with social networking. In addition, wearesocial.net found that 28% of people’s time online is spent on social media, more than half of which is on Facebook.
On the other hand, social media and banking analytics firm, The Financial Brand, state on its website: "As social media marketing continues to gains team in retail banking, financial marketers need to pause and think about how they use social channels and whether this activity is really adding any value."
Samantha Gray, head of social media at Barclays, speaking to RBI, says: "Facebook plays an integral part of our customer service and communications functions. We are able to reach potential and existing customers, with relevant messages specifically created for them; whether this is around education on a new product, a digital initiative or something our customers need to be aware of quickly."
Jacqueline Smale, manager of social media for ING Netherlands, adds: "We mostly use it for interacting with our target groups. Our Facebook Netherlands account is less for stakeholder management; it’s wider than just our customers. We use it for a couple of sections, mainly for our web care, customer service and also for brand and representation management. We publish articles and blog posts to share our opinions and expert information from ING."
Smale believes that Facebook is a good service to deliver up-to-date feedback to ING’s customers. She explains: "We work together with the web care team to see what information is missing on more of the practical stuff and the way people use ING services. Things about how the online and banking app environments work. This is the kind of information that most of our followers really like so they follow us for a couple of reasons.
"They like our brand, they like to be informed, and we proactively inform them when there is a hiccup in our services. For example, if some of the digital services are down for some time, we let people know through social media."
Another factor is the links that ING has through sponsorships, events and the like.
Smale says: "We also use this format for campaigns focused on our products and sponsorships. What we see if that our followers very much appreciate that sort of initiative. A couple of examples are the sponsorship of the national football team, famous museums and even a big event of ours that was sold out in ten minutes."
Erik van Roekel, manager of social media across the entirety of the ING Group, believes that is a ‘big sector’ across the entire brand and not just in Holland.
However, rather than just providing for customers, Facebook allows consumers to help ING in return.
"We ask our community to think along with us in what should be developed for the app or other services. What do our customers see as the most important thing to develop? And this leads to co-creation where people can come see what we’re thinking about and give their input. It’s a more time-consuming effort so we don’t do this every day, but every now and then, and appreciation is really high," says Smale.
Praveen Bhatt, head of marketing and customer service at Axis Bank, also believes Facebook is a good method of making a connection with customers.
He says: "The strategy for Axis Bank is to look at social media as a key medium of reaching out to our customers. We are consistently trying to reach out to younger customers and we want to be positioned as a young and progressive brand. It is extremely important for us to be present on platforms where young and progressive people are present. That is why social media is important."
While banks, and other organisations, can post as much as they want on Facebook, it doesn’t count for much if nobody even glances at it. With so much posted on social media sites, it can be difficult to truly engage with consumers, or even get their attention.
Smale comments: "It really depends on the content. In the Netherlands, we have approximately 250,000 followers. If you post organically, the people that we reach can range between 30,000 and 100,000.
"The engagement on videos is really high. Also, what works really well is simple saving tips. Every time we post something, we consider what’s in it for the customer. There should always be something useful or beneficial in the content."
Bhatt says: "[The engagement figures] are usually around 12-16% on the content we post on Facebook, but it really depends on the type of content. We do related content or topical, around thing such as Father’s Day, and that sees a far much higher engagement rate."
Gray comments that the engagement levels vary, but ‘on average, we are please with engagement levels’.
Advantages and struggles
On the advantages of maintaining a presence on Facebook, Gray adds: "Facebook and other social media platforms help us to get meaningful messages to the relevant audiences as they offer such strong targeting options.
"We can choose who receives which messages and switch it on and off as appropriate. If for example, we are able to provide information about mortgages to people that are looking to buy a hose, or information on our Blue Rewards offering to those who have been comparing current account they are much more likely to engage and react."
Smale believes that Facebook has huge potential. She says: "It’s personal communication en masse. The impact is high. It is beneficial, but also a risk, but I think that’s one of the main advantages. It’s where our target group is so that’s one of the main reasons why we’re there. And it allows us a lot of speed."
However, there are downsides. "We can’t control Facebook. We don’t even reach half of our followers. This is because of Facebook algorithms and rules. In that way, there is a struggle. There is a business model on Facebook, if you want to have a higher reach, you have to promote your post and spend more money on it," Smale adds.
"In the past, one of the main benefits was the low cost. It’s still low compared to other forms of mass media, but the price is increasing."
Gray also finds that they are difficulties with Facebook. She says: "Social media is 24/7 so it doesn’t sleep. We ensure that out channels are monitored at all times and we have a team who do this and are available to reply to any queries which come in at any time, making sure customers get a fast reply at all times."
Compliant at great speed
With the overwhelming pace of social media present, it can be tempting to just post whatever comes to mind on Facebook, especially considering the disinhibition effect caused by the internet.
Banks cannot afford to be careless when it comes to this issue. All communication needs to be tightly monitored in order to not break regulation.
Smale says: "We are always cautious with what we publish. We try to educate our customers on how to treat their personal data and information, so we have a lot of guidelines for that that are helpful. We haven’t run into any struggles there.
"Social media is a fast game, so we have processes for it in place, but we are very aware of this issue. There always needs to be checks, we have our procedures like in any other section of the bank where we need to take precaution."
"All channels use the same FAQ and the same knowledge base. Social media, the website and the call centre will all give the same information," van Roekel adds.
The Retail Banker International Facebook Top 100 2016
|Bank||Pages||Total fans 2015||Total fans 2014||Change (%)|
|3||American Express||American Express/OPEN/Amex for Business Australia/Amex for Business Canada/Serve||7328919||5829930||26|
|4||HDFC||HDFC Bank/HDFC Life||6801518||4817442||41|
|7||Citigroup||Citi/Citibank US/Malaysia/UAE Philippines/careers/Brasil/Thailand/Singapore/India/Magyarország/Every Step/Korea/IPB EMEA/Bike||4825997||3057172||58|
|8||Capital One||Capital One/UK/Canada/Investing for Good/Small Business/360||4766758||3889017||23|
|9||State Bank of India||State Bank of India||4620713||355704||1,199|
|14||GT Bank||GT Bank/Ghana/Kenya||3573635||2266373||58|
|16||Standard Chartered||Standard Chartered/UAE/Malaysia/Marathon Pages/India/Pakistan/Kenya/Indonesia/Bangladesh/Nigeria/Vietnam/HongKong/Thailand/Ghana||2961277||1984364||49|
|19||Banco do Brasil||Banco do Brasil||2029097||1533585||32|
|20||KBank Live||KBank Live||1908917||1647947||16|
|21||Maybank||Maybank/PH/Kim Eng Securities/Maybankard/Indonesia/Championship||1907615||1515917||26|
|22||Garanti||Garanti Bankasi/Garanti Bank||1821917||1696956||7|
|24||Yapi Kredi||Yapi Kredi/Insan Kaynaklari||1549938||1064443||46|
|25||BNP Paribas||Net/Open/Cardiff/Fortis Belgie/BMCI Groupe/UBCI Groupe/BGZ/Ma /Fortis België/Geojit/Masters/careers||1534725||711304||116|
|27||Scotiabank||Scotiabank/Jamaica/Mexico/Bahamas/Nuit Blance/Dominican Republic/Chile/Antigua&Barbuda/StVincent&Grenadines/Saddledome||1451529||1074981||35|
|28||IDBI Bank||IDBI Bank||1326055||826373||60|
|29||Wells Fargo||Wells Fargo/Centre/Advisers||1191179||1028586||16|
|32||Multibanca Colpatria||Multibanca Copatria||1037134||871733||19|
|33||RBS||Scottish Rugby/6 Nations/Early Careers/Royal Bank of Scotland||1014547||976431||4|
|34||Intesa Sanpaolo||Intesa Sanpaolo/Banka BIH/Romania/Card University Award/Card/Live Inspire||906309||75501||1,100|
|35||JSC TBC||TBC Bank/Kredit/Smart Club||903242||782872||15|
|37||Access Bank||Access Bank||862436||143315||502|
|38||Commonwealth Bank||Commonwealth Bank/Business/Indonesia||853104||591905||44|
|39||First Bank of Nigeria||First Bank of Nigeria||836894||380424||120|
|41||Unicredit||Austria/Italia/Bulbank/Champions/Universities/Srbija/Bosna I Hercegovina/Ceska Republika/Slovensko/Russia/Romania||788653||487932||62|
|42||ING||Vysya Bank/?l?ski/Turkey/New York City Marathon/Australia/Belgique/Belgie/nederlands/Bank||756834||663871||14|
|44||Banco Popular||Costa Rica/Dominicano/Portugal/Banco Popular PR/Virgin Islands/Honduras||711737||580025||23|
|46||TD Canada||TD/Canada Trust||668219||536082||25|
|47||Kotak Mahindra||Kotak Mahindra||626736||287643||118|
|48||RHB Bank||RHB Group||612358||356690||72|
|50||Jordan Ahli Bank||Jordan Ahli Bank||578575||332409||74|
|51||Credit Agricole||Credit Agricole/Nord de France/Store/Polska/Normandie/Egypt/ACBA/Loire/Lorraine/Normandie Seine/D’ile de France||541313||281431||92|
|52||Bank of Georgia||Bank of Georgia/Bank of Georgia||537633||503058||7|
|53||Diamond Bank||Diamond Bank/????||508397||381885||33|
|54||Sterling Bank||Sterling Bank||505904||327320||55|
|55||Mashreq Bank||Mashreq Bank||494151||168478||193|
|56||Sberbank||Sberbank/Hrvatsa/Slovensko/u Bih/srbija a.d.||422822||310541||36|
|58||Banco Ciudad||Banco Ciudad||408952||237023||73|
|59||Investec||Investec/Super Rugby/Sport/People and Planet||393676||N/A||N/A|
|60||Bank Leumi||Leumi Digital/Business/Card||392919||376757||4|
|62||Royal Bank of Canada||RBC||338659||244054||39|
|63||Seylan Bank||Seylan Bank||331144||117085||183|
|64||Commercial Bank of Qatar||Commercial Bank of Qatar/Masters||321378||251576||28|
|67||Arab Bank||Arab Bank||298614||104815||185|
|69||mBank Polska||mBank Polska/.sk||271479||174761||55|
|70||Qatar Development Bank||Qatar Development Bank||253409||202404||25|
|71||US Bank||US Bank||252079||174269||45|
|72||La Banque Postale||La Banque Postale/Jeunes||243065||224657||8|
|76||Standard Bank of South Africa||Standard Bank of South Africa||195240||119943||63|
|78||Crédit Mutuel||Credit Mutuel||175818||136727||29|
|82||Ally Bank||Ally Bank||165332||150216||10|
|84||OTP Bank||OTP Bank||147575||124507||19|
|85||Charles Schwab||Charles Schwab||141413||128740||10|
|87||ABN AMRO||ABN AMRO/World Tennis/Studenten/Werken Bij||139470||81681||71|
|89||Danske Bank||Danske Bank/Suomi/Norge/Sverige||125271||62329||101|
|90||la Caixa||la Caixa||122129||100025||22|
|91||Kuwait Finance House||Kuwait Finance House/Malaysia||115897||103949||11|
|92||Erste Bank||Erste Bank/Austria/Srbija/Open||113270||56890||99|
|93||Deutsche Bank||Deutsche Bank/Careers/Services||113058||84092||34|
|94||E-trade Financial||E-Trade Financial||109191||78638||39|
|96||Bank Mandiri||Bank Mandiri/Syariah||102574||54410||89|
|98||Credit Suisse||Credit Suisse/Careers||92219||70579||31|