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The Top 35 Banks on Facebook

The top 35 banks on Facebook claim nearly nine million fans among them. Of those, 71%, or 6,259,027 fans, belong to the top three.

Chase tops the list with 2.9 million. Amex is second with 2.4 million, followed by Barclays with over 930,000.

The 35 banks in the list claim some 8,817,837 likes out of a combined 1.5 billion customers. That means they are reaching an average of 0.6% of their base, or one in every 173 customers. If you exclude the three top-performing banks from the calculation, the average drops to one in every 525 customers — only 0.2% of their base.

Previous research conducted by The Financial Brand found that across all banks — not just the big boys — there is an average of one Facebook like for 710 customers. Banks included in that study had a combined customer base of 85 million people, 120,448 Facebook likes, or 0.14% of all customers.

Trying to express fans as a percentage of customers is tricky business because you can’t assume every like on Facebook comes from a customer. The Financial Brand has estimated that as many as 35% — maybe even more — of social media connections come from spammers, social media experts, industry insiders and those who live outside a company’s geographic reach.

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Non-Financial Facebook Promos Generate More Fans

Ironically, those financial institutions who claim the most fans tend to craft their Facebook presence around anything other than personal finance, ranging from charities to sports teams.

Chase was able to accrue nearly three million fans by giving away millions of dollars to non-profit civic organizations through its “Community Giving” campaign, first launched in 2009. Now in its third year, the bank has announced a further two-year commitment to its philanthropic Facebook initiative totaling $25 million. That’s not chump change.

Barclays climb to nearly a million Facebook fans has been fueled by a focus on football. Similarly, RBS has used its affiliation with rugby to build a fan base totaling over 600,000.

This indirectly proves how difficult it is for financial firms to organically grow a social media following by staying within the confines of their business model. It seems the subject of banking is just too boring to draw a crowd.

The Financial Brand has previously estimated that it costs approximately $1 for every Facebook fan a financial institution would like to add.

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Bank Facebook Likes Customers % 1 Follower
for Every [x]
Customers
Chase 2,900,179 55,000,000 5.27% 19
American Express 2,428,059 48,900,000 4.97% 21
Barclays 930,789 48,000,000 1.9% 51
RBS 611,116 40,000,000 1.52% 66
Akbank 542,182 8,000,000 6.78% 15
Garanti 524,592 9,800,000 5.35% 19
Visa 311,289 408,000,000 0.08% 1,250
Citi 197,412 300,000,000 0.07% 1,420
BNP Paribas 153,617 18,000,000 0.85% 117
Santander 137,125 25,000,000 0.55% 180
ING 86,215 85,000,000 0.10% 1,000
Deutsche Bank 80,528 24,900,000 0.32% 310
BofA 66,066 57,000,000 0.12% 825
HSBC 58,142 95,000,000 0.06% 1,650
Commonwealth 53,972 10,000,000 0.53% 184
Standard Chartered 51,688 14,000,000 0.37% 265
Crédit Agricole 49,945 49,000,000 0.10% 1,000
Standard Bank 35,802 10,500,000 0.34% 293
ABSA 35,013 11,300,000 0.31% 317
BBVA 32,022 47,000,000 0.07% 1,420
TD Canada 23,289 11,000,000 0.21% 475
ASB 19,318 1,000,000 1.93% 52
Capitec 14,508 2,500,000 0.58% 172
US Bank 13,907 15,000,000 0.09% 900
Wells Fargo 11,605 70,000,000 0.02% 5,000
Arvest 10,307 450,000 2.29% 44
Erste Bank & Sparkasse 8,869 17,400,000 0.05% 2,000
Commerzbank 8,177 15,000,000 0.05% 2,000
NAB/UBank 6,806 10,600,000 0.06% 1,650
First Tennessee 6,323 1,100,000 0.57% 174
Lloyds TSB 5,316 30,000,000 0.02% 5,000
MB Financial 5,221 500,000 1.04% 96
Nedbank 3,305 5,100,000 0.06% 1,650
Dexia 2,710 800,000 0.34% 293
Isbank 1,791 14,000,000 0.01% 10,000
SunTrust 1,748 6,500,000 0.03% 3,333
TOTAL 1,525,350 8,817,837 0.58% 173

Source: Retail Banker

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Comments

  1. Where did the first credit union come in? How many followers/likes? What credit unions do you feel utilize Facebook properly and/or better than others? Thanks!

  2. Katie,

    There are a couple credit unions with over 5,000 fans. Fairwinds and Truliant come to mind. They are both billion-dollar credit unions, and both have used contests and giveaways to build their fan base.

    I am frequently asked which credit unions use Facebook properly. Quite frankly, I haven’t seen anything that really stands out. All the pages pretty much look all the same. There are some wall posts, some replies, a few photos and maybe a poll or promotion. It’s very basic, formulaic stuff. What I’m looking for is a Facebook page that complements a credit union’s business model, something that fuels business or helps it accomplish its strategic goals. What I see are a bunch of corporate pages that look like they were all built according to some step-by-step how-to guide.

    I’m still waiting to see a credit union Facebook page that is more than updates about shred day events, photos of community events and promotions designed to build fans.

  3. Eastern Bank is another example of a bank using a sports sponsorship as the centerpiece of its Facebook page. They were able to accrue over 7,000 fans through their partnership with the Boston Red Sox.

  4. Sad state of affairs. Although I think that is fair to say that the failures are not a function of social media channels or consumers, but rather that Banks (and Credit Unions) have not put in the effort required to make their Social Media channels relevant. Your observation “I haven’t seen anything that really stands out. All the pages pretty much look all the same. There are some wall posts, some replies, a few photos and maybe a poll or promotion. It’s very basic, formulaic stuff.” is consistent with our own findings — that is, more than 90% of content in various social media channels has nothing to do with helping Bank and Credit Union customers improve their financial lives. As such, no reason to be surprised at very low levels of engagement.

  5. Hi, wondering what the conversion rate is for Chase between FB followers and new customers? I am all for giving $5m to charity for good CSR, but the ‘so what’ question has to be asked?

  6. Aaron, you are one of the few to ask reasonable and intelligent questions about the Chase Facebook promotion. Most people just think Chase is a neato company for having a nifty social media thingy that has almost as many fans as Brittney Spears.

  7. How come banks have fans / likes anyway? And more surprising; how come Credit Unions have fans / likes? What do they do to atrack votes?

  8. I believe there is something to be said about customer retention, top of mind awareness and deepening your relationships with customers. All businesses, not just financial institutions are struggling to find the true ROI in social media, hence why it’s important to recognize the things you can control and influence right from the beginning. I think social media can build your brand and market to customers just as efficiently as billboards, newspapers and television advertising does… Plus it’s alot cheaper! : )

  9. Jan, you asked what financial institutions do to attract fans/likes. Well, the ones that are “successful” at growing fans are usually bribing them with contests, giveaways and sweepstakes. The Financial Brand has estimated that it costs an average of $1 for every “fan” a bank or credit union wishes to add.

  10. Kristen, you’re absolutely right: there is value in customer retention and loyalty. The problem is that social media doesn’t really reach a very large segment of the audience for financial institutions. If social media has a significant impact on a quarter of your Facebook fans, you’re talking about reaching 0.25% of your financial institution’s total audience. Plus, those consumers who are naturally inclined to follow/friend their bank or credit union probably aren’t the ones you need to worry about from a retention and loyalty perspective.

    If loyalty and retention are the problem that needs to be addressed, then a multi-channel strategy should be developed. If Facebook becomes part of that strategy, great. If not, who cares? Otherwise it just feels like we’re fishing to find excuses for Facebook, i.e., reverse-engineering the advantages/strategy to fit the tool after we’ve already made the decision to use it.

  11. Hi there. I am the Facebook manager at TSB Bank in New Zealand. First off I liked your story.

    My question is that you have Lloyds TSB near the bottom with 5,316 likes, but did you actually look at our page by mistake? I have searched for Lloyds TSB a few times through facebook search and cannot find anything for them which has this number of likes. Whereas our page has a similar number to the one you stated (currently sitting at 5,680)

    If this is the case, and it is our page you came across. Then for a bank with 150,000 customers to feature in the top 35 worldwide this is quite an achievement (especially considering we have only been operating our page for less than a month and are still in the throes of a small scale launch campaign)

  12. There have been a lot of agencies trying to convince me a way to build retention via FB is to send FB gifts on a regular basis. Wondering How i would feel if my bank (HSBC) sent me virtual gifts placed on my wall for the world to see? would it make me not follow them? should they start asking me for my FB ID at eahc point of call.
    Thoughts?
    A,

  13. Hi Michael,

    The data was collected by Retail Banker. I believe they added up the total number of Likes from multiple accounts. In the case of Lloyds TSB, they have three official Facebook pages: Lloyds TSB Me (an app with 2,295 fans), Local Heroes (402 fans), and Journey to London (3,054 fans). Those three pages have a combined 5,751 Likes.

    Your bank’s Facebook page was probably not active at the time this data was collected. But congratulations on climbing your way into the top list so quickly after launching. How did you do it?

  14. Aaron, if your organization is struggling to retain customers, then yes, giving them gifts on a regular basis would probably work, although I’m unclear why Facebook would be necessary to make it happen. Why should gifts only be given to Facebook fans and not other customers, like the profitable ones for instance? Quite honestly, if your organization has issues with retention, then Facebook is the least of your worries, and you should likely be taking a hard look at things like pricing and service quality.

    My hunch is that the agencies pitching you Facebook want a social media case study in their portfolio more than they want you to do what’s best.

  15. Generalities tend to get me in trouble, but I think I am fairly safe in saying that paying / bribing consumers to ‘follow’, ‘like’ or otherwise engage with any business rarely leads to long-term and profitable customer base. The payment stream, it seems, should flow in the other direction — from the customer (who receives a service) to the Bank (who provides the service); reversing this relationship seems somewhat perverse.

    The point of various social media channels, Facebook included, is not necessarily to drive up the number of ‘likes’, but to expose consumers to your Brand, to educate / inform the consumer with your wisdom, with the end goal of converting the consumer to a customer. Upon conversion, it seems to me, social media channels are great support mechanisms for continuing the relationship through advice and knowledge sharing which ultimately results in a discussion (through a variety of channels, some of which may be offline) and ultimately, provisioning of additional products and services to the customer.

    Don’t think that this is very complex at ideation stage, yet social media requires significant investment in resources (financial and human resources) to engage and maintain relationships. Most Banks and Credit Unions have, so far, been unwilling to make the required investment leading to very disappointing results. The disappointing results create the demand for gimmicks (such as contests and other bribes) to fill the gap. I do not believe these strategies are sustainable, nor will they generate the needed ROI to justify the expense.

  16. Scott MIller says:

    You’re tracking fans, but many insitutions are going for LIKES. Different philosophies, not only from a marketing perspective, but also compliance and risk management.

    Try tracking LIKEs and post those results. Should be interesting.

    At Riverview Community Bank, we’re a relatively small community bank and we’re at close to 8% penetration with LIKES that exceed this list. There are several community banks near $1B that have vastly exceeded our numbers in LIKES such as Northwest Bank in Iowa.

  17. You make some great points in the comments that I wish were touched on more in the article. Followers are cool – heck, I’ll admit I’m a sucker for watching that fan count go up – but that’s not a strategic goal. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Building a following is only as useful as what you do with it, and most banks aren’t there yet. They’re still stuck on more followers meaning more eyes and more potential customers. But any street performer will tell you that you can draw the largest crowd in the world around you, but if you don’t give them something they value, they’re going to walk away and leave you with nothing, and the chances of them coming back again are pretty slim. I think I just compared my job to a juggler on a unicycle. Huh.

    I’d love to see more follow ups to this diving deeper into bank and credit union social media strategies – why this campaign? Why on Facebook? How are you using other channels to support it or why aren’t you?

    Jennifer Spencer
    Digital Communications Manager
    PerkStreet Financial

  18. We had a small scale launch campaign consisting of some Facebook advertising along with some online banners on some of our digital assets (website, internet banking etc). We did the tried and true formula of a launch campaign with an incentive…. “complete a survey and go in the draw to win $1,000)

    Now we have established a Facebook presence we are going to start integrating it with our existing marketing/digital strategy… we have some plans for some more stand alone activity, but we want to foster the relationship we have with our Facebook Fans because our whole proposition is that we’re “New Zealand’s most recommended bank”… where social media provides us a great channel to spread that message.

  19. Great article. Is there any chance FirstBank could be considered for this next time? We often are overlooked despite our current number of likes of 6,998.

    http://www.facebook.com/efirstbank

    Thanks for your time!

  20. Wow… this is interesting. I guess it surprises me that banks are really successfully utilizing Facebook. In my mind I don’t associate banks with social media, that’s probably why I’m not a Facebook Fan of my banks page (which is towards the top of the list). I didn’t even know they had a Facebook page!

    I’m really interested in knowing some aspects of the social media strategy that goes into successfully promoting a financial institution?

    Overall it looks they are doing something right in the social media realm…

  21. Carlos Mejia says:

    Great article,as always in this website.

    Social Media is an channel that financial institution cannot afford to ignore.

    I would like to add that Bancolombia in Colombia has 61.124 facebook likes from a data base of around 7.000.000 customers.

    Cheers, thank you for creating such an interesting blog.

  22. Any plans to update this list for 2012/2013? The insight is valuable.

  23. Unfortunately, no. Logistically speaking, it’s become too challenging.

  24. Banca Intesa Belgrade (Serbia) has more than 50.000, perhaps it would be great to get new lists?
    http://www.facebook.com/bancaintesa.rs

  25. PLEASE NOTE: THIS LIST WILL NOT BE UPDATED. THERE ARE NO PLANS TO CONDUCT A NEW STUDY, NOR PUBLISH A SIMILAR LIST AT ANY TIME IN THE FUTURE.

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