44,372. That’s how many new tweets were sent by the most active banks and credit unions on Twitter in 90 days. According to The Financial Brand Power 100 database, the top 25 U.S. banks and top 25 U.S. credit unions — those sending the most tweets between July and September, 2014 — sent a combined total of 44,372 tweets. That’s a lot of tweets.
But how are banks and credit unions spending their time on Twitter? What’s all the tweeting about? Although customer service accounts for the largest percentage of Twitter activity for many banks and credit unions, financial institutions aren’t just being reactive. They also pumping out volumes of proactive content, and interacting directly with their followers.
To highlight what financial institutions are doing with their Twitter feeds, we picked six in the U.S. — three banks and three credit unions — from The Financial Brand’s list of those who sent the most new tweets in Q3 2014:
- US Bank — They used their @usbank account (15.9K followers) to send 1,222 tweets, with an emphasis on consumer education about money and the economy.
- TD Bank — @TDBank_US sent 2,300 new tweets in Q3. They focus on community and the environment (specifically trees, which is in line with one of the brand’s hallmark causes).
- Silicon Valley Bank — They have 13.1K followers on their @SBB_Financial Twitter account, and sent 671 new tweets in Q3. Its Twitter account caters primarily to start-ups and entrepreneurs in the tech industry, building its brand not only on what has made its namesake famous but also on the tech business that’s growing in other parts of the world.
- Oklahoma Employees Credit Union — With 3,292 followers @OECU sent 1,000 tweets in Q3, primarily in support of its community’s small businesses.
- Texas Dow Employees Credit Union — @TDECU sent 765 new tweets in Q3 to their 3,217 followers. TDECU likes touting its love for University of Houston football — and TDECU’s sponsorship of the stadium — in their tweets.
- Consumers Credit Union — @ConsumersCU has 1,136 followers, and sent 678 new tweets in Q3. They focus on their branches and employees, including its leadership team.
All of these institutions have solid foundations underpinning their Twitter content strategies. First, the Twitter feeds of these six banks and credit unions have all their working parts in order. For example, they’re skillful with hashtags, they retweet others, and they incorporate interesting images.
Second, even a cursory scan of their feeds shows an effort to address the needs and interests of key marketing segments, including small business owners/entrepreneurs, homeowners/homebuyers, students, parents and those planning for retirement. They are making a direct connection between their social media and their business objectives. Not only are these institutions prolific tweeters, but their material is typically very relevant to financial services, customers and branding.
And finally, each of these financial institutions tweets with a clear focus on consumers; beyond products and services: each capitalizes on its audience’s shared passions. And they do it with such consistency that each institution’s Twitter account has developed its own unique character and charm.
Here are 23 different ways that active financial institutions on Twitter like these keep their tweets fresh.
1. Small giveaways
These range from casual giveaways/contests with easy entries to “surprise and delight” experiences.
Wanna be the cool kid at your office? Win our breakfast catered by @wedgepizza! To enter, RT & tell us ur plans for the 4th of July!
— OK Emp. Credit Union (@OECU) July 2, 2014
— TDECU (@TDECU) August 25, 2014
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) August 27, 2014
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) August 23, 2014
2. Bigger giveaways/sweepstakes
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) September 28, 2014
Open new U.S. Bank checking account for cash bonus up to $150 & automatic entry to win a Tesla or $100,000! http://t.co/MeFtk0ELTb
— U.S. Bank (@usbank) August 25, 2014
3. Giveaways and contests directly related to products
Looking to buy a new car? We have special low rates on auto loans. You can even win a grill! http://t.co/wKO28GISw3
— OK Emp. Credit Union (@OECU) August 3, 2014
In the market for a new home? Come & talk to TDECU Mortgage! Take advantage of our coupon. $1000 off closing costs: http://t.co/iqOqS65yDR
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 22, 2014
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) July 3, 2014
Banks and credit unions advocate for causes such as “shop local” and #womenintech, and even for their entire industry (#creditunions).
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 3, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) July 15, 2014
DYK 73% of money you spend at a local business stays in the community? Shop local. Eat local. Bank local. 🙂 pic.twitter.com/fPupBTx0Ji
— OK Emp. Credit Union (@OECU) August 23, 2014
5. Recycled customer testimonials
Whether it’s retweeting a compliment from a customer or quoting testimonials gathered in other channels, financial institutions utilize consumer feedback in their tweets.
Thank-you @OECU, for having mobile deposit and making a lunch time errand a thing of the past.
— Rachael, Really. (@rachaelreally) July 11, 2014
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) April 1, 2014
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) September 12, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) July 28, 2014
6. Acknowledgement of accomplishments
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) September 16, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 10, 2014
Good customer service is good PR. In these examples, banks and credit unions publicize some of their efforts to help and support customers.
50 followers away from having 3000 followers!!! You guys are so great. We thank you from the bottom of our heart <3
— TDECU (@TDECU) August 12, 2014
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) July 17, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 2, 2014
8. Cross-promotion of other social channels
These tweets promote the financial institutions content on other platforms, such as Pinterest (the OECU example), blogs, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 2, 2014
— TDECU (@TDECU) August 14, 2014
7 Ways to Save Money on Your Cable and TV Bill http://t.co/WtLqC97Ejf
— OK Emp. Credit Union (@OECU) August 10, 2014
Have money management questions? Ask Tim on our Facebook page for answers from now until 1 pm! http://t.co/jAORDlTwqZ
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) July 15, 2014
9. Updates regarding outages
Heads up! eBranch is currently down – our IT gurus are on it! As soon as we have more details you will see them here!
— OK Emp. Credit Union (@OECU) July 21, 2014
Severe storms in area knocked out power at our Corp. office. Online Banking is currently down. We will keep you updated. Stay safe members!
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) September 6, 2014
10. Financial tips from the financial institution
The links in these tweets takes followers to the financial institution’s own websites or other digital assets.
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) July 10, 2014
Learn how to choose a bank that's right for your small business: http://t.co/238Az91wlX
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) September 30, 2014
Stressing about how to help pay for your child's college? Here are some strategies from U.S. Bank Wealth Management: http://t.co/EvdOHcedJB
— U.S. Bank (@usbank) September 23, 2014
11. Curated financial tips
The links in these tweets take followers to posts and articles published outside the financial institution’s sites and accounts. The content is written by financial experts and influencers. (The TD Bank example is different: It was written by a TD Bank expert but published by HuffPo.)
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 18, 2014
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) July 1, 2014
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) August 21, 2014
— U.S. Bank (@usbank) July 26, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 12, 2014
12. Branch happenings
— OK Emp. Credit Union (@OECU) August 1, 2014
Our Angleton branch thinks our members are pretty SWEET! So for Member Appreciation Week we've got goodies for you: http://t.co/sLXJV2d7OA
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 24, 2014
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) September 25, 2014
— U.S. Bank (@usbank) September 18, 2014
13. Announce and honor new staff
PRESS RELEASE: "Tracy Felicia Promoted to Regional Vice President of Houston South" – http://t.co/cvT2DLAalQ
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 10, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 9, 2014
14. Crisis communication
It can be important to address tragic events, like a TD Bank robbery that ended with the suspect shot and killed by police and the earthquakes that affected homes and businesses in Napa.
We're saddened by what happened at our Forest Hill store today. Our thoughts are w/the employees involved as they begin the healing process
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) September 23, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 11, 2014
15. Job openings
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) September 11, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) July 14, 2014
16. Community visibility
— OK Emp. Credit Union (@OECU) September 19, 2014
We'll be at the next @UHouston game on October 2nd of course! Social Media Photo Booth & camo koozies for the "Salute to Service Heroes" 🙂
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 25, 2014
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) September 27, 2014
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) September 5, 2014
— U.S. Bank (@usbank) August 6, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 5, 2014
17. Events and seminars
— TDECU (@TDECU) July 15, 2014
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) July 5, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 16, 2014
18. Good deeds
— TDECU (@TDECU) August 20, 2014
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) September 3, 2014
These 10 communities are making urban forestry a priority which is why we awarded them grants to continue their work. http://t.co/rjaEW5m9ZA
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) September 3, 2014
— U.S. Bank (@usbank) August 6, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 4, 2014
19. Pitches for products & services
— OK Emp. Credit Union (@OECU) September 29, 2014
Is your dream home one with a city view or the wide open country? Either way, let TDECU Mortgage help you out! http://t.co/tnaKMb8s8a
— TDECU (@TDECU) July 16, 2014
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) July 29, 2014
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) August 24, 2014
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) July 16, 2014
20. Offers just for customers or members
— TDECU (@TDECU) July 22, 2014
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) August 3, 2014
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) August 16, 2014
21. Participation in existing conversations
By monitoring keywords and mentions, some financial institutions find opportunities to connect and converse.
22. Conversation starters
Give us your input! What would you like to see more of on our Twitter feed?
— TDECU (@TDECU) July 28, 2014
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) July 30, 2014
23. Quotes and jokes
We’re generally not a big fan of tweeting quotes and making jokes, but when they can concentrate on financial services (even related subjects, like success) and when the tone of the account/profile allows, they can be used sparingly.
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 24, 2014
We pride ourselves on Member Service. What business prides itself on driving customers away? TAXI service! LOL. #HappyMonday
— Consumers CU (@ConsumersCU) July 7, 2014
What's a pirate's favorite way to make purchases? … With a credit carrrrrd! #TalkLikeAPirateDay
— U.S. Bank (@usbank) September 19, 2014
Despite the fact that financial institutions are still fighting to come back from loss of consumer confidence, people want to feel good about where they do business. Therefore, when customers and prospects have taken time to follow a bank or credit union on Twitter, the brand (and its content) should at least be likeable. But it goes beyond likeability. And it goes even deeper than the obvious enthusiasm the banks and credit unions cited here exhibit.
It’s really about humanizing the financial institution. All of the highlighted categories of content, in one way or another, speak to some aspect of humanizing the brand: they make the brand relevant, engaging, surprising (in a very good way), personable, entertaining, helpful, informative, etc. The bottom line is that a great Twitter strategy helps customers connect with their banks and credit unions.
When executive properly, social media posts add dimension and depth to the consumer relationship. In a marketplace where there’s so much competition and where loyalty is so highly coveted, the importance of that relationship is crystal clear.