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!
— Oklahoma's Credit Union (@OklahomasCU) July 2, 2014
A few of our TDECU Volunteers hit the streets this morning to hand out $5 Starbucks gift cards to @UHouston students: http://t.co/430MU6pRuE
— TDECU (@TDECU) August 25, 2014
The Consumers Cash Car has made a stop at Western Michigan University! Welcome back students! http://t.co/bxkmZGrO53 pic.twitter.com/8T8msOtQ47
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) August 27, 2014
#RhodeIsland: Are you at the @RISPCA Marvin Memorial Walk for Animals? We are passing out doggie treats and prizes! http://t.co/aYLc2oVbEi
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) August 23, 2014
2. Bigger giveaways/sweepstakes
Imagine yourself at @SuperBowl XLIX. Learn how you can win a Super Bowl experience of a lifetime, courtesy of @Visa: http://t.co/AdpPNwPmgX
— 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
— Oklahoma's Credit Union (@OklahomasCU) 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
eStatements are secure, fast & green—and you can win green for signing up! http://t.co/FbIul1e7Ys #GoConsumers
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) July 3, 2014
Banks and credit unions advocate for causes such as “shop local” and #womenintech, and even for their entire industry (#creditunions).
Join a CU! "@GOBankingRates reports that #creditunions have higher savings rates than banks" http://t.co/pai0qU4vvv RT @NewsNowLiveWire
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 3, 2014
New SVB #InnovationEconomy rpt: <50% of tech co's have women in leadership roles http://t.co/xVw808Wvoo #WomeninTech pic.twitter.com/ZwMZbBZPu5
— 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
— Oklahoma's Credit Union (@OklahomasCU) 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
"They went to bat for me to get me that mortgage!" -Sharon A., joined 1993 http://t.co/j1v8YY2EjS #LiveConsumers
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) April 1, 2014
Happy to be here for you Eric. Enjoy ur day! 🙂 ^YD RT @EricRubenLawyer Thank you @TDBank_US for having hours that work for people like me.
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) September 12, 2014
Thank you! RT @To_Err_Is_Hunan: @SVB_Financial you make my work day very easy. other banks need to take a cue from you guys
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) July 28, 2014
6. Acknowledgement of accomplishments
Representing at the Best & Brightest Sustainable Companies awards in Grand Rapids! #101BB @CarrieSusemihl pic.twitter.com/7sOtgGD2qw
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) September 16, 2014
Congrats to SVBer @Jkuzon for being named one of @AlleyWatch's 21 People in the NYC #Fintech Scene You Need to Know http://t.co/RFrzsSPT54
— 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
More Member Appreciation Day fun! We love our Consumers family. Thank you for being part… http://t.co/X6Hus3ONaG pic.twitter.com/GMbL7OmC2t
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) July 17, 2014
Congrats team!> @HTGMolecular Announces $16 Million Term Loan Agreement W/ Silicon Valley Bank & Oxford Finance http://t.co/HVcD1eM0a2
— 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.
We're FINALLY on #Instagram so make sure you follow us! http://t.co/lLi4MVcvPm
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 2, 2014
Pssst! Did you know we have a #blog? It's called #TalkWithTDECU and you can find a lot of good info on it here: http://t.co/zxyUOwAj81
— TDECU (@TDECU) August 14, 2014
7 Ways to Save Money on Your Cable and TV Bill http://t.co/WtLqC97Ejf
— Oklahoma's Credit Union (@OklahomasCU) 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 Credit Union (@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!
— Oklahoma's Credit Union (@OklahomasCU) 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 Credit Union (@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.
Do you know your financial numbers? Do a quick check with our online calculators: http://t.co/a7isAkJf24 #LiveConsumers
— Consumers Credit Union (@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.)
8 Items You Should Always Buy Generic http://t.co/8Ooyhsk7hd via @usnews RT @TinkerFCU
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 18, 2014
The secret to #budgeting success? Don't make it too complicated. New tips from @LearnVest: http://t.co/WqC01lkPhU
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) July 1, 2014
College Grads: What you don't know CAN hurt you financially. Learn more from our Nandita Bakhshi in @HuffPostCollege: http://t.co/OC0JMRQkdY
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) August 21, 2014
Some great ideas! RT @ReadyForZero: Wooing on the Cheap (Without Looking Cheap): How to Date on a Budget http://t.co/gBxIK7ZnRn
— U.S. Bank (@usbank) July 26, 2014
What actually happens after you raise money? Here's a hint: It's not a long vacation: http://t.co/PJRh4m9h5X by @DocSend CEO @rheddleston
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 12, 2014
12. Branch happenings
They're here! @klemmssmokehaus is at our Capitol Branch on Lincoln! Come by for lunch and support local! pic.twitter.com/O21Knaf6LF
— Oklahoma's Credit Union (@OklahomasCU) 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
Cascade team getting ready for their office to open and Craig's in need of a new tie! He… http://t.co/wsZTiJAj5s pic.twitter.com/TRGNr1sXjB
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) September 25, 2014
#StLouis area, join us for our newest local branch grand opening on Sat, 9/20! http://t.co/E4rMFMgJnp
— U.S. Bank (@usbank) September 18, 2014
13. 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
The damage caused by the #NapaQuake impacted several SVB clients who could use your support. Plz join us in donating http://t.co/ngYWv3SPKF
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 11, 2014
14. Job openings
Have a strong #mortgage passion? We're #hiring a Mortgage Loan Officer for #GrandRapids. Apply: http://t.co/AlSvUL8YaV #InsideConsumersCU
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) September 11, 2014
We're #hiring a Relationship Manager for our Community Development Finance team in San Francisco. More info: http://t.co/bYxFfw3Beg #SFJobs
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) July 14, 2014
15. Community visibility
Lounge at our #parklet until 4 pm! Meet some new friends @digitokc @piejunkieokc @plazadistrict @saintsokc #park… pic.twitter.com/oIF2xxNfyX
— Oklahoma's Credit Union (@OklahomasCU) 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
Team Consumers rocked it today at the Park2Park 5k! #InsideConsumersCU http://t.co/nVeL8kgKci pic.twitter.com/rKJPyeRKbh
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) September 27, 2014
#Worcester: Join us for the @Worcester_Pride Parade tmw! Look out for our Wow Van. We will be passing out beads, frisbees & flags.
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) September 5, 2014
RT @KCLiveTV: Get ready to fly high above, the @usbank @GMBalloonFest is right around corner! http://t.co/X2kYY8zOhq http://t.co/w2zbC8jTf8
— U.S. Bank (@usbank) August 6, 2014
Going to #TCDisrupt? Make sure to stop by our happy hour w/ @Weebly @TechCaresSF in support of @HacktheHood http://t.co/UtU9SD1Qm8
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 5, 2014
16. Events and seminars
We've got another Home Buyer Seminar this Thursday at our Sugar Land Branch. Click here to RSVP: http://t.co/6wLXXBsPaN #homebuyer
— TDECU (@TDECU) July 15, 2014
We love bringing #FinancialWellness our Consumers @Work partners! One of them shares their story: http://t.co/wQem3kvSYi
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) July 5, 2014
Join us on 9/24 for the “Fraud Controls to Protect Your Company’s Most Important Assets” webcast led by SVB & @FBI http://t.co/4RfzjlwXtX
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 16, 2014
17. Good deeds
Thank you everyone for your Back-to-School donations! Our Center Street branch donated to Sarah's House: http://t.co/pA0tScl3mk #community
— TDECU (@TDECU) August 20, 2014
Blood drive today at our Stadium Drive office until 4pm. Walk-ins are welcome! http://t.co/slx0f6Fve7 pic.twitter.com/zCuI4ph3By
— Consumers Credit Union (@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
#USBank paint squad! 20 USB volunteers helped Paint #Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful today for a local resident. pic.twitter.com/YaVS22zTwp
— U.S. Bank (@usbank) August 6, 2014
.@TuggOrg's #TechGivesBack is less than a week away! Volunteer w/ SVB to support the #Boston tech community: http://t.co/ShtLN92J8D
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) September 4, 2014
18. Pitches for products & services
One of our cool new debit card designs we got in! Show your love for our great state! #localislovely pic.twitter.com/d7lPuB4yfE
— Oklahoma's Credit Union (@OklahomasCU) 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
30,000. That's how many fee free CO-OP ATMs our members have access to throughout the U.S.! http://t.co/I9HpGtjeOX #GoConsumers
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) July 29, 2014
#Students, have you heard about our student checking? Click here for more information: http://t.co/jjRVLkj7bf
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) August 24, 2014
SVB Online Banking now integrates w/ @Xero. Learn more http://t.co/hDpKbNf47C
— Silicon Valley Bank (@SVB_Financial) July 16, 2014
19. Offers just for customers or members
Use your TDECU Credit Card at any @bucees gas pump and save 5 cents per gallon! http://t.co/2mkZK61vWA #savings
— TDECU (@TDECU) July 22, 2014
We love saving you money! Check out these discounts exclusive to Consumers members: http://t.co/Ah678Spyao #PlayConsumers
— Consumers Credit Union (@ConsumersCU) August 3, 2014
Going to @BethelWoods for the @KeithUrban concert tmw? Show your TD Bank debit/credit card for early admission and the best seats!
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) August 16, 2014
20. Participation in existing conversations
By monitoring keywords and mentions, some financial institutions find opportunities to connect and converse.
21. Conversation starters
Give us your input! What would you like to see more of on our Twitter feed?
— TDECU (@TDECU) July 28, 2014
Our recent survey asked your new #bank criteria and this is what you said. Is this what you looked for? pic.twitter.com/l6on4PEvgg
— TD Bank (@TDBank_US) July 30, 2014
22. 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.
"Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change." #quote #inspiration
— TDECU (@TDECU) September 24, 2014
We pride ourselves on Member Service. What business prides itself on driving customers away? TAXI service! LOL. #HappyMonday
— Consumers Credit Union (@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.