Private sector banks are embracing social media far quicker than their public sector counterparts. Use of social media can help make a company appear to be more accessible, which may explain why most private sector banks have jumped on this bandwagon, leaving the public sector banks far behind. As private banks engage in fierce competition with each other to manage the finances of India’s middle class, Facebook has proven to be a deciding battleground. However, with social media being a two way conversation, only a handful of banks have dared to embrace the veritable minefield of actively engaging in two way conversations with customers out in the open.
Today, Unmetric, the company that tells global brands how they stack up against the competition on social media, releases its India’s Banks on Social Media report. The report examines every aspect of the banks’ Q1 social media strategy - January 1st, 2013 to March 31st, 2013.
Key to rating the social media performance of the banks is the Unmetric Score, a unique measurement designed to give ‘sector aware’ context to social media activity. The score is a scientific blend of various qualitative and quantitative social media metrics, weighted and balanced to produce a single benchmarkable number.
To that end, the Unmetric Scores from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were added together to determine the overall winner. It was found that HDFC Bank is the leading bank on social media with a score of 110 but ICICI bank is not far behind with a score of 108. In third place was Axis Bank with a score of 93.
The findings have been embedded in an infographic which is shared below and there after a detailed explanation of what the numbers mean.
Banks on Facebook
When it comes to social media usage amongst banks, there is only one winner - Facebook. Where brands in other sectors have been quick to embrace Twitter, YouTube and even Pinterest, the banking sector prefers to keep the conversation to Facebook. Remarkably, when it comes to Indian banks, for every 1,000 Facebook fans, there are just 8 Followers on Twitter and 1.5 Subscribers on YouTube.
Between them, the banks have amassed 6 million fans, with a third of those coming from ICICI Bank, although HDFC Bank isn’t far behind at 1.5 million fans. Axis Bank is the only other bank to have crossed the 1 million fan threshold. There is no slowdown in sight either, as Asian banks grew by an average of 25% between January and March. Standard Chartered Bank lead the growth charge, registering a jaw dropping 2,780% fan growth, although this was because the account was only created in December 2012 and grew from 4,000 to 100,000 fans in three months. HDFC Bank achieved impressive growth of 120%, more impressive considering the large number of fans it started with. IndusInd Bank also nearly doubled their fans; however, the bank had just over 1,000 fans to begin with.
Engagement on Facebook: Fan numbers alone don’t always tell the full story, people need to be updated and importantly, engage with the content that the brands post. Unmetric uses an algorithm based on the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Estimated Impressions to produce a benchmarkable score to rate fan engagement. Leading the social engagement using this score was IndusInd which scored 390, thanks to its relatively low fan numbers, achieved high engagement because a high percentage of fans interacted with the posts. DCB Bank, which had the second highest engagement score at 358, also had a high number of fans interacting with the posts even though it has less than 700 fans. ICICI Bank, which posted 93 times in the period analyzed, scored 104, which was impressive considering it has the most fans. It means that ICICI has been able to successfully leverage their large fan base and post engaging content.
Content Strategy on Facebook: Unmetric takes the fan engagement analysis one step further by employing a team of data analysts to categorize and tag every Facebook post to uncover the content strategies of top brands. When this analysis was applied to the banks in India, it was found that they mostly focused on asking brand related questions to fans. Promotions was the second most popular content followed closely by contests. However, these were not the most engaging topics for fans. It was brand news that saw the highest levels of engagement, followed by engagement oriented posts (ie. “Like this post if…”) and posts about corporate social responsibility. Ad Campaigns also saw high engagement, despite being one of the least posted items.
Banks on Twitter
Banks appear to give much less importance to Twitter with only six out of the eleven banks having a presence on this social network. Kotak Mahindra Bank comes out on top with 17,409 followers and IDBI, a public sector bank is second with 12,484 followers. In third place is ICICI Bank with 7,483 followers. Kotak Mahindra Bank saw a staggering 1,409% growth in its fan base in the three month period analyzed. YES Bank grew by 43.2% while Axis Bank grew by 34.6%. Interestingly, IDBI lost fans during the same period.
The six banks analyzed sent an average of 10 tweets per day. HDFC Bank was the most prolific, tweeting 18 times a day. The banks mostly used Twitter to reply to questions, yet they don’t always seem to be in a hurry to reply. IDBI replied to 25 tweets in an average of 9 hours per tweet, whereas HDFC Bank replied to 916 tweets in an average of 19 hours per tweet. ICICI has taken the trouble to set up a dedicated Twitter support account where customers can tweet their problems and get a response; however, it takes ICICI nearly two days, on average, to reply to a tweet.
When it came to actually dishing out the customer service, banks mostly preferred to get customers to call the helpline. ICICI looked to take the conversation out of public view by requesting people to send them a Direct Message – possibly due to the sensitive nature of the questions being asked. HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank also directed people to send the question to a specific support email address.
Banks on YouTube
Many big brands in India have been slow to adopt YouTube, possibly due to the higher costs involved in producing video content. Six of the eleven banks analyzed were found to have a YouTube account, however, only three banks showed any activity in the last three months. ICICI Bank leads with the most active YouTube channel; it has uploaded a total of 140 videos, 40 of which were in the last month. Unlike other banks, which just upload their commercials, ICICI Bank also uploads interviews with financial analysts to help people make sense of the global economy.
However, it’s Axis Bank that wins overall on YouTube. The bank saw its video views grow by over 260% in three months, giving it more views than all other Indian banks on YouTube. Axis also posted an equally high subscriber growth rate, 290%, making it the most popular and most watched banking channel in India.
The bank can owe much of its success to its recent Progress Together campaign which showed how lives are intertwined. Further analysis found that Axis Bank has one of the shortest average video lengths out of all the banks. In a world of reduced attention spans, YouTube has succeeded due to its endless supply of short clips. While other banks average 3 or more minutes per video – the average HDFC Bank video is over 7 minutes long - Axis keeps it short with an average length of 57 seconds per video.
Disclosure: Unmetric is an advertiser with Lighthouse Insights.