Social Media: Banks Are Lagging Far Behind

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Co. are on everyoneʼs lips. However, […]

March 28, 2012

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Co. are on everyoneʼs lips. However, not with the banks: the majority of banks still deals with social media quite clumsily. Especially the private banks analyzed by have difficulties: the 50 worldwide largest and most important private banking and wealth management institutes only reach an average of 43 out of 100 possible points – which is not even half of the maximum amount of points. And this despite the fact that the criteria for the awards for points were relatively easy to fulfill.

Citibank takes the first place, followed by Société Générale and ABN AMRO

For the present survey analyzed the communication of the 50 leading banks in wealth management and private banking on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and the integration of social media on their websites (see appendix). Result: Citibank leads the ranking, ahead of Société Générale, ABN AMRO, Barclays, Wells Fargo, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank and Vanguard who all achieved at least 70 points. Thereby, not only financial topics are of importance within the social media strategies of the leading banks. Also sponsoring campaigns in sports, art, science, culture, development aid or sustainability attract attention on Facebook & Co. The best placed banks manage to be convincing not least because of their interaction with users on their social media channels.

Amateurish social media strategies

On average, however, the social media competence of banks is rather poor: 27 banks do not even reach half of the possible points. 27 banks do not reach half of the maximum amount of points in the «Facebook» category, 25 in the «Website, mobile & Co» category, 25 in «Twitter», 29 in «YouTube» and 21 in the «LinkedIn» category. «For a surprisingly high amount of banks a convincing social media strategy is still not distinguishable,» says Benjamin Manz, managing partner of And this despite the fact that bank clients worldwide wish for more transparency and information content – not least because of digital media.

Working against «shitstorms» with the help of social media

The area of social media is experiencing a paradigm shift which is also changing the long-term media behavior of affluent bank clients. Digital media does not only serve for information search but, increasingly, also for reputation building and preservation as well as for client acquisition. Reputation-jeopardizing «shitstorms» can be best avoided if banks themselves are prominently present on the important social media channels and can react in time to accusations. Especially for renowned banks with a demanding clientele it is increasingly important to be present in the virtual social network.

«The banks have to hurry, as long as they still can jump on the bandwagon. It takes time to build an active Internet community,» explains Benjamin Manz.

Banks on Facebook are hibernating

Facebook has become the central social interaction platform. It is therefore even more surprising that a third of all analyzed banks does not yet have an active Facebook profile. Astonishingly enough, Goldman Sachs is one of these banks – even though the company is invested in Facebook. Royal Bank of Canada, ABN AMRO, Nordea and Standard Chartered who actively integrate their users in their communications and let them participate in what goes on online did best. Averagely, the banks only reach a third of the possible amount of points – a disillusioning result. Also, only 18 banks or approximately half (55%) of the banks with an active Facebook profile reacted to a test request by via Facebook – a clear sign for insufficient interaction with the users.

Twitter and YouTube channels: mere tokenism for many banks

Also, the communication by the analyzed banks with the social news service Twitter is not much more skillful: even though 42 out of 50 banks have a Twitter account, only 26 (or approximately half the banks) react actively to the user tweets. Only 13 of 50 consider wealth management topics. Only barely half of the banks have an up-to-date YouTube channel, thereof only 15 banks with special consideration of topics related to wealth management. At least, all banks – apart from the bottom-placed Bank J. Safra – have a LinkedIn profile that is mainly supposed to serve the Human Resources departments. However, a closer look at the LinkedIn profiles shows that only 14 banks present additional content and only 8 institutes cultivate interaction with LinkedIn users.

Poor online and mobile integration of social media

Shortcomings are also shown on the websites of the banks: almost half of the institutes integrate social media insufficiently in their Internet presence. Only 19 banks have an own blog and only with 6 banks interaction between the users and the bank is possible via an interactive blog or chat on the website. Only 33 banks feature a subsite on wealth management or private banking topics. Only 22 or less than half of the banks have a website that is optimized for smartphones. 14 banks do not have a mobile app.

[list type=”download”]Download the Social Media Survey 2012 Assetinum[list]
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