Top 10 Most Followed and Top 10 Fastest Growing Financial Institutions on Twitter (Global, Q1 2011)

In March 2009, I started tracking the financial institutions (FIs) on twitter(only 54 accounts back then!). It will always be a work in progress, so please don’t hesitate to get back to me to flag any missing initiatives.

My Visible Banking Social Media Watch Series (twitterfacebook, blog, youtube) gives me access to some fascinating, and unique, insights which enable me to provide second-to-none pramatic recommendations to my clients. On regular basis, I also share some of those key stats and insights with my blog readers, my twitter followers, and my facebook fans.

As part of our Visible Banking Twitter Watch Series we are now tracking over 1,400 accounts from financial institutions in 70+ countries: banks, credit unions, insurance, credit card, and financial services & investment firms.

Key Stats – Global
I invite you to check the insights shared below (the data was collected on 1st April) and compare those figures with the ones from my last update.

Distribution: on 1st April 2011, we were tacking 1,388 live accounts in 70 countries: 713 banks, 327 credit unions, 222 insurance firms, 75 FS & Investment firms, 43 credit cards and credit card providers, 8 central or reserve banks.

Please find below the total distribution of following, followers, listed, tweets and verified:
Activity: 97 accounts tweeted more than 5 times a day, 249 accounts tweeted between 1.1-4.9 times per day, 467 accounts tweeted between 0.1-1 time per day on average and 468 didn’t tweet at all.

Overall, this lack of activity demonstrates that most financial institutions haven’t started yet to engage on twitter.

Verified: as of 1st April 2011, we flagged no less than 39 verified accounts in 4 countries: Australia, Brazil, UK, US. Since then, we’ve already added a couple more… Stay tuned!

Top 10 Most Followed Accounts (Growth)
Please find below the Top 10 most followed twitter accounts with their month on month and quarterly growth rates.
1. @AmericanExpress (American Express), 2. @Banesco (Banesco), 3. @OPENForum (American Express), 4. @scb_thailand (SCB), 5. @KBank_Live (Kasikornbank PCL), 6. @santander_br (Banco Santander),7. @BBVAProvincial (BBVA), 8. @BNI46 (BNI), 9. @SCBEasy (SCB), 10. @banxico (Banco de Mexico).

There is only one US financial institution in the Top 10, and Europe is not even represented. You notice the growing presence of South American and Asian financial institutions. And those accounts are still growing at an incredible rate.

American Express (US) and SCB (Thailand) are the only financial institutions with two accounts in the Top 10. The competition is fierce in Thailand where banks are focused on building large audiences on social media sites like facebooktwitter or foursquareKasikornbank is also placed well with its @KBank_Live account (“KBank Live” being Kasikornbank’s own social media brand).

To my knowledge, American Express is still the only financial institution which broke the 100,000 follower mark. Please feel free to prove me wrong should you be aware of another twitter account in banking or insurance with such an enormous follower base.

Even in the B2B space, American Express proves to be focused and successful on twitter. Despite their already sizable follower base, in Q1 they kept growing at a staggering pace of 278 new followers a day.
And their social media success doesn’t stop with twitter: I invite you to check my coverage of Big BreakAmerican Express OPEN‘s latest facebook contest.

Top 10 Most Followed Accounts (Activity)
Please find below the same Top 10, but this time with their average volume of daily tweets.
I find it interesting to somehow link the growth of an account back to its content strategy: frequency is important, so is syntax (hashtags, words, appeal) and “call to action” (links). But be careful not to turn into a spammer!

Here, you see that 40% of the accounts show a modest-to-low activity with 5.3 tweets or less a day on average in Q1. 40% of the accounts have a decent-to-good level of activity with between 6.3-23.9 of daily tweets. 20% of the accounts tweet a lot with 33.5 and 58.8 daily tweets. Those high numbers usually involve whether some kind of automation or a focus on customer support.

The relatively low activity on @OPENForum shows that American Express does a good job promoting it on its own online assets (website and other social media presence).

Top 10 Fastest Growing Accounts (over 500 followers)
I find it important to give more visibility to the financial institutions which experienced the largest growth rates in Q1.
VBTW-Global-Top10-LargestGrowthOver5001. @OPENForum (American Express), 2. @PIMCO (Pimco), 3. @BNPPARIBASOPEN (BNP Paribas), 4. @KFHGroup (KFH Group), 5. @BancoGuayaquil (Banco de Guayaquil), 6. @YoungFreeAB (Severus CU),7. @AbsaCapeEpic (ABSA Bank), 8. SacSantander_br (Santander), 9. @ecb_europa_eu (European Central Bank), 10. @Axa_Gorilla (Axa Equitable).

Congratulations to all the financial institutions mentioned in this Top 10 and in particular the Top 3 fastest growing accounts (excluding @OPENForum): 1. @KFHGroup (Kuwait), 2. @SacSantander_br (Brazil), 3. @ecb_europa_eu (Germany).

If feels good to see 2 other European accounts in the Top 10: well done to BNP Paribas and Axa! Please note that both French financial institutions have several other twitter accounts such as @BNPPARIBAS_SAV, an account dedicated to customer support.

Success: Content Strategy, Following Strategy, Promotion, KYF
I strongly believe in the value of tracking and benchmarking how twitter andfacebook are used in financial services. Providing a list of twitter accounts or facebook pages is not enough.

Financial institutions must appreciate that if creating a twitter account is super easy and fast, building a strong presence and engage with “the right tweeps” on the most popular microblogging service is challenging.

Your success lies in your ability to produce interesting content on regular basis and make sure your content will be picked up by the tweeps you are targeting. This is assuming that you know who you are targeting? By the way, do you know who is following you?

Then you have to make sure to promote your twitter account on your own online assets, which will make your presence more official and reassure the tweeps,

What is Your Strategy on Twitter?
To maximize your chances of being successful you need to:
1. Understand how your peers have been using twitter in the last few years,
2. Identify your influencers (detractors and champions),
3. Design and implement a content strategy (which includes among other aspects: distributing existing content, relaying content from trusted sources and thanking your followers),
4. Promote: maximize the visibility of your twitter account(s) on your own online assets, including your public website and your other social media profiles like your facebook page(s),
5. Design a following strategy and a response strategy
6. Know Your Followers (KYF): it is critical to understand who is following you, who are your most influential tweeps… In order to enhance your response strategy and start building stronger, trusted, relationships with them. The better you know your followers, the better you can REWARD them.

I appreciate this approach requires a bit of time and guidance, but it is what’s required if you want to make the most of twitter. And please don’t conclude that twitter or social media is not for your financial institution simply because you didn’t see much traction since the launch of your account. In most cases, you haven’t even started to really leverage this new communication channel.

Two of the most “successful” approaches on twitter are: focusing oncustomer service or establishing your financial institution as The content aggregator / The curator for a specific topic (especially in B2B).

We at Visible Banking would be delighted to help you and your team better understand and leverage social media in a pragmatic way.
So please don’t hesitate to call me (0044 7736 446 357), send me an email (, or DM me (@Visible_Banking) to book a meeting and talk about twitterfacebook,customer reviews, social media & social commerce in banking, financial services and insurance.

What do you think?

Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London for almost a decade, Christophe is an entertaining fintech marketing keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of digital marketing, innovation and B2B social media.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is advising a number of fintech startups on marketing and growth hacking and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Fintech Power 50, an exclusive annual programme helping fintech scale-ups to accelerate their growth globally.

Christophe's views on are his own.

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Top 10 Most Followed and Top 10 Fastest Growing Financial Institutions on Twitter (EMEA, Q1 2011)