Visible Banking Twitter Watch #11 – July 2009: 600+ Financial Institutions in 30+ Countries – Top 10s Banks / Credit Unions / Insurance


Logo-TwitterIn March 2009, I started tracking the financial institutions (FIs) on twitter. From only 54 accounts back then, I am thrilled to announce that I am now tracking well over 600 accounts.

I believe my initiative is unique, definitely exciting and rewarding, and full of great insights. I aim to share some key stats with you, my blog readers, mytwitter followers, and my facebook fans, and provide some second-to-none recommendations to my clients.

From now on, I will post a monthly summary of the Visible Banking Twitter Watch on my blog. For more regular updates, I invite you to follow me on twitter @Visible_Banking and search twitter for updates with #VBTW.

In addition to this ongoing effort, I am currently working on an indepth report on twitter in the finance industry with a key focus on the top 30 most followed FIs. Feel free to contact me if you want to contribute!

You work for a financial institution? You would like to leverage twitter more efficiently, learn how your peers and competitors are using the popular micro-blogging service, or find out more about the best practices and the most successful initiatives in the finance industry?
I invite you to send me an email or call me on +44 7736 446 357.

The global picture
Twitter is a great tool for real time market research, the data is constantly changing. It is a work in progress, so please do not hesitate to flag any missing initiatives.

Please note I started writing this article last week, and I used the data collected on Monday 3rd August 2009. I was then tracking 606 financial institutions. FYI, since then I’ve added another 23 FIs to my list.

You will find below two charts displaying the top countries and the types of financial institutions on twitter, based on my Visible Banking Twitter Watch.

Summary – July 2009
In late July, twitter purged a signifant number of spam accounts which impacted pretty much every account’s followers count. As a consequence, the July figures don’t necessarily reflect the genuine growth rates of the last few months.
Because of the holiday season, both the growth rates and the level of activity will surely be impacted in August too. September should give us a more accurate view on how the finance industry is doing on twitter.

Please find below a few facts and news you may have missed.
* From ‘DiscoverCard’ to ‘Discover’: the credit card issuer is now tweeting on Discover only
* ‘Verity Mom’, the seach for a blogging mom in the Seattle area: Verity Credit Union launched another social media initiative, this time targetting mothers. I invite you to check their micro-site / online You can also follow their progress on twitter @veritymom. For more general updates on verity CU, follow @veritycudotcom.
* Your detractors on twitter: I can’t insist enough on the importance of monitoring online conversations. In July, an active group of angry Standard Bank clients in South Africa decided to express themselves and rally on twitter @Standard_Blank and @StandardBlank.
Check this article and read the corporate response on the Standard Bank blog… Was it the best way to address this social media crisis?
* Allianz spots the #fake twitter account: more FIs should point out the fake accounts on twitter. Markus (via @allianz_de) confirmed that@allianzag was #fake -> @allianzag bewirbt mit Allianz Logo und URL Zahn-Bleaching-Dienste und verlinkt auf “gorgeous ladies” #nichtlustig#Fake #Allianz

Key milestones
Congrats to the following financial institutions for reaching an important milestone in July!
* 6,000: INGDIRECT (US)
* 5,000: USAA_News (US)
* 2,000: BuergschaftRabowielrennen (Netherlands), CEO_INGDIRECT(Canada)
* 1,000: CA Health Insurance (US), North Shore Bank (US)

Special kudos to Buergschaft, the only German bank in the top 10, which enjoyed the fastest growth in July with a staggering +374% followers and leads the finance industry bagging an outstanding 41 new followers (average) per day since creation (2nd June 09). INGDIRECT is second adding a remarkable 36 new followers (average) per day since creation (6th February 2009).

Rabowielrennen (Rabosport) benefited from our beloved Tour de France and enjoyed a tremendous growth back in early July.

Twitter anniversaries
In case you missed my updates on @Visible_Banking, please find below the list of twitter anniversaries in July:
* Happy 2-year anniversary to Rabobank (Netherlands) and nab (Australia)!
* Happy 1-year anniversary to MSU Federal CU (US), Citizens Bank(#fake?), Banco de Méxicoraibalustenau (Germany), Heartland CU (US),Standard Bank – MylestheButler (South Africa), wvunited (US)!

Please do not hesitate to leave a comment and flag any missing key news, milestones or anniversaries!

Top 10s – Most Followed Financial Institutions
Since I started this research, I’ve received regular requests for twitter statistics from all over the word.

Karl Flinders, Deputy News Editor at ComputerWeekly in the UK, has already been using my stats. I invite you to check his recent post Photos: Top 10 Banks on Twitter.

From now on, I will publish my top 10s in three categories: overall, credit unions and insurance. Please feel free to use those insights as long as you mention

My top 10s are based on the total number of followers. On the other hand, the ‘New Following’ and ‘New Updates’ represent the numbers for July (and how they compare to the June numbers) which gives a better indication of the current behaviour of the FIs.
Please note that the data used in this report was collected on 3rd August, 1st July, and 1st June 09.

Top 10 – Overall
Please find below the top 10 most followed financial institutions on twitter tracked in the Visible Banking Twitter Watch.

Financial Institution
Followers New Following
New Updates
 1. Somerset Mortgage
3. usaa_news
4. Wachovia
5. Advanta’s Ideablob
6. HRBlock
7. BofA_help
8. StateFarmIns
9. Ask_WellsFargo 
10. Buergschaftsbank
7,689 (-0.17%)
6,373  (+33%)
5,348  (+18%)
4,800    (+9%)
3,418    (+7%)
3,324    (+6%)
2,937    (+8%)
2,822   (+19%) 
2,556   (+18%)
2,525 (+374%)
   -105  (-89)
1,480  (-41)
-12 (-273)
436 (-180)
63 (-526)
174  (+50)
99   (-45)
203  (-241)
184  (-250)
1,855 (+934)
   54 (+21)
146 (+78)
25  (-22)
30  (-20)
164  (-57)
13    (-2)
245  (-14)
184 (+44)
292 (+55)
84 (-131)


Somerset Mortgages holds on to its first position, despite more or less stalling since early June 09. INGDIRECT should claim the pole position within the next month or so.

usaa_news is enjoying some great success with socia media not only on twitter but also on facebook (last week, they broke the 27,000 fans mark). They have an interesting approach relying on a few very active spokepersons such as June Walbert (twitter + youtube) or J. J. Montanaro.

Of the three twitter accounts dedicated to customer support in the top 10, Ask_WellsFargo is currently the most active and it enjoyed the fastest growth in July.

Most of those accounts have been created in 2009. HRBlock is the only company which started tweetering back in November 2007. Again, I would like to congratulate Buergschaftsbank for making the top 10 after just 61 days on twitter! Brilliant.

Top 10 – Credit Unions

Please find below the top 10 most followed credit unions on twitter tracked in my Visible Banking Twitter Watch.

Credit Union Followers New Following
New Updates
 1. PioneerCU
2. FinanceCFCU 
3. MSUFederalCU
4. YoungFreeSC
7. BreweryCU
8. BellcoCU
9. GeneralEFCU
10. 66FedCU
964 (+11%)
951 (+19%)
945 (+21%)
938    (N/A)
913 (+14%)
856 (+14%)
771 (+16%)
770 (+17%)
632   (+9%)
595 (+14%)
   58   (-26)
420 (+398)
188  (+16)
51   (-75)
88  (+25)
32     (-7)
64   (-17)
-7     (-6)
0    (+1)
 45   (+3)
140 (+92)
26   (+6)
73  (-27)
166   (+6)
39   (+2)
65 (+13)
10    (-1)
6   (+5)

Most of the CUs in the Top 10 are still experiencing a healthy growth rate. But it is a very tight top 5, and I expect a change in the ranking this month. Today MSUFCU is leading with 993 followers. Will it become the first Credit Union to break the 1,000 followers mark?
Stay tuned on twitter @Visible_Banking!

Despite an increase of activity compared to June, the top 10 CUs only sent 2.6 updates (average) per working day.

In the top 10, Pioneer CU is the only credit union which started twittering back in december 2007. By contrast, 66FedCU created its twitter account in Febuary 2009.

Top 10 – Insurance
Please find below the top 10 most followed insurance companies on twitter tracked in the Visible Banking Twitter Watch.

Insurance Company Followers
New Following
New Updates
 1. StateFarmIns
2. allcains 
3. allstate
4. Petplan
5. VPI Pet Insur.
6. CA Health Insur.
7. FBD Insur.
8. Viaticals
9. AIGHawaii
10. incomeprotect
  2,822 (+19%)
2,021    (N/A)
1,818 (+33%)
1,288 (+12%)
1,264 (+14%)
1,096 (+19%)
910  (+11%)
869 (+0.3%)
706   (+7%)
449    (-3%)
203 (-241)
265  (+39)
-9   (-11)
12   (-17)
418 (+423)
91  (-205)
22  (-182)
27   (+11)
-8     (-8)
184 (+44)
138 (+62)
26 (+11)
16    (-7)
3   (+3)
43    (-2)
-8    (-7)
20   (+7)
4   (+4)

StateFarmIns has established itself as a clear leader on twitter with a comfortable 33% lead on allcains. In July 09, StateFarmIns managed to sustain one of the best growth rates in the insurance industry. This week they will surely become the first insurance company to break the 3,000 followers mark.

A special mention for allstate which experienced the biggest growth in July. Last week Marcia Hansen @ allstate won an internal recognition award for outstanding customer service on twitter. Marcia, I am sure you will enjoy your meeting with Dennis Haysbert, aka 24’s David Palmer, the official spokesman for Allstate Insurance! 😉

The oldest twitter users in this top 10, State Farm Insurance and allstate Insurance created their twitter accounts respectively in June 08 and April 08. By contrast, allcains started twittering in May this year.

More Twitter Statistics
* Most Followed FIs: 202 FIs have 200+ followers of which 63 have 500+ followers.
* The 1,000+ Followers Club: 28 FIs have 1,000+ followers.
* Restricted tweets: 12 accounts.
* Inactive accounts: 115 FIs haven’t sent any updates in July 2009. 
* Other awesome twitter lists: I highly recommend you follow Roger Conant who maintains a comprehensive list of credit unions (via@CUTweetTrack),  Sonya J Mills who maintains a list of community banks (via @CommunityBanks), and Boris who maintains a list of German FIsSocial Media: Deutsche Banken im Twitter Kurz Test on (via@Electrouncle).

Twitter accounts added in July 09
In July 09, I added the following 85 accounts to my list: acefcu, affinitybank, AIG Pakistan, AIGExecutive, allcains, Allianz_Kai, American Express – OPENForum, awecu, BankofAmericaSux, BFCU, brazosccu, citizens_bank, CommFirstCU, Credit Agricole PG, CUattheMirage, Deutsche_News, Discover, emeryfcu, EnergyCapitalCU, EntrustGary, FarmersIns, FarmersInsAZ, FCFCU_GoGreen, FFSB, floridacentral, Giroflexx – Gunnar Sieverts, Giroflexx – Isabelle Wente, Giroflexx – Rainer Grieger, Giroflexx – Sandra Moeller, HappyBanking, HCCU, hitelfcu, ILStateBank, Kontoblick, LESFCU, MAXCreditUnion, mctfcu, meritrustcu, mtefcu, MVFCUcoop, NKpscu, OBeeCU, Partners_FCU, PilgrimBank, PointLomaBank, RaboDirect, Raiffeisenbank Lusteneau, robertlreynolds, savingsloans, SDMCU, spardabankhh, Sparkasse Furth, Sparkasse Gottigen, Sparkasse Holstein, Sparkasse Witten, Sparkasse_de, Sparkasse_KBN, sparkassefuerth, sparkassewitten, spk_goettingen, Standard Bank – MylestheButler, StandardBankGrp, StdBankCricket, Synergycu, texomacu, ThePeoplesBank, ucbankmn, UNH_Innovates, UNHnewsroom, unitedsa, unumnews, VACUL, VikingBank, VisionsFCU, Voba_Oberberg, Volksbank Plochingen, Volksbank Uberlingen, Volksbank_Buehl, Volksbank_KRP, VRMeinKonto, Webank, WesCorpFCU, westpac, winbank_tweets, YoungFreeSC.

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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