Visible Banking Twitter Watch #14 – October 2009: 801 Accounts / 45 Countries / 303,665+ Followers / 4,161 Lists – Top 10s Financial Institutions / Credit Unions / Insurance

In 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 over 800 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 regular summaries of the Visible Banking Twitter Watch on my blog. I am aiming for monthly updates. For more regular updates, I invite you to follow me on twitter @Visible_Banking and search twitter for updates with #VBTW.

My ambition is to establish my Visible Banking Social Media Watch Series (TwitterBlogsFacebook and YouTube) as The first point of reference in the Finance industry. I aim to demonstrate that the industry can leverage social media, even though very few FIs do it well mainly due to lack of a subject matter expert. Indeed it is good to know how the likes of Dell, Starbucks and Toyota successfully leverage social media, but the Finance industry is a totally different ball game.

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 20 of the 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 Thursday 1st October 2009. I was then tracking 801 accounts in 45 countries.

Loyalty World 2009 & SOMESSO Zurich 2009
My late post is due to a busy start of the month. I worked on a few client assignements, I spent a few days in Rome for my birthday, I was invited to deliver the pre-conference workshop at Loyalty World 2009 in London.

Financial Institutions Must Support Their Customers on Twitter
VB-BanksMustUseTwitterI also delivered a presentation atSOMESSO, the Corporate Social Media conference, in Zurich on 3rd November.

I invite you to check my latest presentation on twitter and customer service: Financial Institutions Must Support Their Customers on Twitter.

Summary – October 2009
Out of the 801 accounts, the top 50 accounts produced 18% of the new updates, added a staggering 44% of all the new followers, and started to follow 70% of the new following overall.

It is another proof that 1. content is king, 2. posting on regular basis pays off, 3. following people is a winner (but please be cautious with your following strategy).

Germany still leads the way in Europe in number of twitter accounts and having one account in the top 10 overall. Well done Buergschafts Bank.

Please find below more twitter news and key facts in October.
SEARCH: in case you missed it, this is major news. Last month Google and Bing are both closed search deals with Twitter which will have a tremendous impact on SEO. It makes twitter even more relevant and increase its almighty ROI.

LISTS: Twitter introduced their lists. Basically, tweeple can now create up to to 20 lists to categorize the tweeple they are following. Searching those user-generated lists is an excellent way to identify more relevant accounts to follow.
It is an interesting indicator of your popularity even though it does not necessarily mean you are the most popular tweeple on twitter. It means that your followers are a bit more twitter savvy and spend the time to categorize their following base.
It is also a great way for Financial Institutions to list their official accounts worldwide and give a voice to their employees. I invite you to check the lists from Allianz and UBank.

I started tracking the number of lists per account. Please find below the accounts which appeared on the largest number of lists (info collected on 1st November):
1. INGDIRECT (107 lists, US) 2. usaa_News (88 lists, US) 3. OPENForum(54 lists, US) 4. Rabowielrennen (46 lists, Netherlands), 5. Wachovia (40 lists, US), 6. StateFarm (39 lists, US), 7. Nationwide (38 lists, US), 8.KBank_Live (38 lists, Thailand), 9. Ask_WellsFargo (37 lists, US), 10.allianz_de (33 lists, Germany).

SPAMMING & HACKING: your account has been hacked… so what? Deal with it! We all know that twitter is not the most secure social media service out there. Is it such a big issue? Is it a reason not to support your customers on the popular micro-blogging platform?
Certainely not! You just have to deal with it. Financial institutions and their customers musn’t share any personal information on twitter. And remember too… Don’t be the spammer!

I invite you to check the presentation I mentioned previously and watch two videos I published recently featuring SomersetMtg, Allcains and Geojit:
–  Financial Institutions + Spam + Twitter #2: Don’t Be The Spammer!

Stats: a few stats on twitter from @eMarketer – 39% users under 35 years old check Twitter 10 times per day or more

Name Changes: the following accounts have changed names.
* StateFarmIns became StateFarm
* myAllStateAgent became ALInsurance
* Stan_Chart_Bank became SC_UAE
* YoungFreeSC became YoungFree_SC

Key milestones
Congrats to the following financial institutions for reaching an important milestone in October!
* 13,000: Somerset Mortgage (US)
*   8,000: INGDIRECT (US), UBank (Australia)
*   2,000: OPENForum (US)
*   1,000: GHCU (US), Jerusalem_Bank (Israel), GHCommunity (US), GLS Bank (Germany), RBC Royal Bank (Canada), YoungFree_SC (US),Bellco_CU (US)

Special kudos to the following FIs which haven’t made the top 10 yet, but significantly increased their follower base in October: 1. neon_card (+401 / +853.2%, UK), 2. quirinbankAG (+214 / +319.4%, Germany), 3.escape_card (+160 / +296.3%, UK), 4. @ALInsurance (+2,334 / +140.5%, US), 5. @CareersSocgen (+238 / +85.9%, France).

Twitter anniversaries
In case you missed my updates on @Visible_Banking, I invite you to checkmy list of Social Media anniversaries (Twitter, YouTube and Blogs) in October.
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 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. Please note that the data used in this report was collected on 1st November.

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

Financial Institutions Followers
 1. Somerset Mortgage
3. usaa_news
4. Wachovia
5. StateFarm
6. ALInsurance (new)
7. Advanta’s Ideablob (-1)
8. HRBlock (-1)
9. Buergschaftsbank
10. BofA_help (-2)
13,418   (+17.8%)
8,851   (+11.1%)
6,947     (+6.3%)
5,562    (+3.4%)
4,057   (+10.6%)
3,995 (+140.5%)
3,976    (+9.4%)
3,635    (+1.1%)
3,559    (+7.0%)
3,540    (+4.8%)

In October 09, the Top 10 most followed Fis added on average 701 (+181)new followers, followed on average 662 (+272) more tweeple, and sent 8.1(+1) updates per working day.

Thanks to a rocketing growth in October, ALInsurance made the top 10 overall, and in the process “kicked out” Ask_WellsFargo which is just a few followers away from the recently redesigned BofA_Help.

Top 10 – Credit Unions

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

Credit Unions Followers
 1. MSUFederalCU
2. FinanceCFCU 
3. PioneerCU
6. YoungFree_SC
7. BellcoCU
8. BreweryCU
9. U22 Updates
10. ForumTalk
1,305  (+8.0%)
1,188  (+6.7%)
1,166  (+5.8%)
1,140  (+6.6%)
1,041  (+4.4%)
1,012  (+2.4%)
1,010  (+7.1%)
959  (+5.4%)
879 (+8.9%)
797 (+6.8%)

In October 09, the Top 10 most followed Credit Unions added on average61 (-24.7) new followers, followed on average 32 (+86) more tweeple, and sent (+0.5) updates per working day.

No changes in the Credit Union chart. Now 7 out of the 10 most followed CUs have reached the 1,000 followers mark. Even though Twitter is not all about quantity, size matters.

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

Insurance Companies Followers
 1. StateFarm
2. ALInsurance (+3)
3. allstate (-1)
4. allcains (-1)
5. Progressive (-1)
6. Nationwide Ins.
7. AAADiscounts (new)
8. VPI Pet Ins. (-1)
9. CA Health Ins.
10. PetPlan (-2)
  4,057   (+10.6%)
   3,995   (+140.5%)
  2,831   (+13.0%)
2,425     (+0.9%)
2,321    (+14.8%)
1,745       (+8.1)
1,718       (n/a)
1,590   (+5.8%)
1,539   (+6.4%)
1,507  (+3.1%)

In October 09, the Top 10 most followed Insurance companies added on average 414 (+128) new followers, followed on average 349 (+141) more tweeple, and sent 6 (+1.80) updates per working day.

Please note that ALInsurance is the twitter account from Joseph an Allstate agent in Alabama. I have also decided to add AAADiscounts to my list which is AAA’s twitter account dedicated to flagging rewards and discounts.

I believe it demonstrates the various ways financial institutions and individuals leverage twitter to increase their brand awareness and provide more value to their customers.

More Twitter Statistics

* Most Followed FIs: 336 (+56) accounts have 200+ followers of which 135(+28) have 500+ followers.
* The 1,000+ Followers Club: 54 (+13) accounts have 1,000+ followers.
* Lists (new): 82 accounts are listed more than 10 times, 26 accounts more than 20 times, and 3 accounts are listed more than 50 times. 67 accounts don’t appear on any list.
* Restricted tweets: 20 accounts.
* Inactive accounts: 208 (+170) FIs haven’t sent any updates in October 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), Charis Palmer who maintains a list of banks and bankers in Australia & New Zealand (via @bankingreview), Boris Janekwho maintains a list of German FIs Social Media: Deutsche Banken im Twitter Kurz Test on (via @Electrouncle). Also check Jeffry Pilcher’s twitter list on the Financial Brand blog.

Twitter accounts added in October 09
In October 09, I added the following 94 accounts to my list: AAAauto, AAADiscounts, Allianz – Allianz_be – Allianz_Ireland – Ayudhyallianzcp – BajajAllianz – ehworldwide – Mondial_Assist – MondialAssist – MondialTravel – PassagensAerea – SeguroViagem – SeguroViaje – allianz_com – Allianzdirect, AllstateCareers, AmericanNatlBk, Ask_TDBank, AskPayPal, AsurisNWHealth, BarclaycardNews, BBVA’s Planta29, BcardMusic, BFA_ru, BNP Paribas – BNPP_Fortis – BNPParibas_com – BNPPARIBAS_NET – BNPPARIBASOPEN – bnppmasters – Davis Cup – Geojit, Broncofcu, cignatweets, CitigroupJobs, CommFirstBank, CUPresident, CUServiceCenter, DB – DB_News – DeuBa_News, electro_banker, ERIEFCU, glsbank_obn, h_volksbank, IhreNaspa, ipoteka, KBank_Live, KBC_group, KSKRatzeburg, LeumiDigital, LzO, MortgageChoice, Moskvavkredit, nicoletvault, privatbank, PSCU_Amy, raiffeisen_at, Regence Blue Shield – RegenceIdaho – RegenceUtah – RegenceWA, royalsundaram, S_Immobilien, SC_UAE (ex Stan_Chart_Bank), siminsure, SKTrier, SmolenskyBank, Societe Generale – Tous Uniques, Sparkasse_Essen, Sparkasse_GM, Sparkasse_Kleve, Sparkasse_Neuss, Sparkasse_Oy, SparkasseGE, sparkassehanau, SparkasseMSLO, Spk_Holstein, spkhd, spknuernberg, stmkspk, SuncorpBank, SVSachsen, thatssoNW (NCCU), UBA – UBADIRECT – UBAGroupAlerts – UBAGroupCareers – UBAGroupEvents – UBAGroupIR, VanLanschot, WartburgSpark, youi_insurance, YoungCUceo, Zurich FS – HelpPoint4Kids – Sparschweindl (Zurich Connect) – zurich_de – ZurichAustralia.

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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