Visible Banking Twitter Watch #15 – November 2009: 877 Accounts / 46 Countries / 331,351+ Followers / 9,960 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 880 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 Tuesday 1st December 2009. I was then tracking 877 accounts in 46 countries.

Financial Institutions Must Support Their Customers on Twitter

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

Spamming & Hacking: we all know that twitter is not the most secure social media service out there. Your account has been hacked… so what? Deal with it! 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… Don’t become the spammer!

I invite you to check the presentation I mentioned previously and watch two videos I published recently featuring SomersetMtgAllcains and Geojit:

Financial Institutions + Spam + Twitter #2: Don’t Be The Spammer!

Summary – November 2009
Out of the 877 accounts, the top 50 accounts produced 18% of the new updates, added a staggering 49% of all the new followers, and started to follow 71% 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).

Key milestones
Congrats to the following financial institutions for reaching an important milestone in October!
* 4,000: Ideablob (US)
* 3,000: Moskvavkredit (Russia), allstate (US), etradebaby (US)
* 2,500: progressive (US), OPENForum (US) As a matter of fact, on 1-Dec the OF account was just short of making the 3,000 mark!
* 2,000: CitigroupJobs (US), kotakcards (India), KBank_Live (Thailand)
* 1,500: northshorebank (US)
* 1,000: superstarsaver (Canada), ArvestBank (US), FosterBank (US),BNPPARIBAS_DE (Germany), BreweryCU (US)

Special kudos to the following FIs which haven’t made the top 10 yet, but significantly increased their follower base in November: westpac (+249 / +232.7%, Australia), DavisCup (+210 / +198.1%, France), Moskvavkredit(+1974 / +155.53, Russia), BNPPARIBAS_NET (+108 / +136.7%, France),firemenscu (+98 / +122.5%, US).

Protected / unprotected: Westpac and WAFedSavings opened up their twitter feed (at last).

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

Top 10s – Most Followed FI Accounts
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 this month, I will publish my top 10s in four categories: overall, credit unions, insurance, and most listed. 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.


In November 09, the Top 10 most followed accounts added on average 575(-126) new followers, followed on average 506 (-156) more tweeple, and sent 9.14 (+1.04) updates per working day.

I am seriously considering removing SomersetMtg from the top 10 because of excessing spamming on their account for far too long; I wonder if they monitor their own updates at all? And the quality of their official tweets…

Welcome back Ask_WellsFargo, and see you soon Buergschaftsbank. We miss a European financial institution in the top 10! Congrats toALInsurance for a staggering 52.7% growth rate last month. I wish I had the time to screen the follower base for those 10 accounts in order to flag the bots and fake accounts, and determine which FIs have the best, most relevant, followers.

Top 10 – Credit Unions

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


In November 09, the Top 10 most followed Credit Unions added on average 67 (+6) new followers, followed on average 31 (-1) more tweeple, and sent (-1) updates per working day.

No major changes in the Credit Union chart. Now 7 out of the 10 most followed CUs have reached the 1,000 followers mark. The level of activity remains low with only a couple of tweets sent on average every day. Even though Twitter is not all about quantity, size matters. So does activity.

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


In November 09, the Top 10 most followed Insurance companies added on average 335 (-18) new followers, followed on average 257 (-22) moretweeple, and sent (+0.2) updates per working day.

Congrats to ALInsurance. I like the idea that smaller companies can become “more visible” online than larger institutions. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t make much sense to merely compare the number of followers for a SME like ALInsurance with big companies like AllState or Nationwide, either way, without putting things into perspective, and for instance analyzing “the quality” of their followers, their geographical reach, their share of voice, their level of engagement…

Most Listed
Last month, I started tracking the number of lists the accounts appear on.Please find below the top 10 most listed accounts on twitter tracked in the Visible Banking Twitter Watch as of 1st December.


345 (+263) accounts are listed more than 10 times, 110 (+84) accounts more than 20 times, and 25 (+22) accounts are listed more than 50 times. 87 (+20) accounts don’t appear on any list.

More Twitter Statistics

* Most Followed FIs: 384 (+48) accounts have 200+ followers of which 158(+23) have 500+ followers.
* The 1,000+ Followers Club: 61 (+7) accounts have 1,000+ followers.
* Restricted tweets: 20 accounts.
* Inactive accounts: 91 (-117) FIs haven’t sent any updates in November 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 November 09
In November 09, I added the following 79 accounts to my list: ActivaMovil, AskCiti, AskSunTrust, Banco_Galicia, BankAtlantic, BankAval, Banketto, BankinterLabs, bankofluxemburg, bedrebank, BienSparebank, Boliglaan, BOQonline, caixa_laietana, CaixaCat_cat, CaixaCat_es, CajaMurcia, CalvertFunds, citibankeurope, ColumbiaCU, coopbanking, CzechNatBank, DiscountStudent, DnB NOR – Forbrukerokonom – SunnOkonomi, DSB_webcare, EiendomsMegler1, evianmasters (Societe Generale), Fidelity, Finnor, FirstMerit, fivestarbank, Fokus_Bank, FUIB, Get_Ampd (by cornerstone_FCU), HSBC_UK_Careers, ICICIBank_Care, ICICIElemEduc, ICICIFoundation, ilovecash, INGnl_webcare, Inversis, IpswichBuildSoc, JTRMortgage, jyskebankTV, libertymutual, LifeTuner, livesolid (by SunTrust), NM_News, noabank, NorgesBank, obrasocialCM, OpCoop, PanAmericanBank, PoaliMarkeTweet, pyfchallenge, Rabobank – startcommunity, RabobankUtrecht, RBC_Online_Bkg, RBCfromtheRelay, rbfcu, RODOVIDBANK, saxobank_es, Scottrade, Securetrustbank, sparebank1_vohu, SpareBank1SMN, SparebankenSFJ, storebrand_no, SunTrust, swedbank, Swedbank_Eestis, TC_Talks, TheArrivalGuide (by EDSCU), TrygVesta, UFBDirect, VABbank, WAFedSavings, WestpacProtect.

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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