Visible Banking Twitter Watch #16 – December 2009: 933 Accounts / 46 Countries / 385,918+ Followers / 13,875 Lists – Top 10s Banks / 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 930 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 banking 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 used the data collected on 4th January 2010. I was then tracking 933 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 a couple of months ago:

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

Summary – December 2009
Out of the 933 accounts, the top 50 accounts produced 20% (+2) of the new updates, added a staggering 42% (-7) of all the new followers, and started to follow 43% (-28) 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).

Even though the top followed accounts are still the most active, it looks like the banking industry overall has started to be more proactive on twitter and now understand that following more people leads to increasing your follower base… But it needs to be done wisely!

Moreover, we musn’t forget that 1. some of the top accounts are stalling on their following strategy with ratios following / followers superior to 100%, 2. measuring the numbers on twitter is important but you need to assess the quality of your following & follower bases, 3. the way you listen on twitter and engage with your follower base (tone, content, responses) is critical and not entirely reflected in the stats I produce in my VB Twitter Watch Series.

Key milestones
Congrats to the following financial institutions for reaching an important milestone in December!
* 10,000: INGDIRECT (US)
*  6,000: AmericanExpress (US)
*  2,500: kotakcards (India), KBank_Live (Thailand)
*  2,000: YoungFree_SC (US), AAADiscounts (US), ANZMoneyManager(Australia)
*  1,000: Fidelity (US), NYFed_news (US), CajaNavarra (Spain),Mondial_Assist (US), Entrepreneurs (France), Discover (US), AskAmex(US), U22Updates (US), BarclaysWealth (UK), 1stMarinerBank (US)

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

Top 10s – Most Followed Banks
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: banks(instead of 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 4th January 2010.

Top 10 – Banks
Please find below the top 10 most followed twitter accounts from banks tracked in the Visible Banking Twitter Watch.


In December 09, the Top 10 most followed accounts added on average253 new followers, followed on average 148 more tweeple, and sent 9updates per working day.

Top 10 – Credit Unions

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


In December 09, the Top 10 most followed accounts added on average 172 (+105) new followers, followed on average 172 (+141) moretweeple, and sent (-) updates per working day.

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


In December 09, the Top 10 most followed accounts added on average330 (-5) new followers, followed on average 260 (+3) more tweeple, and sent 7 (+2) updates per working day.

Most Listed

In November 09, I started tracking the number of lists the accounts belong to. Please find below the top 10 most listed accounts on twitter tracked inthe Visible Banking Twitter Watch as of 4th January 2010.


439 (+94) accounts are listed more than 10 times, 170 (+60) accounts more than 20 times, and 43 (+18) accounts are listed more than 50 times. 85 (-2) accounts don’t appear on any list.

More Twitter Statistics

* Most Followed FIs: 427 (+43) accounts have 200+ followers of which 186 (+28) have 500+ followers.
* The 1,000+ Followers Club: 76 (+15) accounts have 1,000+ followers.
* Restricted tweets: 20 accounts.
* Inactive accounts: 90 (-1) accounts haven’t sent any updates in December 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 December 09
In December 09, I added the following 55 accounts to my list: ACE_Group, Allianz_Ireland, AmericanExpress, Ask_Progressive, askamex_uk, AvivaHealthWeb, AvivaUKGI, axappphealth, AXAyachting, predicciones, BIFS, BNI46, BupaBusiness, BupaHealth, CA_ecommerce, ChubbEurope, ChubbInsurance, CIGNAQuestions, empleosciti, CreditAgricole_, Esurance, EsuranceCares, FarmersGroup, FondationCAMPG, GEICO, GEICOCareers, GEICOCaveman, GEICORacing, HCCMIS, MNUInsurance, hcpnational, WesternNational, ShareBuilder, insureandgo, morethanliving, NationwideNNS, PayAsYouDriveOz, PEFCU_Alerts, progautoxp, progloyalty, RabobankWL, RealCalls, RealInsurance, SafeAuto, SEB_AM, ShareBuilder, StandardLife, swiftcover, TeachingMoney, TravelersAuto, TravelersChamp, TravelersIE, TravelersIns, VantageCU, ZurichConnect.

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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