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Technology> Internet Updated: 21 Aug 2017

How banks interact with their customers on the social networks

Although the banks are already present on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networks, there is still a lot of work to be done in the so-called transformation of social banking, including the design of a clear strategy if they want to build loyalty and approach the customer through these channels.Aunque los bancos ya están presentes en Facebook, Twitter o YouTube y otras redes sociales, aún queda mucho trabajo por hacer en la llamada transformación social banking como diseñar estrategias claras si quieren fidelizar y acercarse al cliente a través de estos canales.


“They communicate via Twitter but do not interact”. This is the main conclusion of the work entitled Characteristics and determining factors in non-financial information in social networks: the case of Twitter and CSR, by Pablo Gómez Carrasco, Beatriz García Osma and Encarna Guillamón, which has won the fourth UAM/ Accenture award.

In its analysis of the current relationship between the financial institutions and their stakeholders on the social networks in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility, the study highlights that conventional banks communicate but do not interact with their customers.

The analysis was made by studying one million tweets from 40 banks over three months to discover whether they shared the interests of the public and of outsiders. One of the study's conclusions is that “Companies are not reaping the potential benefits of these communications channels which allow an ongoing interaction with the stakeholders and insist on continuing to use traditional one-way communication strategies”.

Pablo Carrasco, one of the researchers, explains in this interview that companies “develop excessively traditional and defensive communication strategies the new media –where communication with customers and stakeholders can be much easier and more direct– which produces a negative result. The tweets show that people reproach them for talking about different issues and not clearly answering what they are asked”.

Another of the study's conclusions is that the size of the company "is the determining factor in explaining the number of messages generated about an organization on Twitter, whereas the fact that a company runs promotional campaigns with substantial impact in the media, is listed on the stock exchange or belongs to a controversial subsector do not significantly influence the number of messages they generate”.

Another of the study's conclusions is that the size of the company "is the determining factor in explaining the number of messages generated about an organization on Twitter"

The study points out that it is necessary to have a different style of communication in order to approach the customers: “Companies' communication strategy does not appear to be in line with what stakeholders are demanding”. And he also warns: The social networks are a difficult resource for companies to control.

Information on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in conventional banking

Facebook is the main network for conventional banking in Spain, With almost 426,455 potential customers, the banks publish an average of 40 contents a month;  BBVA is particularly notable for its activity, and publishes four times more than the average. The report entitled Ranking of the conventional bank in social media in Spain by Alianzo –based on 16 banks– also notes that banks offer their customers articles from their blogs, information from their websites, cultural and sporting news, competitions and contents from their financial products via Facebook. Santander and La Caixa account for half the audience.

In the United States, Bank of America reigns supreme on Mark Zuckerberg's network: it has half the audience of these single users in the conventional banking sector in the United States, with over 4 million potential customers. Twitter is where the American banks publish most of their content, with an average of four a day for an audience of over one and a half million customers.

Returning to Spain, the single audience on Twitter is 167,232 users and BBVA, Santander and Bankinter share 55%. It is used as a customer service network. All the banks send around nine tweets, with the exception of Sabadell –the most active– which sends an average of 28. Sabadell is also the bank that publishes most videos on YouTube –an average of 23– and has 51% of the total Youtube audience for banks, which is 51,471 single users in Spain. The videos that arouse the most interest involve market analyses and corporate information.

Another study, Top 10 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions for 2015, highlights that the trend for banks in the near future will be to take account the customers' ideas and point of view when providing a service, and also that all digital channels will be reinforced with significant investments in order to better understand the customers' lifestyle and satisfy their needs in order to gain their loyalty. In order for this to work, it points out, it is not enough simply to be on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube; each bank must have a clear digital strategy in terms of their customers.