10 Interesting Tidbits About Banks on Facebook This Holiday Season

By Mike Onghai, CFA

One of my pastimes is analyzing banks on Facebook. I analyzed banks when I ran a hedge fund in an earlier life. So why not apply that to social?

Hedge fund pros love Wells Fargo’s business model. They don’t engage in proprietary trading and they’re good at consumer cross-selling. How about on Facebook?

Let’s compare December 1-15th against November 1-15th of 2012. Chase’s engagement (using People Talking About as the proxy) number grew nine fold from 12,418 (0.32%) to 137,084 (3.5%). (See the green rectangle in Figure 1).

Figure 2 below shows how Chase did it—they’re simply giving away money to charities.

People talk about what they’re passionate about, not about what you want to talk about. Oh, and the money part doesn’t hurt either—especially since the more you talk about it, the more your favorite charity moves up in the rankings.

What’s the ROI of this? Hard to say, but there’s certainly power in getting people to mention your brand name in a positive light multiple times per day. Free checking and automatic overdraft protection might be pretty cool, but are you telling your friends about it?

Chase promoted the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy. Big hit in engagement—a one-two punch of celebrity content and charity power. The only thing better would be to somehow work in bacon, kittens, and babies.

We’re not saying that blindly increasing engagement is best, nor that a business should take advantage of sensitive situations to promote themselves. We are saying that you need to connect what your fans are passionate about in a way that still aligns with your brand message.

Figure 2: Posts on Chase’s Community Giving Facebook Page

But what about Wells Fargo? They’re posting finance tips and saving advice for small business owners and consumers. See Figure 3 below.

Looking at the stats in terms of engagement, Chase’s achieved a 3.5% engagement rate on a fan base of 3.8 million whereas Wells achieved a less than 2% rate of engagement on a fan base of 470,000.

Generally, engagement is lower on larger bases but in this case, Chase’s achieved a higher engagement on a larger base.

Figure 3: Posts on Wells Fargo’s Facebook Page

Key takeaways:

1. Your charitable causes activate passion, key to sharing. What are your fans passionate about?

2. Mixing celebrities and charitable causes can multiply your power. Do you sponsor a stadium or are active in the community? Amplify these connections. First Bank’s page (https://www.facebook.com/efirstbank) has a few good examples of such amplification of content.

What do you think? Who is your favorite bank? Would you like to have a dashboard analysis drawn up for your bank? Tell us in the comments below.