10 Financial Brands That Are Totally Killing It on Social Media

Times are definitely changing in our technologically advancing world. It is becoming more and more rare to conduct business transactions with people face to face, and more common to do it over the internet. You can now balance your checkbook, grocery shop, track your spending, all from popular money management apps and bank websites. 

With this surge in electronic usage, many businesses are beginning to see a decline in their traditional ways of providing service to their customers. There are fewer brick and mortar locations and more online avenues to reach whatever service you may be in need of.

One of the biggest industries to feel the impact of these changing times is the financial industry. In 2012 alone there were over 2200 physical bank branches that closed their doors for good in the United States. These businesses now find themselves competing for “likes” and new “followers” on the booming social network scene. According to CEB TowerGroup, 65% of all banks have plans to either replace or adopt social networking management technology.

It has become a virtual popularity contest for businesses on social media platforms, especially when it comes to customer service. Now, more than ever, brands want to be liked and have as many followers as they can get. While some financial brands are still struggling to get the social media concept down, there are others who are thriving in this new electronic world. Here is a list of ten of the top financial brands that are finding great success in the social media realm.

1. Navy Federal Credit Union

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FB page – 1,089,765 Fans
Twitter – 52.2K Followers
YouTube – 320 Subscribers 747,209 views
LinkedIn – 13,132 followers
Instagram – 11,082 followers

This Virginia based credit union originated in 1933, and initially restricted its customer base to only include those employed by the US Navy. It has since expanded its membership considerably, and has held the title of the biggest credit union in the world since 1962.

In August of 2012 the NFCU started a campaign on social media that was beyond successful. It started out as a simple customer appreciation promotion where they asked their members on Facebook to share a video about why they loved the credit union. The initial response was huge, which prompted them to take it a step further and begin advertising two specific services on Facebook: auto loan refinancing and certificates of deposit.

The results from this simple advertisement? They raked in $90 million in CDs and $96 million in auto refinance loans in just under 6 weeks. They also saw over 5000 daily referrals from Facebook, with 59% of their websites traffic coming directly from the social media site.

This financial institution has shown one of the best examples of how best to utilize social media, and now boasts over 4 million members and over $50 billion in assets.

2. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

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Twitter – 76.9K followers
LinkedIn – 219,297 followers

Founded in 2009 after several large mergers, this wealth management organization has roots that go back to 1873. In 2011 they had a total of $1.65 trillion in assets, and specialize in retail brokerage, asset management, and investment banking.

While Morgan Stanley has steered clear of the Facebook craze, they have found great success on other social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. They have primarily used the sites to post helpful information for their customers and forming new customer contacts. One agent reportedly brought in over $10 million of new business just from the connections he made on LinkedIn.

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This financial giant has found their great success from social media by encouraging their advisors to engage in conversations and form new relationships with people on Twitter and LinkedIn.

3. Citibank

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FB page – 999,891 Fans
Twitter – 105K Followers
Google+ – 14,449 followers
YouTube – 5,044 Subscribers
LinkedIn – 541,557 followers
Instagram – 495 followers

This financial institution serves more than 100 million customers in 40 different countries. It was established over 200 years ago and is currently the third largest bank in the United States.

The 2008 economical crisis hurt this financial giant deeply, but they have since bounced back partly due to their involvement in social media. The company reorganized their time management, and because of their social connections, were able to devote more time to each customer and their individual needs. This focus on the individual customer has shown vast improvement in Citibank’s overall success.

Frank Eliason, Citi’s Director of Global Social Media, commented on this new approach by saying:

“Customer experience starts with how you think about things: perhaps your products, perhaps your terms and conditions, the way you go about doing business. The entire experience is a big challenge and it’s going to take companies time to go that level.” – Social Media Today

4. Wells Fargo

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FB page – 640,135 fans
Twitter – 87.1K followers
Google+ – 17,730 followers
YouTube – 8,103 subscribers
LinkedIn – 294,978 followers

Serving over 70 million customers world-wide, Wells Fargo has long ago established it’s ranking as one of the top banks in the financial industry. It was founded in 1852 and after 160 years in business, it became the world’s biggest bank by market capitalization in 2013, with a total worth of about $236 billion.

In 2013 alone, Wells Fargo was mentioned on social media over one million times, prompting them to recently open a social media “war room” of sorts, where employees monitor all social media avenues on 8 large monitors and are able to quickly respond to any customer comments or needs. There are anywhere from 2,000 – 4,000 posts a day that go through this monitoring station, with approximately 12 employees monitoring the information. This instant access to social media information allows the team members to promptly address concerns or negative comments, and promote a more positive reputation for the financial giant.

5. MasterCard

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FB page – 9,363,808 fans
Twitter – 116K followers
Google+ – 3,179 followers
YouTube – 3,802 subscribers
LinkedIn – 88,024 followers
Instagram – 3,493 followers

This credit lender has been listed on the Fortune 500 ranking of America’s largest corporations for years and is used in over 210 countries world-wide. Created in 1966, this financial services corporation boasts over 7.3 billion in annual revenues.

Like many companies, MasterCard traditionally saw the use of social media in the workplace as a big no-no. This fear of using the internet to openly or publicly discuss anything having to do with the organization held it back from reaching even greater levels of success. But this way of thinking all changed 5 years ago when they decided to embrace social media rather than fear it. They developed a social media listening program called Conversation Suite, which is part of their strategy to educate their 8,000 employees on the increasing relevance of social media and how to become brand ambassadors.

Marcy Cohen, VP and Senior Business Leader for Master Card explained, “Over the past six months, 125,000 people created unique content or commentary about MasterCard, stimulating 520,000 social media conversations, with a potential reach of 1.3 billion people. We’re doing this everyday across 43 markets and 26 languages in real time.” (BrandChannel)

Realizing the capabilities of social media is one thing, but to capitalize on it is another. Master Card has shown their dedication to this growing form of communication and is a leading company when it comes to finding success on the social media front.

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6. Chase

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Twitter – 105K Followers
YouTube – 2,507 Subscribers

A leader in the financial services industry, Chase was founded 215 years ago and currently operates in more than 85 countries world-wide. With close to 300,000 employees, Chase currently manages assets worth approximately 2.6 trillion.

In 2009, Chase decided to embark on a journey which utilized social media to give money away to charities through their Chase Community Giving project. They were one of the first financial organizations to do something like this and have since donated millions of dollars, prompting a social following that is amongst the highest in their industry. The overwhelming response received from the launch of this program surprised even the most optimistic believers at Chase.

Jorge Fontanez, VP & Marketing Manager of Chase Community Giving, explained how the decision to utilize social media in their campaign was an integral piece of Chase’s success. “We saw a 15% increase in our Facebook fan base—to over 3.8 million, we were the #2 fastest growing app on Facebook and our peak total reach on the platform topped 15.9 million. We never imagined this level of engagement.” (Forbes)

Forbes magazine highlighted the story of the Chase Community Giving project, and named it their 2012 Success Story. They described it as “the largest brand initiative in social media in terms of size (dollars given) and scale (level of engagement).”

7. Vanguard

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FB page – 1,098,212 Fans
Twitter – 138K Followers
YouTube – 3,180 subscribers
Google+ – 2,752,620 views
LinkedIn – 33,373 followers

The Vanguard Group is an investment management company based in Pennsylvania, which currently manages approximately 2 trillion in assets. Created in 1975, the organization is one of the largest mutual funds companies, and currently employs more than 14,000 people world-wide.

A 2011 survey conducted by Kasina LLC, ranked Vanguard at the top of their list for asset management firms how utilize social media. They earned this top spot based largely on the fact that they use social media sites to actually engage in conversation with their clients.

During a 5 month period between October of 2011 through February of 2012, their use of social media helped Vanguard experience a growth in their Facebook and Twitter followers of nearly 300%. Amy Dobra, head of Vanguard’s Retail Client Experience Group, is responsible for the organization’s early use of social media and describes their current strategy as always evolving. “We have never believed that there is a one-size fits all approach to communications. That’s why we keep evolving and expanding our channels,” she explained. (SmartBlog)

8. First National Bank of Omaha

First Bank Omaha

Facebook – 5,596 likes
Twitter – 2,802

FNBO is recognized as the largest privately held bank in the United States with a total of more than $17 billion in managed assets. Founded in Nebraska in 1857, they now employ more than 5,000 employees and claim that they are focused on community oriented banking.

In 2008, FNBO created a social media marketing campaign known as the “Pay Yourself First Challenge”, encouraging people to start saving more for their personal needs. They spread the word about this campaign on all sorts of social media sites including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and iTunes. The success of this campaign and its long-lasting after effects have been seen in FNBO’s continued social media success today.

Robin Nakamura, Senior Vice President of eBusiness with FNBO, described the company’s overall goals and plans for future social media involvement by stating that the Pay Yourself First Challenge was just the beginning for this internet banking organization. She went on to say:

“We’re a caring team of professionals with the drive and experience to become the preferred banking solution for the Internet community. The Pay Yourself First Challenge is just the start of our social media strategy to enable our customers to learn from each other, share their stories and be rewarded for their efforts.” – PTMoney

9. Bank of America

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Facebook – 1,701,353 fans
Twitter (BofA_Tips) – 53.8K followers
Youtube – 7,632 followers
Google+ – 31,808 followers

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Bank of America is the second largest bank in the United States, and in 2010 was the 5th largest company in terms of overall revenue in the nation. It operates in over 40 different countries world-wide and has approximately 242,000 employees.

Bank of America currently reaches 17 million households through the use of social media. It primarily uses Twitter to reach customers to handle questions and resolve issues. They have implemented a social media tracking system that allows their employees to respond to any negative comments posted about the organization almost instantly and try to resolve the problem.

One such example of this kind of social monitoring happened to a woman who, while serving as the primary real estate agent for someone trying to sell their home, was trying to contact B of A to get some answers. Her traditional approach of calling the 800 number, waiting on hold, explaining the situation, only to end the call with no new information went on for weeks. She diligently called over and over again until one day, she had finally had enough. After hanging up yet again feeling frustrated and angry, she turned to Twitter to rant about how unhappy she was with Bank of America’s service. Within minutes she received a response from @BofA_Help asking what it was that she needed. She explained the situation and within hours she was finally able to resolve her issues.

Examples like this show how social media allows these banking giants to become more “normal” to many customers, and allows people to feel like they can relate and are actually cared about. Focusing on customer satisfaction with regard to social media marketing is a key factor to many of these financial brands finding success.

10. Capital One

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Facebook – 2,934,590 fans
Twitter – 90.4K followers
Google+ – 84,181 followers
Youtube – 3,896 followers
Pinterest – 7,534 followers

Capital One is one of the newer financial institutions in the United States, with its foundation in Virginia occurring in 1994. Despite its more recent beginnings, it has found great success in the financial industry and helped pioneer the mass marketing of credit cards in the late 1990’s.

Capital One is now one of the top financial services brands on Facebook with nearly 3 million likes and almost 60,000 mentions. While social media may be a great way to reach a younger audience, Capital One takes it one step further by partnering with the NCAA, hosting many concerts and other events, and launching their newest products during a Superbowl ad in 2013.

Capital One has found its niche in social media by becoming more available to its customers through these social networks. Patrick McLean, VP of Digital Brand Strategy for Capital One, explains the importance of social media and needing to utilize it to its maximum potential. “Social media will be at the core of our digital work,” he explains. “Capital One is investing heavily in the area, and if we are able to scale it effectively, it will reach customers and consumers in truly valuable ways.” (Response Magazine)

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  • And you thought it is all about Selfies, eh?

  • I would love a field trip to Well’s Fargo’s social media “war room.”

  • Great article, I had no idea banks were so successful on social media sites. Although I do have Vanguard and Wells Fargo on a couple of my SM sites, so maybe I should have known better.

  • PB

    Fascinating stuff! The power of social media continues to amaze me.

  • Audrey Henderson

    Seeing MasterCard on this list doesn’t surprise me. Their “Priceless” ad campaign was genius. It makes sense that they would be good at social media, too.