On a warm summer night, my kids wanted nachos with cheese and beef for dinner. So, being the good dad that I am, I proceeded to pull out the necessary ingredients. What struck me was that on the back of the Tostitos brand tortilla chips, they had a fairly easy to see Facebook URL with the familiar blue F in a box. I chuckled and thought to myself, no offense to Tostitos, but who in the world would want to become associated with Tostitos on their Facebook acount? Turns out - lots of people. In fact, wh
So, that got me thinking - how about banks. My first stop was my former employer - Eastern Bank here in Boston. They have been one of the more successful banks using social media tying in their community programs nicely into their social network and have amassed 1,205 individuals who like Eastern Bank. Not too bad for a regional player - but certainly not Tostitos numbers.
So, I proceeded to look for the large national players. It was not an easy task doing a straight search within Facebook. In fact, often times the larger institutions simply were Wikipedia feeds that looked like placeholders until these institutions develop something official. That said, I was able to find three official pages for some well known institutions.
Citi has a nice looking Facebook presence, and 13,649 individuals have associated themselves with it.
US Bank also has spent considerable time with their brand image on Facebook, and have 7,696 followers.
Other large US banks appear to not have an official presence on Facebook - or at least it is difficult to gauge. For example, the one Bank Of America page, has 9,708 followers, but there is nothing officially there from Bank of America, and mostly it is customers discussing their experiences.
Then I noticed one of my Facebook friends liked American Express? So I went to their page. They have 1,891,189 followers. I was floored. However, the hook for American Express is a contest that they are running where if you like their page you have a chance to win one million membership rewards points. Easy enough to do, and for most users of American Express the rewards points are a big draw. Banks need to start thinking more like a retail franchise, and find more reasons for people to associate with them within social media. Perhaps it can be a discussion about a recent purchase, or the experience of utilizing a new technology. Simply using Facebook as a marketing tool is clearly missing the point. "What is in it for me?" needs to be addressed for the consumer, otherwise they may just use the site to rant and vent.
On a side note, after the kids were asleep something else caught my eye. Patron tequilla's Facebook site tops the banks I looked at with 175,937 followers. Most banks would kill for that number of followers.