Canadian banks have always operated as a model for traditional and established business practice. As the financial scene is becoming more competitive however, even financial organizations are looking to social media to attract new customers. By using services such as Twitter, banks can build their image and improve public relations.
In terms of their twitter presence, just how do Canada's leading names in finance measure up?
CIBC (@CIBCnews): C
Activity: CIBC posts about 0-4 posts daily -- and usually not more than 7 tweets each week. The account only tweets stories about CIBC and does not show any interactions with customers.
Community: With 1789 followers and being listed 96 times, CIBC isn't the worst on this list, but still has a long way to go.
Content: The CIBC page features the institution's colour, logo, and a link to their main website, but there is no mention of a social media team.
Bank of Montreal (@BMO): B+
Activity: BMO is an institution whose only recently become more involved with Twitter. Previously, the account posted tweets only once every few days and rarely responded to their customers. Now, the BMO social media team (2 members: ^SR and ^PG) regularly post about 7-12 posts daily that respond to customer comments and concerns and provide links to interesting and topical materials.
Community: BMO only has about 1157 followers and is only listed 40 times, which shows that they're not be as integrated into the social media community as some of the other banks, but with the recent increase in activity, these numbers should increase.
Content: Their twitter page also has a sidebar that provides phone numbers, links to other social media sites and their website -- and it actually displays well in my browser (unlike some of the others below). It is also customized to feature BMO-themed colours.
Scotiabank (@scotiahelp): B+
Activity: Scotiabank's Twitter feed features about 10 posts daily -- and even a few posts on weekends. The posts feature excellent engagement with customers in solving their problems and following up on issues. It's easy to tell that the social media team is doing a good job because there are a lot of retweets from appreciative customers.
Community: The Scotiabank community is the smallest of the other banks with 137 followers and having been listed 2 times, but this is probably due to the page being relatively new. Their earliest tweet is from May 26, 2011. Still, with their recent flurry of activity, this community will probably grow quite rapidly.
Content: The site features Scotiabank colours and a link to the main website. There is also a social media team of four members (^DJ, ^AB, ^RM, and ^FL). The sidebar gives good information in terms of contact info and hours of operation, but is slightly cut off in my browser. What's a bit difficult to navigate is that the content on @Scotiahelp is disconnected from their other @Scotiabank Twitter handle, and doesn't provide a link to their Facebook page (which is very active!)
RBC Royal Bank (@RBC): A-
Activity: RBC activity seems a bit sporadic with the last week only showing about 1 post each day; over previous weeks though, the account shows 4-7 posts daily and is limited to weekdays. There is mixed content with news from the bank as well as good community engagement in responding to customers and initiating activities such as their social media wave. It also only has 424 posts at the time of writing this, which shows that their increase in activity is probably something new.
Community: RBC ranks high with 4589 followers and has been listed 239 times, which is the highest of all these banks. This shows that RBC is well integrated within its community and has a high influence over its network.
Site: The site is features colours that seem to be more in line with Twitter than RBC, but it does feature the logo, a link to the main website, and the Twitter handle of the person who handles RBC social media.
ING Direct Canada (@superstarsaver): A
Activity: ING boasts about 10+ posts a day and features many stories that go beyond the scope of ING postings. There is also good engagement with customers and interesting promotions for people to interact with. It also has the highest number of tweets at 2932, which shows the most commitment to its content.
Community: The ING account has 3575 followers and has been listed 150 times. ING ranks high in being a part of its community.
Content: The site features ING's distinct orange colour and even some graphics and disclaimer information on conducting safe banking tweets -- although much of this message is cut off in my browser window. There is also a link the main website.
TD Canada (@TD_Canada): A+
Activity: Weekdays feature about 10+ posts a day that have a high degree of customer interactions and links to resources that aren't only published by TD. Many of the posts also show that there is a consious effort to engage with customers and to listen to what they have to say. A prime example of this: "Hi there, saw your tweet. Is there anything I can help out with? Pls DM if you'd like to chat (no acct info etc.) Thx! ^KL". This kind of commitment takes effort -- and it shows.
Community: The TD account has the highest number of followers, 4694, and actually a significant number of people that they follow, 3888 (ING is the only other institution that makes any effort to follow its community). TD is also listed 149 times -- not as much as RBC, but still ranks high.
Content: The TD site works well with the institution's traditional colour scheme and, of all the banks, has the only verified account. The site also links to the main website, provides phone numbers, and it features an impressive social media team with 4 members (^EB, ^DS, ^JB, and ^KL). My only complaint is that some of the text in the sidebar is slightly cut-off in my browser window.
Data for this post was collected June 27, 2011 and was inspired by Rizwan Kheraj.
***[UPDATE] Scotiabank's evaluation has been updated to reflect new information on their Twitter activity.***