Demonetization has triggered a spurt in digital payments, fast tracking India’s movement towards a cashless economy. This could be the start of a new economy in India—one that is far more inclusive, and educates the Indian masses on the benefits of transactions in a digital world.

What this means for Indian Banks

The usage of alternate payment methods, such as e-wallets, net banking, debit and credit card etc. have increased significantly, owing to cash transactions being impacted by a decrease in liquidity. This is a critical phase for banks as innovative products and strategies will have to be rolled out successfully to drive digitization ahead. And, this is where the importance of Social Media comes in.

In the landscape of the Indian banking sector, social media is paving the way for new product innovations and consumer insights. Today social media sites have become effective channels for real-time banking and have enormous growth potential with the opportunity to attract the tech savvy youth. More than just a means to listen to consumer complaints, social media is being used by financial institutions to acquire, engage, cross-sell and retain customers.

Today’s banks undoubtedly recognize the importance of Social Media to drive their digital strategy, but how many are actually getting their digital strategy right?

Here is a look at what the top 5 Public Sector Banks are doing on various social media channels:

Overall, State Bank of India is the winner on social media because of the most number of fans and the highest engagement level. Being the oldest public sector bank in the digital sector it has amassed a huge following across different channels and knows how to engage with them on a regular basis.

Vijaya Bank- the newest entry into the digital world comes surprisingly at second position, followed by Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank and lastly by Bank of India. Vijaya Bank’s MD and CEO Dr. Kishore Sansi, was recently awarded ‘CEO of the Year’ for Digital Initiatives by the World Marketing Congress.

Bank of Baroda ranks only slightly lower than Vijaya Bank mainly due to the large number of negative comments on its pages. The rationale behind the scores are explained further down in the article.

1. Twitter

SBI tops the list on Twitter mostly because of its 1 million followers on the channel along with its active engagement with them. They tweet frequently and also cross-promote their other channels in order to build a following on each of them.

Vijaya Bank comes a close second which is a major feat for a brand that is just 5 months old digitally. Vijaya Bank trended nationally for 5 hours the day of their social media launch and have pretty much been going steady ever since. Their CRM is on point along with highly creative posts each day. Almost 55% positive sentiments on their channels against an industry average of about 32% is greatly to their advantage.The bank has been diligent about handling customer grievances and has an average TAT of 8 hours for solving issues.

BOI has very few followers on Twitter and does not do much by way of engagement.

2. Facebook

SBI is clearly the market leader because it boasts of the largest fan following of 8 million plus. However, their creatives are a bit uninspired and about 90% of the engagement they get has a negative tone, that’s where they might be losing out on Facebook.

Bank of Baroda comes in second followed by Vijaya Bank as a close third. Bank of Baroda made its foray into Social Media in January of 2016, by launching its Facebook and Twitter page. It is rumored that this step was a direction towards restoring its image after it was hit by an alleged Rs. 6100 crore remittance scam.

Vijaya Bank has been doing a tremendous job gaining followers and engaging with them in a short span of 5 months. It has tried to take on Facebook by appealing to the youth with its inspired posts and great design. While the TAT could be improved upon, the bank ensures that every complaint is satisfactorily resolved. There are quite a few instances of customers expressing their delight on the same.

Last year around September, Punjab National Bank had roped in Virat Kohli as their brand ambassador, however, they failed to leverage this on social media.

3. Google Plus

Google Plus is important for banks from an SEO point of view. The better the engagement on Google Plus, the higher the rankings on Google’s search engine and this is extremely important for PSBs with private banks taking up a lot of mindshare.

However, none of the banks apart from SBI and Vijaya Bank are present on the channel which is a big win for them both.

4. Others

All banks apart from Bank of India have websites that are well-integrated with their social channels. On Youtube, SBI tops the charts because of high number of videos and large fan following.

Bank of Baroda comes in second and Vijaya Bank third. Both banks need to post more videos for engagement and amass more followers. Punjab National Bank joined social media with the objective of creating & listening and engaging with its customers & get insights of customer sentiment, behaviour and interests.

Instagram as a channel has been only recently explored by banks but Vijaya Bank is doing well on the channel by posting consistently. SBI and Bank of Baroda are doing well on LinkedIn by virtue of having the highest number of employees and followers.

While their website is at par, PNB needs to improve its performance on all its social media channels in terms of followers and engagement.

A point to note is that while most banks, in the face of demonetization, have been struggling to meet cash requirements of customers through their ATMs, Vijaya Bank and Bank of India are 2 banks that have done consistently well in this department.

Vijaya Bank conducted special cash exchange/deposit drives in rural areas and has shared videos of the same on its Youtube channel. There are also video endorsements by customers at Vijaya Bank ATMs, wherein customers have pointed out that Vijaya Bank’s ATMs are the only functioning ATMs for miles around.

Bank of India arranged for a special mobile ATM van to cater to its customer’s cash requirements.

In an increasingly dynamic environment, social media and also social listening and monitoring, is helping banks stay relevant and keep up pace with evolving customers.

Moreover, social media provides opportunities that concern not only customer service and marketing, but more fundamentally affect the products and services themselves. Entities are being forced to innovate and roll out new ideas to keep pace with a digitally evolved customer base.

SMS- Social Media Score measures a brand’s performance on social channels. It is calculated on the analysis of ‘Presence & Performance’ of various social media assets; it takes into account- connections/ followers/ public posts, engagement level, influence, creativity, sentiments associated with the conversations, impact on their sphere of influence, technology adoption etc.


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