|Social Media Leaders – Key Metrics for Success|
|Written by Alan Maginn|
|Thursday, 15 March 2012 14:52|
This article first appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Consulting Insights.
The industry has certainly evolved over the last four years. When we published our first report, Social Media: Trends & Tactics in the Financial Services Industry, roughly a quarter of the firms we tracked at the time were actively participating in the social Web. A few pioneers had developed their own proprietary blogs and communities, and some had created profiles on Facebook and still-nascent Twitter. Most firms, however, were unsure of the benefits of social media and frightened of potential compliance ramifications, and thus remained on the sidelines.
Today, nearly ever firm we track has some social presence. Blogs and online communities continue to grow in popularity while Facebook and Twitter pages are now widespread across the industry. No longer the sign of an innovative, forward-thinking company, participation on these sites has become an expected part of a firm’s broader branding, marketing and communications strategy.
In our past social media reports, we helped our clients understand the complete social landscape and what each of their competitors and other financial services companies were doing to harness the power of these communication tools. But with so many firms now participating in the social Web, we feel it has become much more important to start measuring the effectiveness of individual firms’ strategies to identify the industry’s best practices.
As we developed our grading criteria, we isolated metrics that will allow us to measure things such as activity level, engagement with clients and prospects, and overall commitment to a social media channel. In this article, we share some of the broad findings from our initial research.
Building a Fanbase
The average number of Facebook fans across the financial services industry is a rather impressive 180,000. However, when we remove the top ten accounts, which includes six firms with over a million fans, that number decreases dramatically to roughly 35,000.
“Talking About This”
Weighing Likes, Comments and Shares
In order to better understand how often firms receive feedback from their fans in the form of likes, comments and shares, we collected data from each firm Corporate Insight tracks over the period starting October 1, 2011 and ending December 31.
Some firms benefited from the timing of our research, as it coincided with major marketing and/or advertising initiatives. In the instance of American Express’s Small Business Saturday page, the firm’s activity was so unusual — the firm received seven times more likes per post and 46 times more shares per post than any other firm — that we removed the data from our industry averages.
Overall, financial services firms are doing a good job engaging their fans with the content they publish on their Facebook pages. Once again, the credit card industry leads the pack in terms of comments and likes per post. When it comes to sharing content, insurance firms edge out the rest of the industry with an average of over five shares per post.
Charity-related pages like Chase Community Giving and the American Express Members Project have long been in the top ten in terms of number of fans, but they also do a great job generating likes, comments and shares. Company sponsor or mascot pages, like Progressive’s “Flo,” Discover’s “Peggy” and Geico’s “Gecko,” also appeal to a wide audience. While the messages posted on these pages are often unrelated to the products and services offered by the firms, their humor and entertainment value resonate with fans, helping to promote the brands they represent.
So who has the most effective Facebook page and overall social media strategy? Stay tuned for our upcoming report, due out later this quarter. We’ll provide effectiveness scores for firms’ individual properties and social media channels, as well as a score for their overall social media efforts. We will also provide in-depth reviews of the leaders in each industry segment (e.g., credit card issuers), property type (e.g., blogs) and social network (e.g., Twitter).