Academy of BFSI,

How are Indian Banks using Social Media for Marketing?

Both private and public sector banks in India have established a social media fan following that matches that of their global peers. State Bank of India was ranked the number one social media brand among banks worldwide by Financial Brand. YES Bank bagged the fourth position as the top global bank on social media while ICICI, Axis, HDFC, and Kotak Mahindra all featured in the top twenty globally. But how exactly are Indian banks benefitting from social media marketing? 

Social media marketing is helping banks engage customers better 

For Indian banks, social media is not just another medium of advertising. It enables them to be a part of the lives of their consumers by initiating conversations beyond business. By actively listening to customer conversations in real time and gathering actionable insights, Indian banks are able to tweak strategies on the go, identify gaps, and build better solutions.

In addition, by using social media to drive customised communication based on different customer groups, banks are better able to target specific customer groups – for example, working women. By mapping customer transaction behaviour with social media profiles and device usage, they are able to deliver more targeted, relevant, and meaningful messages on the channel of customer’s choice.

Indian banks and social media: Real world examples

The strategies of social media pioneers such as State Bank of India, YES Bank, HDFC Bank, and ICICI throw light on how banks are using social media effectively to drive better outcomes.

  • Consistently ensuring high engagement on Twitter: Virtually every month, SBI figures among the top five Indian brands in terms of brand engagement on Twitter, as per the Economic Times Brand Equity Twitter Advertiser Index. SBI’s campaigns, aimed at creating customer interest in digital services, saw high engagement from August 2017 to November 2017. A key aspect of SBI’s strategy is timely posts that educate and inform customers.
  • Using festive occasions to build goodwill: YES Bank used the 2017 Diwali season to run a Digital Diya campaign that encouraged the Indian community to contribute to spreading the light of financial literacy in rural India. The campaign invited users to visit a microsite to light digital diyas. Enthusiastic users responded by lighting one million digital diyas and the bank contributed an equal amount to spreading financial literacy, creating goodwill, and enhancing brand awareness. 
  • Making social media listening a core activity: In August 2017, HDFC Bank launched its in-house state-of-the-art Digital Command Centre (DCC) in Mumbai to listen, understand, and acquire valuable brand insights by monitoring customer conversations on social media. Using dedicated real-time dashboards, the DCC serves as a business intelligence tool for the bank, with its top management, central teams, and marketing department drawing upon its analysis. DCC insights help users realign campaigns and also take corrective action based on what influencers are saying on social media.
  • Using social storytelling to market niche products: ICICI Bank’s #FundYourOwnWorth campaign promotes a savings account with special benefits for women who want to empower themselves. The campaign smartly leveraged social media storytelling by using socially curated real-life stories of successful women to sell a niche financial product, while also building brand affinity among working women.

Why is social media marketing going to be even more critical to the marketing mix in the future?

Two-thirds of India’s population is below 35 years of age. Factors like growing smartphone usage and the availability of affordable broadband data are increasing the number of active social media users. For banks, the social media phenomenon presents remarkable opportunities to drive engagement with customers. A Facebook-Boston Consulting Group Report on the state of social media in the financial services industry in India in 2017 revealed that there were 6 crore digitally influenced retail banking customers in India in 2016. By 2020, the number is expected to double to 12 crores. To meet the needs of customers who are comfortable using social media, it is vital for Indian banks to accelerate investment in social media marketing strategies, solutions, and talent.

How can banks take social media marketing to the next level? 

With decelerating economic growth and increasing margin pressures, banks are not only competing among themselves, but also with disruptors like FinTechs. So how can they succeed with their social media strategies in this environment?

One option is to deploy a more integrated social media strategy by combining banking and social media analytics, text mining and social media marketing to identify profitable customers, and cross-sell as well as upsell products and services.

Social media savvy American banks are using employee brand advocates to drive brand engagement on social channels – something that Indian banks can explore. When banks post a picture of an employee or visually capture something that they are doing, they see a huge lift in social engagement that drives more traffic to their website and other channels.

Is your bank making the most of social media? If not, the time is NOW.

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